A 30-year-old suffered blindness for about one and a half years after spending long hours on her phone in the dark. The doctor in Hyderabad whom she consulted shared that the symptoms included seeing floaters, bright flashes of light, dark zig-zag lines, and at times inability to see or focus on objects.
Explaining the symptoms, neurologist Dr Sudhir Kumar said that there were moments when the woman, identified as Manju, could not see anything for several seconds. "This occurred mostly at night when she got up to use the washroom. She was evaluated by an eye specialist and a detailed evaluation was found to be normal. She was referred to rule out neurological causes," he tweeted.
"I reviewed the history. Symptoms had started after she quit her job as a beautician in order to take care of her specially-abled child. She picked up a new habit of browsing through her smartphone for several hours daily, including more than two hours at night with lights switched off. The diagnosis was obvious now. She was suffering from smartphone vision syndrome (SVS)."
Long-term use of devices such as computers, smartphones, or tablets can cause various eye-related disabling symptoms, referred to as computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital vision syndrome, Dr Kumar added.
Further, he did not ask for the woman to undergo tests or prescribe any medicines even though she was anxious and requested for some. "I counseled her about the possible cause for her vision impairment and suggested her to minimize the use of smartphone," the doctor said.
The woman then promised to stop looking at smartphone screen, unless absolutely necessary.
6. Manju was anxious as she feared something sinister with her brain nerves but was finally determined to take corrective action.
She said- "instead of minimizing, I will stop looking at smartphone screen, unless absolutely necessary. In any case, my phone use is recreational."
— Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (@hyderabaddoctor) February 6, 2023
A month later, when Manju returned for a review, she was absolutely fine, Dr Kumar said. "Her vision impairment of 18 months had gone. Now, she had normal eyesight, and did not see any floaters or flashes of light. Moreover, her momentary loss of vision at nights also stopped. Our suspicion was proved right," he added.
The doctor also shared a few pointers on how to prevent smartphone vision syndrome. "Avoid looking at screens of digital devices for long, as it can cause severe and disabling vision-related problems," he said. "Take 20-second break, every 20 min, to look at something 20 feet away, while using a digital screen (20-20-20 rule)."