Experts say a recent case of two women who momentarily lost vision in one eye after reading their smartphones in bed shouldn’t be cause for concern. However, the events highlight the importance of judicious use of digital technologies to prevent eye strain.
Researchers reported in The New England Journal of Medicine that the women lost vision in one eye for up to 20 minutes after reading their phones in the dark while lying in bed with the other eye hidden by a pillow.
Consequences of Reading With Only One Eye
The eye reading the phone was adapted to the light, while the closed eye was adapted to the dark, according to Dr. Gordon Plant of London’s Moorfield’s Eye Hospital. The women couldn’t see through their reading eye as they put their phones down. “It takes a long time to catch up to the other eye, which has adapted to the dark,” Plant explained. He recommended that people look at their phones with both eyes open.
The disorder was dubbed “transient smartphone blindness” by the researchers. They believe it will become more popular as phone manufacturers develop brighter screens to make reading easier.
Dr. Rahul Khurana, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, told Today that this isn’t a significant issue. He clarified that it is not a recognized medical condition and that further research is required.
However, there are some precautions you can take when reading your phone. Staring at your phone for long periods of time will cause your eyes to become dry and tired. You can experience fatigue, blurry vision, or eye strain due to this because by using digital screen devices such as smartphones and computers, people blink far less.
Things to Keep in Mind
● To stop eye strain, follow the “20-20-20” rule: take a 20-minute break every 20 minutes. Shift your gaze to a distant object of at least 20 feet. Spend at least 20 seconds staring at the object.
● Artificial tears may be used to rehydrate the eyes if they are feeling dry.
● Change the lighting in your room such that your computer is not much brighter than the ambient light to make it easier for your eyes to see. Increase the contrast on your phone as well.
If your eyes are often swollen, watery, or blurry, or if they become sore or sensitive to light, schedule an eye exam.