A 26-year-old man from Qingdao in China has experienced a detached retina after spending hours chatting with his girlfriend throughout the day until evening over the instant messaging app We Chat.
The man was using the application non-stop and after experiencing flashes had to undergo medical emergency treatment when his left retina had become detached.
Medical Daily reports that retina detachment is more common in older people, but with the increasing use of cellphones among the younger population, has been occurring more frequently with the youth.
The retina is located in the back of the eye and is a multi-layered, light-sensitive sensory tissue that lines the back of the eye. A detached retina occurs when the retina is moved from is correct position and is a serious condition that could cause permanent blindness if not treated, usually with detached retina surgery.
According to eye expert Yu Bin who spoke to Want China Times, a detached retina is an extreme case of extended use of smartphones that often leads to dry eyes or contract conjunctivitis and keratitis.
This is not the first time it has happened, one of the most recent was a Chinese woman who suffered the same condition a few months earlier and admitted to use her smartphone for about two to three hours daily in the dark. Studies have found that smartphones and tablets can cause retinal detachment.
The long hours people continuously stare at their screens "affects its [the retina's] ability to accommodate changes in the lens when viewing objects at varying distances," reports Shanghai Daily of Ophthalmologist Zhao Bingkun.
China, along with other nations with people spending numerous hours in front of a screen are highly encouraged to take frequent breaks and emphasise sensible use of devices to prevent health issues.