Smartphones make our lives easier, but they also have an adverse effect on our eyes. Studies show that overuse of smartphones can cause conditions like digital eye strain, text neck and cell phone elbow. They sound dangerous, don’t they? Now, doctors are claiming that smartphones can cause something called “transient blindness.”
Although doctors say it is not a cause for concern, transient blindness is a temporary condition caused by looking at something very bright in the dark with just one eye. Here is how it usually works: When you are lying in bed on your side and are checking your smartphone, one eye is covered by the pillow and one eye is looking at the phone. Sound familiar? The hypothesis is that the eye blocked by your pillow is becoming dark-adapted and the eye looking at your phone is becoming light-adapted. When both eyes are uncovered, the light-adapted eye becomes “blind.”
We all recognize this phenomenon. It is very similar to what we feel when we come inside after being out in the bright sunlight. We know that this blindness lasts only for a few moments, and then our eyes adjust. Basically, what we’ve done is to “bleach” the light-sensitive pigments in our eyes. Doctors say that transient blindness is not harmful, but this is just one of many examples of how smartphones are affecting our lives in negative ways.
Even the fact that we all are familiar with the concept of looking at our phones right before bed shows that smartphones are addictive. Most people would probably agree that the first and last thing that they do each day is look at their phone. We take our phones into the bathroom with us. We walk and text, drive and text, and thus we take our lives into our own hands on a daily basis. According to a recent poll, 50 percent of children and 27 percent of parents feel addicted to their phones.
Smartphones have also proven to be harmful to our sleep-wake cycle because they emit blue light. These high-energy light waves suppress melatonin in our brains, which prevents us from drifting off to sleep. Blue light also causes digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome, which can cause dry eye, blurred vision, double vision, and headaches.
Smartphones are a useful tool, but let’s be smart about how we use them. Maybe it’s time that we cut down on our cell phone use and set healthy parameters for our children and for ourselves. Take some time to evaluate situations when you are not giving your eye health and your physical safety the attention that they deserve. Sometimes, a little dose of self-control can make a world of difference (Source: Forbes).