Why Using Your Phone in Bed Can Cause Temporary Blindness Even After Getting Up

You’ve probably done it: roll over in the middle of the night or in a dark room, turn on your phone, read a few emails, flip through a few tweets, or check out Facebook. Later, your vision becomes blurry in one eye or, even worse, you roll over and see with one eye and not with the other. That’s why.

The Science of Us explains that the process is pretty simple, and if you’ve already concluded that it’s because one eye is adapting to light and the other is still adapting to darkness, you’re on the right track. They explain that two UK women went to the doctor with complaints of temporary blindness and how they woke up even after not using the phone for a while and found that their vision had deteriorated. Doctors wrote a report on this topic for the New England Journal of Medicine , but here are the details:

When the women went to the ophthalmology clinic, the specialists made a detailed medical history and found that women used their phones in the dark before going to bed and immediately after waking up, respectively. After asking them to write down their symptoms for several days, they said that vision problems were always in the eye opposite to the side they were lying on.

Doctors suspected that this was because if a person lies on, say, their left side, their left eye is partially blocked by a pillow and adapts to darkness, while the right eye adapts to light and sees most of the time. This is fine, as long as you don’t look up from your phone and when both eyes are open in the dark, the light-adapted right eye will be perceived as blind until it adjusts to the dark. They tested this theory for themselves and they also had vision problems with one eye for several minutes.

They said that although people look at their phones with both eyes most of the time, we get more attached to the damn thing and the brightness only increases, so they expect doctors to see more and more cases like this.

You may have actually experienced this yourself, maybe just after putting the phone down, or using the phone at night and then getting up to get some water or go to the bathroom (I did, of course). However, doctors went on to explain this. Phone screens are only getting brighter and our bed-reading habits are only getting worse, so it makes sense to tell both carers and individuals how this happens. At the very least, it might encourage everyone else to turn off the brightness at night, or use an app like F.lux to customize our screens for the time of day.

Checking Instagram in Bed Can Make You Temporarily Blind | Science about us


Leave a Reply