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Phone blindness

Keep an eye out for this one

Alongside selfie elbow, your smartphone has another weapon in its arsenal to attack you with - "Phone Blindness".

This can happen when users look at the screens of their smartphones with one eye for too long in the dark. You might think this is a little far fetched and wonder why anyone would do this, but it turns out many do when lying in bed. With their face on the pillow, these users hold the phone against it also, so they can only see it with one eye.

It can get quite serious too. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, two patients reported a complaint whereby they lost vision for up to 15 minutes at a time over a period of months. After some investigation, it turned out they both were doing the same thing when it happened - looking at their phone in the dark in bed with one eye. 

Each eye adapts differently

The medical explanation for this is that each eye is trying to adapt to the different conditions it is being subjected to. After a while of prolonged light in one eye and none in the other, the eye with light takes some time to math the dark one. Dr. Gordon Plant of Moorfield's Eye Hospital, London, explains:

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. This caused the phone-viewing eye to be blinded on occasion, because it was taking many minutes to catch up to the other eye that's adapted to the dark.

Transient smartphone blindness

This would happen if you shined any light into just one eye for long enough, in the dark. It is only with the proliferation of smartphones that this started to happen.

Phone blindness


Thankfully, once the sufferer is aware of what was causing it a full recovery usually occurs. Here's more in a video:

The simple fix

Don't do it. Easily said now we all know, but until then...