36TH UPDATE: Today’s highly interesting read (08/08/17): Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

New You Can Use

Previously on This Just In…

The update:

Excessive Smartphone Use Can Cause Acute Acquired Comitant Esotropia

Feb 8 2023

Late-night phone usage is unhealthy. (Shutterstock)

Late-night phone usage is unhealthy. (Shutterstock)

As digital devices like smartphones become ubiquitous, the number of youngsters suffering from a vision disorder called strabismus is on the rise.

The disorder causes eyes to not properly align with each other when looking at an object. Strabismus can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) or turn out (exotropia).

Ophthalmologists are urging limits on excessive cell phone use by children.

Koji Kawamoto, an ophthalmology specialist in Japan, published a book “スマホ失明” (Smartphone and Blindness) in 2022. He wrote that spending a lot of time looking at a smartphone can cause one’s eyes to be fixed in an inward-focus position. In the long run, it can cause “acute acquired comitant esotropia (AACE).” AACE often occurs in myopic patients who look at close objects for a long time.

AACE is a temporary condition that can be relieved by avoiding looking at close objects. However, with long-term use of smartphones, esotropia symptoms become difficult to improve. An increasing number of patients require surgical treatment.

According to a questionnaire-based report by the Japanese Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and the Association for Strabismus and Amblyopia in 2019, 158 out of 371 ophthalmologists consulted AACE patients aged between 5 to 35 in 2018. And 122 ophthalmologists said the disease was related to the excessive use of digital devices like smartphones, especially among youngsters under 12 years old.

AACE and Exessive Use of 3C Products

Dr. Weng Shaowei, an ophthalmologist in Taiwan, said that the incidence of AACE has increased among young people aged 10 to 20 due to the excessive use of “3c” (computers, communication, and consumer) electronic products.

Weng said that esotropia is usually induced by other diseases such as high refractive error, extraocular muscle injury, inflammation, hyperthyroidism, myasthenia gravis, chronic rhinosinusitis, and surgical sequelae. The pressure on the nerve from a brain tumor could also induce the condition.

If an adult suddenly develops AACE, he or she will see two images when looking at one object. The patient cannot visually merge the image; this inability is called “diplopia.”

Weng said that when people look at their phones, the viewing distance is about 20 to 30 centimeters, affecting their visual merging ability in the long run. Moreover, for people with esotropia, the symptoms can quickly develop into AACE.

When systemic disease, inflammation, external injury, and brain problems are excluded as the cause of esotropia, ophthalmologists will use Botulinum toxin (Botox) therapy to relax excessive muscle contractions without surgery. Unfortunately, the treatment might not cure patients with AACE. Some relapse after receiving Botox therapy and eventually need surgery or prism glasses.

Weng suggests that parents prevent long-term use of 3C products by children. When your child complains about diplopia, fatigue, or headache or closes one eye under bright sunlight, you should be very careful as the child might have already developed symptoms of esotropia. Take the child to the doctor as soon as possible. If one suffers from very large angle esotropia, which cannot be quickly cured, it will cause a great deal of inconvenience. For children, long-term esotropia could damage visual function and even lead to amblyopia (also called “lazy eye”).

Zheng Jie, Ph.D. in medical science from the University of Tokyo in Japan, said in an interview with The Epoch Times that teenagers who are still developing their visual functions should pay attention to the following points:

  • Maintain a screen-to-eye distance of 50cm for computers and 30cm or more for smartphones;
  • Limit time playing video games or looking at a smartphone every day;
  • When using a screen, remember to look away at a distant object after each period of 10 to 20 minutes; and
  • Participate in outdoor activities. 

—Ellen Wan has worked for the Japanese edition of The Epoch Times since 2007.

Other news items in this series:

Watching Phones Instead Of Reading Good Books Is Starving Kids’ Souls


‘Wait Until 8th’ pledge asks parents to hold off on giving smartphones to kids

How smartphones hijack our brains

Smartphones really are dangerous for our kids (they put them at risk for suicide and more)

Is the Answer to Phone Addiction a Worse Phone?

Smartphone habits of kids becoming a danger to Milwaukee’s public education

Commentary: Why quitting smartphones is the new quitting smoking

Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier — up to a point, new research shows

Phone-addicted teens aren’t as happy as those who play sports and hang out IRL, new study suggests

Screen addiction is destroying travel. Here’s how to stop it

How to break up with your phone

Exclusive: Nearly half of parents worry their child is addicted to mobile devices

 I wish my mom’s phone wasn’t invented, 2nd grader writes in school project

Parents this common habit is making your kids act like monsters

We Need to Talk About Farting on the Subway

More Screen Time For Teens Linked To ADHD Symptoms

Smartphones raising a mentally fragile generation

Your Smartphone Reduces Your Brainpower, Even If It’s Just Sitting There

Your smartphone is killing your relationship — and evolution is to blame

Smartphone Addicts’ New Tactic to Break Their Habit: Buy a Second Phone

Dr. Ruth says smartphones have ruined dating

You’re not using the phone; the phone is using you

A Third of Teens Check Mobile Devices Overnight

5 Steps for Teaching Your Child to Unplug

Teens are anxious and depressed after three hours a day on social media

The dangers of distracted parenting

What Happened When I Made My Students Turn Off Their Phones

The Lost Art of Concentration: Being Distracted in a Digital World


This Is Our Chance to Pull Teenagers Out of the Smartphone Trap

One thought on “36TH UPDATE: Today’s highly interesting read (08/08/17): Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

  1. Pingback: Political anxiety; kids and factories; tribe holding WI residents hostage; smartphones; FBI vs. Catholics | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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