Science Confirm What Parents Have Said For Years: The Blue Light From Your Phone Is Poisoning Your Eyes
Wait! Before you read the headline (too late) and decide to chuck your smartphone against a wall to save your precious eyes, at least hear the details of a recent study from a team out of the University of Toledo that explains exactly what the light from your electronic devices is doing to your vision.
The paper published in the journal Scientific Reports focuses on the effects of prolonged exposure to the blue light emitted by laptops, phones, and other digital devices. The researchers found that the light causes poisonous molecules to form in the photoreceptors of the eye. "If you shine blue light on retinal, the retinal kills photoreceptor cells as the signaling molecule on the membrane dissolves," said study lead Kasun Ratnayake.
The death of cells causes the incurable disease known as macular degeneration. According to The Guardian, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, and 2.4 percent of the UK's adult population is affected by it.
In the potentially good news column, the researchers also found that retinal cells made toxic by blue light are also toxic to other cells, including cancer cells. "The retinal-generated toxicity by blue light is universal. It can kill any cell type," said Ratnayake. While that may be helpful to know, it doesn't change the fact that there is currently no way to save the photoreceptors of the eye once the damage has been done.
The dangers of blue light have been a topic of concern for some time now. Some manufacturers now include settings in smartphones and computers that include blue light filters and "night mode" to reduce the strain after hours. There are also special filtered glasses, screen protectors, and other products that claim to block blue light, but the only sure-fire way to save yourself would be to stare at this and all of your other screens a little less, especially in the dark. What other websites do you have to check before bed besides Outer Places anyway?