Blue Light from Your Gadgets Speeds Up Blindness

  • Scientists revealed that the blue light emitted by digital devices may lead to blindness.
  • The researchers said that prolonged exposure to blue light can activate toxic molecules which can lead to macular degeneration.
  • Macular degeneration usually affects people in their 50s and 60s and can contribute to significant vision loss.

Researchers recently discovered that exposure to blue light from digital devices can cause vision damage and may eventually lead to blindness. In comparison to other colors, blue light is characterized by more energy and shorter wavelength, and it can slowly damage vision.

“We are being exposed to blue light continuously and the eye’s cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it. It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina” says Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, assistant professor in the University of Toledo’s department of chemistry and biochemistry.

He adds “Our experiments explain how this happens, and we hope this leads to therapies that slow macular degeneration, such as a new kind of eye drop.”

A study by the University of Toledo shows that blue light exposure, for prolonged periods, actually prompts the production of toxic molecules in the retina that can cause macular degeneration – an irreversible condition that involves the middle part of the vision.

Macular degeneration, caused by the death of light-sensitive cells called photoreceptor cells in the retina, commonly affects those in their 50s and 60s and can contribute to significant vision loss (although not total blindness). This can make day-to-day activities such as reading and walking quite challenging.

“Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they’re dead, they’re dead for good” says University of Toledo PhD student, Kasun Ratnayake.

Karunarathne also adds that the retinal-generated toxicity by blue light is universal. It can kill any cell type.

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, discovered that exposing other cell types in the body — heart cells, neurons and cancer cells — to blue light, actually caused those cells to die.

Alpha-tocopherol, a natural antioxidant found in the body, is something that scientists have found to actually stop the cells from dying, however, it does not guarantee any protection for those who have suppressed immune systems and the elderly.

Dr. Karunarathne gave sensible advice such as avoiding browsing on smartphones or computers in the dark or poorly-lit areas and wearing sunglasses that can filter blue light and UV rays outdoors to protect the eyes from their harmful effects.

Source: The Guardian

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