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Viewing screens in bad light can ruin eyesight, doctor warns

THE PUBLIC Health Ministry has warned people against watching TV or using smartphones and tablets in dark rooms, saying the practice could ruin their eyesight.

"Such behaviour can cause eye strain. It can lead to glaucoma and permanent visual impairment," said Dr Thapanawong Tang-uraiwan, an ophthalmologist at the Pra Nangklao Hospital.

He was speaking yesterday at an event held to mark World Glaucoma Day.

According to the ministry's permanent secretary Narong Sahametapat, a total of 17,687 Thais were being treated for glaucoma in 2012.

Overall, people aged over 40 years have a 1-per-cent risk of developing this eye disease, he said. The risk is many times higher among diabetic patients.

Thapanawong cautioned people against becoming addicted to technological gadgets.

"Use them only when necessary," he said. He pointed out that eye irritation, eye fatigue and blurred vision were signs of stress and increased eye pressure.

To take good care of one's eyesight, one should watch TV, read books, and check out screens only in areas with adequate lighting.

Thapanawong also recommended getting at least seven hours of sleep a day, and frequent water sipping.

Narong urged people aged over 40 to have an eye check with an ophthalmologist at least once a year to ensure early detection of any abnormal symptoms.

"For those aged 60 and over, they should have an eye examination every six months," he said.

He said diseases such as glaucoma can be treated if symptoms are detected early.


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