A medical journal reported a case of two women who were blinded temporarily from checking their phones constantly in the dark.
Doctors are now alerting the public on the still unusual phenomenon.
The basic warning is that looking at your smartphone while lying in bed at night could wreak havoc on your vision.
The New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday documented the case of the two women, ages 22 and 40, who experienced “transient smartphone blindness” for months. They had complained of recurring episodes of temporary vision loss for up to 15 minutes.
That led to them subjecting themselves to a variety of medical exams, MRI scans and heart tests. the doctors had been at a loss as to what was causing the problem. A subsequent visit to an eye specialist’s office however solved the mystery.
Dr. Gordon Plant of Moorfield’s Eye Hospital in London had simply questioned them on what they had been doing when it happened. It turned out that both women typically looked at their smartphones with only one eye while resting on their side in bed in the dark — their other eye was covered by the pillow.
He explained the resultant effect as such;
“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,”
Upon putting down their phone, they could no longer see with the phone eye. The eye specialist explained that “it’s taking many minutes to catch up to the other eye that’s adapted to the dark”. He said the temporary blindness was ultimately harmless, and easily avoidable, if people stuck to looking at their smartphones with both eyes.
Another Dr. Rahul Khurana, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology simply described the hypothesis as fascinating but said two cases weren’t enough to prove that one-eyed smartphone use in the dark caused the problem.
He also had his doubts as to the number of smartphone users that would experience the phenomenon.
That being said, it is probably sound advice to check your phone with both eyes in the dark and be on the opposite side of any possibility of being blinded temporarily.