The push to become more environmentally friendly has seen older types of lighting be withdrawn from sale, and increasingly be replaced by LED lights. LED’s use less energy and do not contain mercury, which has previously been linked to numerous adverse health effects.
However, the switch to more carbon neutral lighting is not without its own problems.
Studies have demonstrated that LED’s can also have a negative impact on our health, particularly our eyes, which could be a major problem – laptops, mobile phones, and house lighting all now use LEDs in their construction.
In this article, we share how and why LED’S affect our eyesight and the steps we can take to minimise the risk we face.
Light Emitting Diodes emit blue light which has recently been shown to be harmful to the cells in our retina. This is a serious issue because once our retina is damaged, it cannot be repaired by our body’s immune system. Poor retinal health is often linked to macular degeneration and eventually blindness, so the fear is that LED’s could be accelerating the sight loss of millions of people around the world.
In addition, there is now evidence that blue light suppresses the production of melatonin in humans. As melatonin is needed to help us sleep and regenerate from the day’s stresses, anything that interferers with this process is a bad thing.
It is easy to see why LED’s and the lighting they provide are beginning to worry both scientists and leading health authorities.
The Curse Of Technology
While modern technological devices have undoubtedly enhanced some of our lives for the better, they are also the primary source of blue light exposure. Look around any home and you will find multiple products that are capable of producing blue light:
- house lighting
If used in moderation, the health effects of these devices are likely to be minimal, but research indicates that damage will increase the more they are used or viewed.
When you consider that the average person picks up their smartphone an average of 85 times per day, and then watches TV or a laptop, it is obvious how eye damage can very quickly accumulate.
This has led to some scientists warning of a forthcoming blindness epidemic. Luckily, there are now ways to reduce our exposure and hopefully avoid sight loss.
How To Protect Yourself
Reducing screen time is the most obvious and effective suggestion to protect our health, but if you need your daily Facebook fix, there are other methods to help. For laptops and smartphones, free apps can lower the amount of blue light that is emitted – if your child has a smartphone, this can be a really effective way to safeguard their eyesight.
Physical screen filters can also be purchased. These sit atop the computer or TV screen, and again alter the wavelength of light that is being produced. Some Spanish municipalities have now made these filters mandatory in their schools!
Diet is another important factor in protecting our retinas. Vitamin A is an essential eye health nutrient that can be found in spinach and peppers. In addition, salmon, krill, and even edible algae contain large amounts of astaxanthin, which has been shown to reduce retinal cell death.
To ensure that we get the sleep and body repair we need, it is advisable to stop using technological devices at least 60 minutes before bed time.