Can playing on your smartphone non-stop lead to blindness?
That was what probably just happened to a 21-year-old woman in China who was playing for eight straight hours and suddenly lost sight in the right eye.
The Daily Mail reported that the woman, known by the pseudonym Wu Xiaojing and works in finance, was diagnosed with retinal artery occlusion (RAO) in her right eye, as a result of her video games addiction.
The doctors attending to Wu explained that RAO, which is more common in elderly patients, is a blockage in one of the arteries that carry blood to the retina. RAO can result in permanent loss of vision.
Wu was reportedly playing the popular multi-player smartphone game ‘King of Glory’ or ‘Honour of Kings’, dubbed as the ‘internet heroin’.
Severe Game Addiction
In her interviews with the media, Wu admitted to regularly playing the game for up to eight hours. A severe addiction already, she said she can play the game on her handset without eating, drinking or going to the toilet.
When she’s not going to work, she would start playing around 6am, grab a breakfast, then play until 4 pm, Wu told the Chinese state media firm The Global Times.
“I would eat something, take a nap, wake up and continue playing until 1 or 2am. My parents had warned me that I might go blind.”
On October 1, a public holiday, she said that she spent the whole day playing the game. After dinner, she had lost her sight and was brought to the hospital. The next day she was diagnosed with RAO , which doctors from the Nancheng hospital said was “likely that she had suffered from RAO after playing ‘excessively’ on her phone.”
Not Game Obsession?
Some experts were not convinced that it was Wu’s video games obsession that led to her blindness.
A medical director on an eye clinic in London told the Daily Mail that Wu developing RAO out of her game addiction is slim. Dr. David Allamby said that video-related severe eye strain do not develop into RAO.
Dr. Allamby that there is a potential link that that cause of her partial blindness, which can be a rare cause, is migraine.
Tencent, the maker of the Honour of Kings smartphone games, boasts of some 200 million users. The company had once tried restricting kids under the age of 12 to just one hour of game time per day, in order to prevent addiction.