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Experts in the field of Medicine
Anterior Segment Diseases; Computer-related disorders, glaucoma, cataract
MBBS, DO, MS (Ophthalmology)
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eye specialist
Beware! computer screen may harm vision and brain
By Hani MBathish

15 December
2004 (Khaleej Times)

DUBAI - Staring into a computer screen eight hours a day for at least 10
years could lead to glaucoma and blindness in the long run, according to
a new study.
Dr Shabbir Saifuddin, an eye specialist, formerly with Mafraq Hospital
and Khorfakkan Hospital now working in the private sector, warned that
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) computer screens not only harm vision but
adversely affect the brain as well.
"A new study shows that too many hours in front of the computer is
putting us at increased risk for glaucoma, a disease caused by increased
intraocular pressure. Glaucoma is currently the second leading cause of
blindness in the world.
"In this age, we have no choice but to live with computers, but there
are simple measures that can be taken to protect the eyes. Among these
measures is to place the monitor at a low angle so you are not looking
up at the screen but down, thus you do not strain your neck; apply some
warmth to the eyes by rubbing your palms together then place the ball of
the palm over your eyes. Heat aids blood circulation in the eye," Dr
Saifuddin said.
Having noticed the dearth of information on eye protection, Dr Saifuddin
has recently published a small booklet titled the "Computer and its
effects on children's eyes" which has been approved by the Dubai
Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms) and which he has
distributed to schools.
In the booklet, he points out that incidence of myopia (nearsightedness)
among children is increasing at an epidemic rate due to the increased
use of computer games.
"This kind of nearsightedness is a symptom of Computer Vision Syndrome
(CVS). Excessive use of the computer can cause eye strain, itching,
tearing, blurring of vision, neck pain, headache and fatigue," Dr
Saifuddin said.
He explained that the flickering, unstable image of a CRT monitor, often
preferred due to low cost, causes eye fatigue and emit's low grade
radiation. "The brain can normally handle up to 2,000 flickers per
second, the image on a CRT monitor flicker's at between 8,000 and 10,000
flickers per second, which exhausts the brain, in this way LCD screens
are better for the eyes," he said.
"People often feel exhausted and tired at the end of a working day and
attribute this to the stress of driving home, but the often overlooked
cause is the computer screen and the bad lighting conditions in the work
environment. The light in an office should be subdued, the screen should
be brighter than the ambient lighting. Light reflected off a screen is
harmful to the eyes," Dr Saifuddin said.
He stressed the need for parents to teach their child to look away from
the computer screen every 30 minutes for at least 30 seconds, in order
to relax the eye muscles. He said that it is preferable for children to
take a break every hour in a brightly lit area. Increased use of
computers has been associated with decreased frequency of blinking and
increased evaporation of tears.
View all articles of expert SHABBIR SAIFUDDIN

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