Smartphone users experience temporary blindness after looking at phones in bed
Monday, 27 June 2016
Two women have reported experiencing temporary sight loss after using their smartphones in the dark while in bed.
In an article published in the New England Medical Journal last week, doctors presented the cases of the two women, ages 22 and 40, who experienced “transient smartphone blindness” for months.
In both instances, the women complained of reoccurring sight loss lasting roughly 15 minutes at a time.
A study was carried out in the neuro-ophthalmology clinic at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London to find the reason behind the episodes which can often be mistaken for a mini-stroke, but doctors were unable to explain what the cause of the problem was.
Mr Gordan Plant, consultant neurologist at Moorfields, reviewed both patients and asked them to record their symptoms.
The women explained they would continuously check their smartphones while lying on their sides – with one eye covered by the pillow and one eye focussing on the bright screen.
When they put their phone down, they couldn’t see with the exposed eye. That’s because “it’s taking many minutes to catch up to the other eye that’s adapted to the dark,” Plant said.
Although the article in the New England Medical Journal does warn people of the dangers of looking at a smartphone with one eye in the dark, the study concludes that temporary blindness is ultimately harmless, and easily avoidable, if people stick to looking at their smartphone with both eyes.