Woman blinded because of something most people do every night

RealClear Contributor

            

You may want to think twice the next time you take your smartphone to bed with you. The Guardian reported that two women were temporarily blinded after they kept checking their phones in the dark. The condition, which is being dubbed Transient Smartphone Blindness, causes temporary vision loss for up to 15 minutes. 

Initially, both women went to their doctors complaining of vision loss. They both received examinations and a myriad of tests, but doctors didn't find any clue as to why they were having vision problems. 

Dr. Gordon Plant of Moorfield's Eye Hospital in London knew the cause of their blindness right away. Both women confirmed that they were checking their phones while lying on their side. "...you have one eye adapted to the light because it's looking at the phone and the other eye is adapted to the dark," Moorfield said. 

The New England Journal of Medicine theorized that the condition is caused by "differential bleaching of photopigment." When the phones were put away, the eye exposed to the light seemed to be blinded due to a reduction of visual sensitivity. The condition is harmless and generally returns to normal within a few minutes. 

To help reduce the effect of white lights on your sleeping pattern (and your vision) try adjusting the lighting on your phone to less intense brightness. Additionally, if you need to check your smartphone at night, do it with both eyes open, according to Harvard.

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