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Can LED lights damage your eyes? A new report says they might

Posted at 11:52 AM, May 21, 2019

A health agency in France is warning that LED lights can not only disrupt your sleep but also damage your eyes.

These types of lights are used often in our very own homes. How are they affecting our health?

This new report comes from ANSES , the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety. They found new scientific evidence confirming the "phototoxic effects" of short-term exposures to high-intensity blue light. Now, phototoxicity is a condition where the eyes or skin have become overly sensitive to light. ANSES also found that chronic exposure to lower intensity sources can damage the retina in our eyes, and this can increase your risk of age-related macular degeneration. As for sleep, blue light can disturb your natural sleep rhythms because our eyes’ have blue light photoreceptors. So exposure to blue light at night can lead to a suppression of the hormone melatonin, which we all need to help us sleep.

What is age-related macular degeneration?

Unfortunately, age-related macular degeneration is an eye condition that can lead to vision loss, especially for folks who are 50 and older. And it happens because of damage to a small area in the retina that is responsible for sharp vision, and that’s the macula. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for macular degeneration. And older adults are not the only ones to be concerned — children cannot fully filter blue light because their eyes are still developing, so they need to be extra careful due to the potential harms of blue light.

What about anti-blue light sunglasses, do they work?

Well the report said protection via anti-blue light screens, sunglasses and filters have not been proven. In fact, another study back in 2017 investigated these types of products and also found that there was not enough high-quality evidence to support their use. So I would not recommend them. But for the most part, sunglasses are designed to block out ultraviolet light. So ones with a yellow tint could possibly be useful in lowering how much blue light gets to your eyes. Also, I suggest you limit the use of white and cold blue light in your home as this type was found to be more harmful. Whereas “warm white” LED lighting was found to be better as it has weaker phototoxicity risks.