Do you adequately protect your eyes from LED light?
No matter whether billboards, smartphones or tablets: LED lighting has dangerous side effects for the eyes. A recent statement by the French health authority ANSES warns against the unprotected use of LED light. The retina of the eyes can be permanently damaged. In addition, studies have shown that the light disturbs our sleep rhythm sensitively. However, there are precautions that can protect against permanent damage.
The French health authority Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail (ANSES) warns that LED lights can permanently damage the retina and that it also disrupts the natural rhythm of sleep. ANSES has summarized the current state of research in a more than 400-page report.
Can LED lights blind?
LED lights have been labeled phototoxic by the French authority. The report noted that this could cause irreversible retinal cell loss and a common cause of blindness. The ANSES insisted that the maximum limit for exposure to LED lights, which emit so-called blue light in much higher quantities, be revised. LED screens for phones, tablets and laptops appear to pose a low risk of eye damage. However, the situation is different with the intense lights of the car headlights, which can damage our eyes.
What is the danger from cell phones?
Mobile phones, tablets and computers are only a low risk because their luminosity is very low compared to other types of lighting. However, these backlit devices, especially when used at night or in a dark environment, can disrupt our biological rhythms and thus our sleep patterns, warns ANSES. Children are particularly susceptible to such disorders.
How dangerous is chronic low intensity exposure?
The current report differentiated between acute exposure to high-intensity LED light and chronic exposure to low-intensity sources. Even though chronic exposure is less dangerous to the eyes, it can still accelerate retinal tissue aging and contribute to visual disturbances, the agency reports.
There is more and more LED lighting
The durable, energy-efficient and cost-effective LED technology has taken over half of the general lighting market in just a decade. Industry experts assume that the share of LED lamps will increase to over 60 percent by the end of next year. LED light only consumes around a fifth of the current that a normal light bulb with comparable brightness needs. LEDs are mainly used for house and street lighting as well as in offices and industry. They are also increasingly found in car headlights, flashlights, and even some toys. The basic technology for generating white light combines a short-wave LED such as blue or ultraviolet with a yellow fluorescent coating.
How can we protect ourselves from LED light?
At best, use a so-called blue light filter on your phone, tablet or computer to protect yourself at night. There are also apps that filter blue light in the evening. Other options, such as setting the night mode on your device, reduce blue light emissions at all times of the day. Avoid using your phone or PC in the dark as your pupils dilate and absorb more blue light.
Disorders caused by a disturbed circadian rhythm
ANSES is known to worsen metabolic disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers when the body's circadian rhythm is disturbed. In addition, tiny fluctuations in the electrical current can create a kind of stroboscopic effect in some LED lights, which contributes to headaches, visual fatigue and a higher risk of accidents, the researchers explain in their report.
Which light should be used for home use?
ANSES recommends buying warm white LED lighting for home use to limit exposure to LED sources with high blue light levels. The whiter or colder the light is, the greater the proportion of blue in the spectrum. The use of LED screens before going to bed should also be avoided. Manufacturers of excessively bright vehicle headlights should limit the light intensity. (as)