Background: The use of digital devices has increased tremendously during recent years in Saudi Arabia. Many concerns were raised about the safety of this technology. 
Objective: To develop an instrument for determining the pattern of use of digital devices, and to investigate the link between the use of digital devices and visual symptoms among students of general education schools.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out from the beginning of April 2017 to the end of September 2017 among students of general education schools in the Western region of Saudi Arabia. The study sample included 475 randomly selected participants. A self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. The questionnaire had two parts: the first part was about personal information of the study participants, while the second part was about the pattern of use of digital devices, associated visual complaints after use, and recommendations to decrease visual health hazards. IBM-SPSS version 22 was used to conduct the statistical analysis. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations with visual and muscular complaints; odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were generated. Chi square goodness-of-fit test was used to compare categorical variable frequencies across different groups. A p-value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: A total of 475 students completed the questionnaire. Nearly half the respondents were males aged more than 19 years old (p<0.001). Most respondents attended secondary schools (p<0.001). Most users experienced neck or shoulder pain (n=305, 64.2%, p<0.001), followed by headaches (n=301, 63.4%, p<0.001), and visual disturbances (n = 275, 57.9%, p=0.001). The majority of students used cellular phones or tablets (n=389, 83.8%). Half the respondents spent more than 4 hours daily using digital devices (p<0.001) and had 2 or more devices. Most students agreed that decreasing the duration of usage (n=217, 45.7%) and scheduling hours (n=214, 45.1%) are the best solutions to decrease the health hazards of digital devices. Logistic regression analysis identified female gender (OR: 2.8, 95% CI: 1.6-4.8, p<0.001) and exposure to digital devices for more than 2 hours per day (OR: 2.9, 95% CI: 1.4-6.3, p=0.006) as significant predictors of symptoms. 
Conclusion: A significant proportion of school students were aware that prolonged use of digital devices is associated with visual and muscular complaints. Females and individuals spending more than 2 hours a day using these devices are more prone to visual and muscular complaints. Decreasing the hours of usage is necessary to avoid digital device-related health risks.
Keywords: Cellular Phone; Computer; Eyestrain; Syndrome; User-Computer Interface; Vision


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Current Issue

July-September 2019 (Volume 11, Issue 3)


Previous Issue

In the second issue of the journal Electronic Physician for 2019, we have several papers including four Randomized Controlled Trials, a model development study, a case report, an editorial, a letter to editor (LTE), and several original research including two studies with qualitative approach. Authors of this issue are from nine countries: Iran, The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, India, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Jordan. Read more...


The 6th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) is to be held on June 2-5, 2019 in Hong Kong.

The WCRI is the largest and most significant international conference on research integrity. Since the first conference in Lisbon in 2007, it has given researchers, teachers, funding agencies, government officials, journal editors, senior administrators, and research students opportunities to share experiences and to discuss and promote integrity in research. Read more:


TDR Clinical Research and Development Fellowships

Call for applications

Deadline for submission: 7 March 2019, 16:00 (GMT)

TDR provides fellowships for early- to mid-career researchers and clinical trial staff (e.g. clinicians, pharmacists, medical statisticians, data managers, other health researchers) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to learn how to conduct clinical trials. Read more:

Meta-Analysis Workshops in New York, USA, and London, UK, in April and May 2019

Don't miss this exceptional opportunity to learn how to perform and report a Meta-analysis correctly. Two Meta-analysis workshops are organized in April and May 2019 by Dr. Michael Borenstein in New York, USA (April 08-10, 2019) and London, UK (May 27-29).

About the Instructor

Dr. Michael Borenstein, one of the authors of Introduction to Meta-Analysis, is widely recognized for his ability to make statistical concepts accessible to researchers as well as to statisticians. He has lectured widely on meta-analysis, including at the NIH, CDC, and FDA. Read more: