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Date: Sep 13, 2005

Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)

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Audio: (1:34 - 184.6 KB - 16kbps)
 
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THE ARTICLE

A new study has found that British people spend almost 130,000 hours in front of TV or computer screens during their lifetime. Eye health campaigners have warned this can be very bad for vision and general health. The situation is made worse because most people are unaware that their eyesight is worsening. There are often no warning signs, except for eyestrain or headaches, that the eyes are being damaged. Even worse, says the study, is the fact that ten percent of adults have never had an eye test.

The study found that on average, adults spent 30.5 hours a week glued to their TV sets, while workaholics spent 35 hours focusing on their computer monitors. Sixty-three percent of computer users complained about “terrible headaches” when they leave work, while 53 percent suffered from tired eyes. Thirty percent of those questioned in the study said they regularly put up with dry, irritated and watery eyes. Iain Anderson, chairman of the Eyecare Trust, said: “It’s vital that computer users…follow a healthy eyecare regime.”

WARM-UPS

1. EYESIGHT: In pairs / groups, talk about eyes. Do you like your eyes? Do you wear glasses or contacts? Do you have any problems? Use these words to help your conversation:

  • nearsighted / farsighted
  • shape
  • color
  • eye care
  • perfect vision
  • eyesight
  • eye test
  • eye chart

2. TV & COMPUTER SCREENS: In pairs / groups, talk about how long you spend looking at TV or computer screens. Do you spend more time staring at them now than five or ten years ago? Do you know how to look after your eyes? Work out how many hours a day you spend in front of the TV or computer. Could you reduce this figure?

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

New studies / British people / TV screens / computer monitors / vision / headaches / eye tests / workaholics / dry eyes / watery eyes / healthy eyecare

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. EYESIGHT: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “eyesight”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

5. EYE SPECIALIST: Imagine you are eyecare specialists. Make a list of recommendations for people to care for their eyes. Use the points below to help you.

  1. Television
  2. Computers
  3. Eye tests
  4. Eye wash
  5. Blinking
  6. Regular breaks
  7. Look at mountains
  8. Other

Change partners and ask your new partner if it is possible for them to follow these recommendations.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

The shape of British people’s eyes is changing.

T / F

b.

Britons spend 130,000 hours of their lives looking at TV or computers.

T / F

c.

Most people know when there eyesight is getting worse.

T / F

d.

Ten percent of British adults have never had an eye test.

T / F

e.

British people are glued to the TV sets for 30.5 hours a week.

T / F

f.

Ninety percent of computer users suffer from terrible headaches.

T / F

g.

Thirty percent of people put up with irritated and watery eyes.

T / F

h.

Computer users cannot do anything to protect their eyes.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

found

signaled

b.

warned

essential

c.

vision

check

d.

unaware

bad

e.

test

discovered

f.

glued

system

g.

terrible

ignorant

h.

put up with

fixed

i.

vital

eyesight

j.

regime

endured

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

A new study has

worse because …

b.

campaigners have warned this

terrible headaches

c.

The situation is made

to their TV sets

d.

There are often no

never had an eye test

e.

ten percent of adults have

eyecare regime

f.

30.5 hours a week glued

warning signs

g.

computer users complained about

found that …

h.

suffered

with dry, irritated and watery eyes

i.

regularly put up

can be very bad for vision

j.

follow a healthy

from tired eyes

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

Warning for “square-eyed” Britons

A new study has _______ that British people spend almost 130,000 hours in _______ of TV or computer screens during their _______. Eye health campaigners have warned this can be very bad for vision and _______ health. The situation is made _______ because most people are unaware that their eyesight is worsening. There are often no warning _______, except for eyestrain or headaches, that the eyes are being damaged. Even worse, says the study, is the _______ that ten percent of adults have never had an eye _______.

 

 

worse
fact
front
general
test
found
signs
lifetime

The study found that on _______, adults spent 30.5 hours a week _______ to their TV sets, while workaholics spent 35 hours _______ on their computer monitors. Sixty-three percent of computer users _______ about “terrible headaches” when they leave work, while 53 percent _______ from tired eyes. Thirty percent of those _______ in the study said they regularly put up with dry, irritated and _______ eyes. Iain Anderson, chairman of the Eyecare Trust, said: “It’s _______ that computer users…follow a healthy eyecare regime.”

 

 

focusing
watery
glued
vital
suffered
average
complained
questioned


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘eye’ and ‘strain’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the gap fill. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “EYES” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about eyes, TV and computers.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • study
  • campaigners
  • unaware
  • warning
  • damaged
  • eye test
  • average
  • workaholics
  • terrible
  • put up with
  • chairman
  • vital

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What did you think when you first saw this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. What do you think of the number of hours British people spend in front of TV or computer screens?
  4. Do you spend too long watching TV or looking at a computer?
  5. Would you change your lifestyle to spend less time in front of the TV or computer?
  6. How is your eyesight?
  7. Do you worry about your eyes becoming worse?
  8. How long can you spend in front of a computer before getting tired?
  9. Do you do anything to protect your eyes when using a computer?
  10. Are there any other health risks by spending lots of time in front of a TV or computer screen?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Are you often glued to the TV set?
  4. Are you a workaholic (or “studyaholic”)?
  5. Do you suffer from headaches?
  6. Do you ever have dry, watery or irritated eyes?
  7. How many times have you had your eyes checked ?
  8. What can you do to protect your eyes from eyestrain?
  9. Do you think people in your country spend too much time watching TV or staring at the TV?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

LANGUAGE

EYES EYES EYES: Match the groups of eye expressions and idioms with their meanings. Make questions and talk about the “eye” phrases

blink

You do this when the sun is in your eyes and you can’t see or when you’re trying to read very small writing.

wink

To do this you have to open and close just one eye very quickly.

squint

You do this about fifteen times a second. It helps to wash the surface of your eyeball.

