Blinded by the light?
January 22, 2011 8:28 AM   Subscribe

My left eye seems to see brighter in darkness than my right. What gives?

I've noticed this at night, when it's dark and I pick up my cellphone (Blackberry) to look at the screen. Because my vision is blurry from sleep, I squint and often close one eye to help focus. While doing this, I noticed that the screen of the Blackberry is substantially brighter (not clearer, just the light is brighter) through one eye's vision than the other. To the extent that I prefer to squint at it through my right eye, because the left is so much brighter it is harder to read.

I don't notice this at all during daylight hours. I haven't had my eyes checked in a couple of years (no insurance) but I can still read, etc, without trouble. Is this something I should be concerned about? As in, concerned enough to scrape up the cash for a visit to the Optometrist?
posted by The otter lady to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Each eye has blind spots and independent levels of night vision. And night vision is kind of crazy anyway, I don't think it sounds all that weird.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 8:50 AM on January 22, 2011

I've noticed this when I have my eyes checked and get to look through first one, then other, then both. My optician says everyone's two eyes are slightly different in how they perceive both light and color. I've noticed it more as I get older. You're describing a bigger difference than I experience - no idea what's the range of normal on this though.
posted by leslies at 8:52 AM on January 22, 2011

Maybe this is related to the color of the screen? Many people report having a warm/cool tint to their vision depending on which eye they use.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:34 AM on January 22, 2011

I notice the same thing about my eyes... one sees much better in the dark than the other. I'm diabetic so I have yearly eye checkups and have so far I've always been told my eyes are healthy. I've not ever specifically mentioned the night vision thing, but he always checks my eyes carefully and has never seen anything amiss.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:37 AM on January 22, 2011

I use glasses do to myopia but one eye is substantially worse than the other and that things seem dimmer in darkness with that eye. I would strongly suggest a visit to an ophthamologist to rule out any more serious cause.
posted by abx1-se at 11:23 AM on January 22, 2011

I think just about everyone has differences between the eyes for a lot of things - visual acuity, night vision, cataract formation, etc. The brain combines the input from each so we don't notice unless we do this kind of casual testing. As suggested, though, asking a doctor (MD or DO, not OD) would be a good idea.
posted by yclipse at 11:31 AM on January 22, 2011

I've noticed this before, and it was due to a bright lamp that was to the right of me all day. It was obviously over exposing my right eye all day, so in the dark my left eye was a lot more acute.
posted by derbs at 1:09 PM on January 22, 2011

I've noticed that a lot of people (including myself, actually) squint more with one eye than the other in bright light. If you are overpowered by bright light, do you slightly open one eye before the other to see as much as you can? If so, you the one you keep closed probably will see better in the dark. That's my experience.

I read an internet rumour (so it must be true!) that pirates wore an eye patch to cover one eye during the day to have stronger night vision, not because they were missing an eye. Sounds feasible to me.
posted by qwip at 3:00 PM on January 22, 2011

Me too. One also tints to green and the other red.
posted by Area Control at 4:45 PM on January 22, 2011

Pretty sure it's normal. I have rather spectacular night vision, but one eye is definitely the leader in that.
posted by Because at 5:46 PM on January 23, 2011

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