October 14, 2015 12:33
Up to 10 million people Koreans could be suffering from a set of conditions christened visual display terminal syndrome from excessive use of smartphones.
According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, the number of patients who complained of myofascial pain syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, back and neck disc, turtle neck syndrome, and dry eyes was over 9.67 million in 2014.
Sim Woo-seok at Samsung Medical Center said, "Excessive use of smartphones is known to cause various muscle and nerve problems, ear, nose, and throat problems, and infertility."
The penetration rate of smartphones in Korea is the fourth-highest in the world at 83 percent, and the average time Koreans spend on their phone is three hours and 39 minutes per day.
Muscles and nerves are easily affected.
Use of smartphones for an extended period of time can cause dry eyes, and the number of patients for this particular problem rose by 15.7 percent over the last four years.
Lee Sang-won, an ophthalmologist in Seoul, said, "Eyes stay moist when we blink once every 10 seconds to circulate tears. When people use a smartphone they often stare closely at the screen and don't blink for as long as five minutes, which causes tears to evaporate and leave eyes dry."
The electromagnetic waves emitted by smartphones can also be harmful as they can cause rhinitis and infertility.
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