 

 

strain one’s eyes

This means take a nap.

lower one’s eyes

You do this when you pass people in the street and you don’t want to look at them.

rest one’s eyes

This happens when your eyes become tired and painful because you’ve been staring at a computer screen too long.

roll one’s eyes

This is when you quickly move your eyes in an arched shape to show someone you think they (or their ideas) are stupid.

 

 

(to) have a black eye

You need one of these if you lose your original eye in an accident.

(to) have an eagle eye

You may have one of these if someone punches you in the face.

(to) have a wandering eye

You have this if your eyesight is very good and you can see things very far away.

(to) have a glass eye

You have this if you already have a boy/girlfriend/husband/wife but you cannot stop looking at members of the opposite sex.

(to) be red-eyed

This often happens when you are drunk.

(to) be watery-eyed

This often happens when a man or woman you really like talks to you and you cannot talk.

(to) be glassy-eyed

This often happens when you are excited.

(to) be bright-eyed

This often happens if you’re really tired, or after you’ve been crying.

(to) be doey-eyed

This happens just before you begin to cry and you’re trying not to cry.

 

 

(to) see eye to eye with someone

a detective

an eye for an eye

You punch me and I’ll punch you. You steal my car and I’ll steal your car.

(to) turn a blind eye (to something)

To have the same opinion as someone else.

a private eye

To pretend not to see someone doing something bad and let them continue doing it.

 

 

(to) run one’s eyes over something

To watch someone / something to make sure nothing bad happens to it / them.

(to) fix one’s eyes on something / someone

To check something for mistakes.

(to) keep an eye out for something / someone

I’ll let you know if I see the thing / person you’re looking for.

(to) keep an eye on something / someone

To look at something / someone and don’t stop looking.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Warning for “square-eyed” Britons

A new ______ has found that British people spend almost 130,000 hours in front of TV or computer ______ during their lifetime. Eye health campaigners have warned this can be very bad for ______ and general health. The situation is made ______ because most people are unaware that their eyesight is worsening. There are often no warning ______, except for eyestrain or headaches, that the eyes are being ______. Even worse, says the study, is the ______ that ten percent of adults have never had an eye test.

The study found that on ________, adults spent 30.5 hours a week ______ to their TV sets, while workaholics spent 35 hours focusing on their computer ______. Sixty-three percent of computer users complained about “______ headaches” when they leave work, while 53 percent ______ from tired eyes. Thirty percent of those questioned in the study said they regularly ____ ___ ____ dry, irritated and watery eyes. Iain Anderson, chairman of the Eyecare Trust, said: “It’s _____ that computer users…follow a healthy eyecare regime.”

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on eyesight. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. EYECARE: Make a poster explaining to people how to look after their eyes. Include a section on television and computers. Show your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all include similar things?

4. VIEWING RECORD: Keep a record of how much television you watch and how much time you spend in front of the computer. Show your findings to your classmates in your next lesson. Who needs to cut down on time in front of a screen? Talk about whether or not this is possible.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. F

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

found

discovered

b.

warned

signaled

c.

vision

eyesight

d.

unaware

ignorant

e.

test

check

f.

glued

fixed

g.

terrible

bad

h.

put up with

endured

i.

vital

essential

j.

regime

system

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

A new study has

found that …

b.

campaigners have warned this

can be very bad for vision

c.

The situation is made

worse because …

d.

There are often no

warning signs

e.

ten percent of adults have

never had an eye test

f.

30.5 hours a week glued

to their TV sets

g.

computer users complained about

terrible headaches

h.

suffered

from tired eyes

i.

regularly put up

with dry, irritated and watery eyes

j.

follow a healthy

eyecare regime

GAP FILL:

Warning for “square-eyed” Britons

A new study has found that British people spend almost 130,000 hours in front of TV or computer screens during their lifetime. Eye health campaigners have warned this can be very bad for vision and general health. The situation is made worse because most people are unaware that their eyesight is worsening. There are often no warning signs, except for eyestrain or headaches, that the eyes are being damaged. Even worse, says the study, is the fact that ten percent of adults have never had an eye test.

The study found that on average, adults spent 30.5 hours a week glued to their TV sets, while workaholics spent 35 hours focusing on their computer monitors. Sixty-three percent of computer users complained about “terrible headaches” when they leave work, while 53 percent suffered from tired eyes. Thirty percent of those questioned in the study said they regularly put up with dry, irritated and watery eyes. Iain Anderson, chairman of the Eyecare Trust, said: “It’s vital that computer users…follow a healthy eyecare regime.”

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