Woman Loses Eyesight After Playing a Cell Phone Video Game for an Entire Day

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Of all the terrible reasons to lose one’s eyesight, playing a video game is pretty high on the list. (It’s not the very worst, though. Letting one’s boyfriend tattoo one’s eyeball is the worst reason to lose one’s eyesight.) But some doctors say that’s what happened recently when a young woman lost her sight in one eye after playing a video game for an entire day.

According to Mashable, the 21-year-old woman works in finance and is deeply addicted to a super-popular Chinese video game called Honour of Kings.

Honour of Kings is a massive multiplayer smartphone game with 200 million players. It’s wildly popular, and people have criticized it for being “a drug.” A few months ago the company responded to criticism by implementing a time limit for minors. Children under the age of 12 are only allowed to play for an hour a day before being locked out, and they can’t log in after 9 p.m. Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 can play for two hours a day before being locked out. (If those teenagers did not all immediately get around that by lying about their ages, I will eat my own head.)

Honour of Kings is an extraordinarily popular game.

This young woman is 21 however, which means she can play as much as she wants. She reportedly plays for eight hours at a stretch without eating, drinking, or using the bathroom. The game is basically all she does besides work.

On days when she doesn’t work, she says she usually gets up at 6 a.m., has breakfast, and then plays till 4 p.m. Then she eats, takes a nap, and plays till 1 or 2 a.m.

The young woman suddenly lost the sight in her right eye on October 1, which was a public holiday in China, so she did not have to work that day. She’d played the whole day through, and then in the evening suddenly she reportedly couldn’t see out of her right eye.

Doctors say the problem is Retinal Artery Occlusion, or RAO. That usually affects old people, and it can cause permanent blindness.

That’s terrible, of course, but now people are asking what role the game could have played in her condition. The idea of screens hurting a person’s eyesight is not new. The young woman even told reporters that her parents had told her to stop playing the game so much or she’d go blind. An eye specialist at the hospital where she was treated reportedly told local newspapers the RAO was likely caused by the excessive use of the game, with its small, dark screen and tiny flashing lights.

A different doctor, however, says the game is probably not to blame.

“You don’t get RAO from video-related severe eye strain as is suggested here — it’s most commonly evidence of some form of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. David Allamby told The Daily Mail. “The only potential link — and it’s slim — is that sometimes migraines can be a rare cause of RAO.”

RAO happens when something like plaque or a blood clot blocks a person’s retina. It’s not likely to happen because of looking at a screen for a long time. A lot of adults today look at screens for more than eight hours straight. I know I sure do. Still, it’s probably a good idea to put the phone down and walk around a little bit. Sitting still for eight hours without eating, drinking, or moving is not great for a person’s body.

Do you think this could possibly have been related to the video game? Let us know in the comments.

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