SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — With an increased number of smartphone users, medical expenses for four major smartphone-related ailments – text neck syndrome, dry eye, insomnia and carpal tunnel syndrome – have surged.
According to data submitted by Rep. Kim Kwang-soo of the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, spending on medical treatment for four major smartphone-related health conditions totaled 433.4 billion won (US$356 million) last year, up 46.8 percent from 295.3 billion won in 2014.
The number of patients with text neck syndrome, considered one of the most prominent smartphone health conditions, rose 12.1 percent over the five-year period from 1.9 million in 2014 to 2.1 million last year.
The care benefits expense increased by 44.5 percent to 212.6 billion won from 147.1 billion won during the same period.
Meanwhile, the number of patients with dry eye increased by 14.7 percent over the five-year period from 2.2 million in 2014 to 2.6 million last year, with the total care benefits expense rising 55.5 percent from 75.5 billion won to 117.4 billion won.
The number of insomnia patients rose 29.4 percent over the five-year period from 461,790 in 2014 to 597,529 last year, the highest increase among the four smartphone-related ailments.
Total care benefits expense reached 56.8 billion won last year, up 65.2 percent from 34.3 billion won in 2014.
Furthermore, the number of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome rose 6.7 percent over the five-year period from 167,998 in 2014 to 179,177 last year, with the total care benefits expense reaching 46.5 billion won last year, up 21.6 percent from 38.3 billion won in 2014.
“As the penetration rate of smartphones in our country stands at 94 percent, which means that nine out of 10 South Koreans use smartphones, government-level measures to prevent and manage health conditions arising from the use of smartphones are in dire need,” reported Kim.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)