The facts and figures are starting to speak up. Filipinos DO spend more time on the internet than most people in the world. The “Digital in 2017 Global Overview” report by We Are Social and Hootsuite, numbers say that the average Filipino Internet user spends 9 hours online each day, with mobile Internet access accounting for more than three and a half of those hours.
And while this is considered as a welcome development among Filipinos, spending too much time online also has its drawbacks.
The prevalence of Dry Eye Syndrome ((DES, also known as dry eye disease or simply dry eyes) is increasing worldwide and is now an important public health problem, mainly due to the increased exposure of our eyes to digital screens. This is the conversation that Novartis Healthcare Philippines successfully communicated last November 8, in a media briefing that aims to promote awareness on DES and Systane Ultra Lubricating Eyedrops, an eye care product clinically proven to deliver extended protection and high-performance DES relief that lasts.
“It is a welcome development that more Filipinos now have Internet access. Digital connectivity brings many socio-economic benefits such as improved communication, knowledge dissemination, and economic opportunities, among others. However, spending too much time online also has its drawbacks,” said Ms. Cheryl Maley, President & Managing Director of Novartis Healthcare Philippines.
One reason for the rapid rise in the number of cases of dry eye disease over the last few years is thought to be prolonged visual display terminal (VDT) exposure because of increased computer use. VDT exposure is also becoming common in the general population because of the widespread use of Internet-based mobile technology and portable information terminals, especially smartphones, among all age groups.
“When we work at a computer or use our smartphone or other portable digital device, we tend to blink our eyes less frequently. This leads to greater tear evaporation and increased risk of DES,” said Dr. Richard L. Nepomuceno, Cornea and External Eye Disease Specialist.
Ms. Maley and Dr. Nepomuceno spoke during a media briefing held by Novartis Healthcare Philippines to promote awareness on DES and highlight Systane Ultra Lubricating Eyedrops. Developed by the Novartis eye care division Alcon, Systane Ultra Lubricating Eyedrops are clinically proven to deliver extended protection and high-performance dry eye symptom relief that lasts.
Also present during the media briefing held on November 8, 2017 at the Ludo BoardGame Bar and Bistro in Makati City, were filmmaker and model Janina Manipol and homeschool teacher and mommy blogger Joy Mendoza. The two Systane Ultra brand ambassadors shared their personal experiences on eye care given their busy lifestyles.
DES is a common condition that occurs when your tears are unable to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. Tears can be inadequate for many reasons. For example, dry eyes may occur if you don’t produce enough tears or if you produce poor-quality tears. DES signs and symptoms, which usually affect both eyes, may include a stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes; stringy mucus in or around your eyes; sensitivity to light; eye redness; a sensation of having something in your eyes; difficulty wearing contact lenses; difficulty with nighttime driving; watery eyes; and blurred vision or eye fatigue.
To help prevent DES among office workers, call center agents and other individuals who spend long hours online, experts recommend the “20-20-20 rule”: Look away from the computer/ smartphone/portable digital device screen every 20 minutes, focus on an object 20 feet away, and look at it for at least 20 seconds. Dr. Nepomuceno also recommends the use of artificial tears, such as Systane Ultra Lubricating Eyedrops, to lubricate dry eyes and help maintain moisture on the outer surface of your eyes.
Systane Ultra is available in all leading drugstores nationwide. For more information about Systane Ultra, visit the Novartis Healthcare Philippines official website, novartis.com.ph or like us on Facebook via Facebook.com/SystanePH or follow @systaneph on Instagram.