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Why You Shouldn’t Use Smartphone with One Eye Closed or Obscured

We’re all guilty of doing it: lying in bed in the dark, using our smartphones with one eye closed or covered by a pillow. Doctors, however, warn against this habit, for it can lead to temporary vision loss and other eye-related problems like contact lenses and eye infections.

Meet the two British women who had to go through the quirky side of squinting at their smartphones in the dark with one eye closed…


One woman had her right eye severely affected, where she couldn’t make out shapes clearly in sight. While the other, the older of the two, would completely lose vision in one of her eyes for about 15 minutes every once in a while.  

When doctors put their eye health under the microscope, they found differential bleaching of photo pigment as the cause behind the observed transient smartphone blindness.

Squinting at the smartphone

The retina in our eyes is a pretty amazing structure. It can adapt to a lot of different light conditions, arguably better than any camera device. When needed, it can reduce its sensitivity, and when needed, it can increase its sensitivity.

When we use smartphone in the dark, with one of our eyes in advertently closed or covered, the open eye becomes light-adapted while the other eye becomes dark-adapted. This difference in developed sensitivities is what causes temporary vision loss.

The reported cases of such instances have lately been increasing significantly, and medical experts believe that they’re likely to become even more common as phone manufacturers continue to focus on brighter screen designs for easier view-ability and reading.


What you should do

The advice is clear:

Don’t use smartphones in the dark, especially with one eye closed.

Other smartphone-use recommendations include:

· Take a break every 20 minutes

· If your eyes feel dry, use artificial tears to keep them moist

· Adjust the brightness of your phone screen so that it does not light brighter than the ambience light

If you’re feeling persistent pain in your eyes during smartphone use, or during use of any other digital device for that matter, consult an optometrist near you for a complete eye checkup.

At Dr. Gilberg & Associates, we have been serving the North Miami area with state-of-the-art diabetic retinopathy in Miami for the last ten years. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality medical treatment to our patients for a variety of eye-related problems. Learn more about our services here.

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