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Smartphone Blindness? How Checking Your Phone At Night Can Affect Your Vision

In what sounds like a case of fear-mongering on the part of anti-technology zealots, and interesting phenomenon has been observed.

In Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, doctors detailed the cases of the two women, ages 22 and 40, who experienced “transient smartphone blindness” for months. The doctors are now alerting the public to this strange possibility.

Two women repeatedly claimed experience blindness for as long as 15 minutes at a time, but despite their best efforts and numerous tests, they struggled to find the source of the problem. It was Gordon Plant, an eye specialist, was finally able to solve the mystery.

“I simply asked them, ‘What exactly were you doing when this happened?’ ” he said. He then discovered that while laying in bed, these women were only looking out of their phone through one eye, with the other obscured by a pillow.

“So you have one eye adapted to the light because it’s looking at the phone and the other eye is adapted to the dark,” said Plant. While frightening, this sort of temporary blindness is relatively harmless, and is simply a result of one eye trying to catch up to the other.

The solution, he said? Make sure you're looking out of both eyes when checking Twitter before bedtime.

Other experts remain skeptical. Rahul Khurana, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, called it a "fascinating hypothesis," but said that the experience of two individuals was not enough to validate Plant's conclusion.