Using Your Phone In Bed May Cause Blindness

Smartphone Use In BedOne of my favorite hobbies is reading and I do it all the time.  One of the greatest apps to ever come in to existence is the Amazon Kindle app.  The thing I love most about the Kindle app is that I can take it just about anywhere with me. There’s nothing like curling up with a good book late at night with the lights down low.  I used to do it all the time.  Then I got married.

My wife doesn’t necessarily agree with my late night reading because the light keeps her up instead of letting her go to sleep.  Then along comes the Kindle app to save the day!  I can turn it to a black background with white text, turn the brightness all the way down and then turn off the lights.  It’s not as cozy as I would like but I still get to read in bed before going to sleep and my wife gets the sleep she needs.  It’s a good compromise!

I was lying in bed the other night, lights off, screen brightness down and super cozy.  Rather than reading a book I was reading the news and came across an article that immediately caused me some panic.  The article was from The Guardian, “Smartphone users temporarily blinded after looking at screen in bed.”  Rather than doing the smart thing and turning my tablet off right then, I read the article in bed…

The long story short is that there are multiple instances of people being blinded after using their smartphones in bed.  Fortunately the blindness, now known as “Transient Smartphone Blindness,” is temporary and goes away within fifteen minutes or so.  There were two cases mentioned in the article where two women regularly experienced the blindness.  The two women both liked to use their smartphones in bed and had one thing in common; they would do it with only one eye open.  They would lie on their sides and would have one eye covered by their pillow and would use the one eye to watch the screen of their device.

When they put the phone away the eye they were using for looking at the phone had adjusted to working by itself in the light.  The other eye was adjusted to working in the dark.  When they put the phone away and tried using both eyes together they weren’t on the same level and had to work to get to some semblance of balance.  As they were trying to balance each other out the “Transient Smartphone Blindness” set in and the women were left temporarily blind.

Smartphone Use In Bed 2The good news is that most people won’t be affected by “Transient Smartphone Blindness.”  You have to use your device in a very uncomfortable and unnatural way for an extended period.  Out of curiosity I tried to replicate the scenario and I wasn’t able to do it.  I’m sure it exists and is a real thing but I just couldn’t sit there with the one eye long enough to make it happen.  It was uncomfortable and awkward.

So for those of you who, like me, enjoy reading in bed, you can keep using your smartphone or tablet.  Just remember to keep both eyes open.