The Curious Case of Smartphone Blindness

Last week The New England Journal of Medicine published a study on “transient smartphone blindness”, a phenomenon that is thought to have left two women temporarily blind.

The circumstances for the blindness are unique – they were looking at their phones in the night using just one eye. The doctor at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital, Dr Gordon Plant, believes this imbalance between one eye being closed and in darkness and the other subjected to bright light caused the blindness episodes of up to 15 minutes at a time.

Other scientists are sceptical, as is one of the subjects herself, who reportedly did not believe the findings for some time – and still has not changed her night-time phone-checking ways.

Of course two cases are not enough to build a real study on, and this method of looking at a smartphone screen is probably fairly unique and not for most people to worry about.

It does go to show the strength of mobile phone screens and the light they emit. Especially at night-time and in the dark this can cause havoc with other bodily functions. That bright light is on the blue part of the light wavelength spectrum, cool light the same as the sun.

Sunlight, dictating our waking hours, does more than just tell us when to go to bed and get up in the morning. It triggers physical reactions in our body to release hormones that help us get to sleep and to sleep well. With the blue light of smartphones that sleep hormone is delayed.

All this disrupts the natural circadian rhythm and cause sleep disorders and deprivation. These, in turn, are linked to all sorts of health problems such as diabetes, obesity, stress, depression and cardiovascular disease. A good night’s sleep is essential for our health.

If you would also find it difficult to give up your late night message checking and web surfing you need WaveWall Sleep, a screen protector that blocks the blue light and stops it interfering with your sleep cycle.

Have you ever experienced any weird side effects from your mobile phone?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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