Soaking up the sun outdoors, flipping on LED bulbs indoors, turning on your computer — all of these activities expose us to harmful blue light which can cause short and long-term damage to the eyes.
This is especially worrying since we spend most of our day looking at a screen while sitting under our LED lights.
True, the amount of HEV (high-energy visible) light these devices emit is only a fraction of that emitted by the sun. But the amount of time people spend using these devices and the proximity of these lights to the user’s face have doctors concerned.
This manmade blue light is everywhere, but is the blue light emitted through LED bulbs and digital screens the same?
What is Blue Light?
Blue light’s high-energy waves are similar to UV rays but visible to the human eye.
With a short wavelength of 380 to 500 nm nanometers, blue light can directly penetrate the cornea and hit the retina, causing retinal damage.
Approximately one-third of all visible light is considered high-energy visible (HEV) or “blue” light.
Blue light technology is easily becoming one of the most common forms of light exposure to the human eye.
We don't even have to tell you that exposure to our screens can cause sore or irritated eyes, difficulty focusing, and trouble sleeping - these are immediate effects that we all feel.
What's even more concerning is how prolonged exposure could lead to damaged retinal cells, causing serious vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration.
Other harmful effects include:
To combat these dangerous effects, computer and phone companies are creating night-shift modes, screen time regulation applications, and screens that reduce blue light refraction into the human eye. Meanwhile, eye-product companies are creating blue-light reflective glasses and lenses for their market.
Although initially presented as a solution to fluorescent bulbs that drained natural resources, LED bulbs are now being discredited because of the high amount of blue light exposure they give off.
Earlier in 2019, there was a sudden onset of concern over light-emitting diode lights (LED lights) possibly causing eye and skin damage. This wave was the aftermath of a 400-page report published by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES). The ANSES’ report claimed that exposure to intense LED lights has a “photo-toxic” effect on the human body, leading to irreversible loss of retinal cells and blurry vision.
Just like with our screens, chronic exposure to LED bulbs can "accelerate the aging of retinal tissue, contributing to a decline in visual acuity and certain degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration," the agency concluded.
Protect Your Eyes
When it comes to artificial blue light emitted from LED bulbs and digital screens, health experts are calling out businesses to take steps to reduce blue light exposure, leading brands like Dr. Lite to create better sources of household lighting that cut down on the emission of high-energy visible spectrums.