SAD lights cause eye damage

LED lamps: harmful light for the eyes

Status: 09/17/2018 4:03 p.m. | archive
Do not look directly into LED light - it can promote inflammation in the eye.

The light from LED lamps could be harmful to the eyes in the long term. This is shown by a study by the French Institute for Health and Medical Research. According to the research, the high proportion of blue light can promote age-related macular degeneration.

Studies on rats

To compare the effects of different types of light, the scientists carried out experiments on rats. One group was exposed to light from LED lamps, one group to light from conventional incandescent lamps and a group of light from fluorescent tubes:

  • With a high light intensity of 6,000 lux, all light sources led to inflammatory processes that promoted the death of the visual cells.
  • At a lower light intensity of 500 lux, as is found in many indoor rooms, only the light from the LED lamps impaired the rats' retinas.

Blue light can promote macular degeneration

To produce white light, LED lamps mix blue and yellow light. The blue light can pass through the cornea unhindered and trigger inflammatory processes in the macula. The color-sensitive sensory cells are closest to one another in this area of ​​the retina.

  • Blue light leads to the overproduction of a protein, which triggers a chain reaction that leads to the death of the visual cells. This leads to a loss of vision.
  • Blue light also damages retinal pigment cells. As a result of accelerated aging processes, the cells produce more waste materials (lipofuscins), which in turn damage the visual cells.

The ophthalmologist recognizes macular degeneration by certain deposits and dark spots on the retina. The disease cannot be cured and is mostly age-related. Blue light accelerates the process especially when the eye is exposed to the light unprotected - for example when watching TV or when working on a screen.

So far, the effects have been proven experimentally in animal experiments. Long-term studies on humans are lacking.

Sleep disorders from blue light

The negative effect of blue light is particularly great at night. Then it's not just our eyes that are damaged. Our internal clock is also out of step. Light affects the smallest molecular structures of the body. This can be demonstrated in individual cells in the laboratory. In the dark, the body releases melatonin, which is the sign of sleep. But if blue light falls on the eye even briefly, melatonin production is stopped. This messes up our sleep rhythm. Possible consequences are not only sleep disorders, but also overweight and diabetes in the long term.

Protect eyes from LED light

The light intensity of LED lamps in the household is regulated by an EU standard. Warm-white light from LED lamps is considered to be less dangerous to the eyes than cold-white light. If you want to reduce the risk, you can switch the light on computer monitors or smartphones to the yellowish area ("night mode"). Particularly bright LED lights should be set so that you cannot look directly into them. When reading on screens and watching TV, you should switch on another light source in the room - because in the dark the pupils are wide and a lot of blue screen light comes into the eye.

In the meantime, LED lamps with a yellow-orange colored glass body are also on the market. The tint filters out the blue component in the light almost completely, thereby reducing the risk to the eyes. Manufacturers often sell such LED lamps under names such as "retro", "vintage" or "chimney fire".

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