Temporary Smartphone Blindness Does Exist (But It’s Easily Avoidable)

I’m one of the many people who lay in bed at night with my phone to my face, scrolling through websites or chatting to friends. But apparently I’m at risk of temporary blindness from staring at my phone screen in the dark. Sounds scary, but there is an easy way to avoid this.

Couple with phones in bed image from Shutterstock

Staring at a bright screen in the dark can strain your eyes but it also increases your risk of “transient smartphone blindness”. That’s according to the New England Journal of Medicine, which talked about two women aged 22 and 40 who experienced this kind of blindness.

Dr. Gordon Plant of Moorfield Eye Hospital in London examined the women and found that their late-night smartphone habits contributed to this temporary blindness. He explained that the blindness was brought on by the fact they were looking at their smartphone with one eye while the other rested on their side in bed, blocking the light from the screen:

“So you have one eye adapted to the light because it’s looking at the phone and the other eye is adapted to the dark… [I’]t takes many minutes to catch up to the other eye that’s adapted to the dark.”

This transient smartphone blindness is ultimately harmless but unsettling to individuals who experience it. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that when you’re playing with your phone in the dark, keep both eyes on the smartphone screen.

[Via The Guardian]

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