‘More than 200 patients with ‘computer vision syndrome’ are being treated every month’

The Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) is seeing a rise in the number of cases with eye problems caused by continuous exposure to computer screens.

Hospital authorities said that in addition to Coimbatore, cases come from other districts in the western region. More than 200 patients with ‘computer vision syndrome,’ predominantly in the age group of 21 to 30, are being treated every month at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital. Such cases alone constitute nearly ten per cent of the total patients being treated at the hospital, according to A. Rajendraprasad, Head, Department of Ophthalmology.

As a consequence of staring for long hours at the screen, the person almost forgets to blink. The blinking process causes tears to spread across the cornea and conjunctiva, the two parts of the eye, which have to be kept moist. Failing this, the eye becomes dry and leads to irritation, redness and the sensation of the presence of a foreign body.

All these affect the vision. Further, he said that ultra-violet rays emitted from the computer screen can harm the conjunctival epithelium and corneal epithelium (epithelium is a superficial layer of the cornea and conjunctiva. If it is harmed, it can cause irritation, redness and watering). People must avoid constantly staring at the monitor for long hours, and take a break often.

On the functioning of the department, Dr. Rajendraprasad said it had revived keratoplasty or corneal transplantation, a procedure in which a damaged cornea was replaced with a donated cornea. Nearly 11 corneal transplantations had been done and 18 pairs of eyes have been donated to the department.

A grief counsellor has been appointed to speak to people who had lost a relative on donating the corneas of the deceased.

The department had tied up with local eye hospitals to which the surplus eyes would be sent.

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