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Using Phone in the Dark leads to Temporary Vision Loss / Transient Smartphone Blindness?



How many of you do this? Just when you decide to turn off the lights and go to sleep, a Twitter notification or a WhatsApp ping is enough to take out your smartphone and get busy with it again. Countless minutes or maybe hours sometimes pass by, and you end up with the phone still in your hand, with the clock ticking at around 2 AM in the morning. Well, there’s more to it than just giving up on your sleep, you could be the next victim of transient smartphone blindness.

This is not just an issue with few individuals, but there are millions of people around the world who have this habit. According to the reports, two women went temporarily blind from always checking their phones in the dark. Doctors are now alerting others to the unusual phenomenon. Looking at the reports, the women reportedly experienced vision loss for up to 15 minutes at a time. Upon inspection, eye specialists have attributed it to their habit of checking their smartphones with only one eye open in the dark.

Before going to sleep and just after waking up, the women would lie on their side, and open the eye closest to the ceiling to check their smartphones. The eye closest to the mattress remained closed on the pillow. Sounds like something you also do? Well, you are not alone. This is something that many of us do, and we don’t realize how much damage it can do to your eyes.

Several minutes after they did this, they’d experience temporary vision loss in the eye they used to check their smartphones. At first, this would happen two or three times a week, but it soon progressed to being a daily occurrence. According to the Eye specialists, the temporary blindness in the Eye used to view the phone, was being caused by the uneven adjustment between it and the other eye which was closed.

Reason Behind it

If you didn’t know already, The retina is pretty amazing because it can adapt to lots of different light levels, probably better than any camera. It can reduce its sensitivity so that you can see better in any given condition around you. When light hits the retina, it causes the rod-shaped photoreceptor cells inside to change shape. This allows the light signal to be converted into electrical impulses, and these are transmitted to the brain for processing via nerve fibers. So when you open just one eye, a lot of light from smartphone enters the eye, while the other is still adapted to darkness. This results in differential bleaching of photopigment, which basically tricks the phone eye into thinking it’s actually gone blind.

When this is followed for a prolonged period of time, it could actually mess your eye’s ability to calibrate once they’re both open at the same time. Even though it is harmless, but it is better to avoid completely as it might result in panicking and minute headaches.

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How To Prevent Temporary Vision Loss Due To Smartphone Use

Taking about ways to avoid it, there is only one way to do it. Yes, stop doing it, or maybe use both eyes if it is extremely necessary. However, it is advised that using the smartphone in the dark is not good, and people should stop doing it. It affects your sleep cycle as well and can cause such issues with eyesight etc. So until scientists have this one figured out, give your eyes a break and get rid of this habit.


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