Led lights are all around us and have been around since 1962. They are cost-effective and come in a variety of colors, making them the ideal choice when you need to light up an environment.
Are LED lights harmful to our eyes? Yes, led lights are harmful to your eyes, and here’s why! According to a 400-page report by The French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), overexposure to intense and powerful (LED) light is ‘photo-toxic’ and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision.
Eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are one of the many risks associated with chronic exposure to LED lights. The condition is characterized by the aging of retinal tissue which leads to a decline in visual acuity.
Besides retinal damage, LED lights can also trigger bouts of headache, and visual fatigue, and generally increase the risk of accidents.
So what are LED lights?
LED lights are an improvement over incandescent bulbs. They produce light by passing electricity through a semiconductor, which drastically differs from the technique employed in energy-saving light bulbs which pass energy through mercury vapor to create UV light. With the help of a phosphor coating, a lamp absorbs the UV light, resulting in the glow effect that lights up your environment.
Do LED lights cause eye strain?
Yes, LED lights are capable of causing strain to your eyes! This is particularly true for people with medical conditions associated with seizures and migraines.
The reason is that LEDs produce a flicker so faint that most people wouldn’t even notice. So, there’s a low possibility that you’ll experience headaches, fatigue, or seizures while exposed to LEDs. Only people with light sensitivity issues tend to be affected by LEDs.
How can we protect our eyes from LED light?
When it comes to protecting our eyes from overexposure to LEDs, there are a few ways to go about that. Regardless of the LED light source, the following measures can help prevent damage to your eyes.
- Limiting your screen time: Too much of everything is bad and so is spending too much time in front of your smartphone, computer, or TV screen. Taking regular breaks between screen times will give your eyes enough time to rest. You should also try to avoid looking at screens 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Use warm white LED lights instead: According to the ANSES report ‘warm white’ LED lights emit fewer blue lights than the ‘cool white’ LED variants which will drastically reduce the damaging effect on your eyes.
- Block blue light: Glassmakers like GUNNAR have an amazing range of products designed for gaming, computers e.t.c. These glasses possess tint filters capable of blocking 65% of blue light at the peak of the blue light spectrum. Their product range comes in Amber Max (GBLF 98), Sun (GBLF 90), Amber (GBLF 65), and Clear (GBLF 35). Feel free to check them out.
Blue light: natural vs. artificial
The previous section establishes the fact that Blue light is harmful to your eyes, but then you may ask “Doesn’t the sun emit blue light?” The answer is yes, the blue light emitted by LEDs is nowhere near that of the sun.
Give it some thought and you’ll realize that you rarely look at the sun as much as you do LEDs, as doing so can cause irreparable damage.
Artificial lights produced by LEDs on the other hand are quite common, so you’re more likely to stare at them for extended periods in much closer proximity.
While you may not experience immediate side effects from overexposure to blue light emitted by light bulbs and digital devices, over time you may experience more significant repercussions.
According to a Daily Mail article by Dr. Celia Sánchez-Ramos, she opines “Eyes are not designed to look directly at light—they are designed to see with light.”
Are LED lights better for your eyes than fluorescent lights?
Fluorescent light bulbs can also damage your eyes because they emit more UV radiation than the blue light produced by LED light bulbs. LED lights come in a variety of colors and do not emit UV rays, you can also go for warm LED lights which are safer for your eyes.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) also make good options, they generally emit far lesser UV rays than incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs.
Your eyes are precious and so you must guard them to a fault. We do expect to see more research in this area to better help determine the extent to which LED lights can cause harm to humans. However, prevention they say is better than cure so make sure to practice safer screen times, buying ‘warm white’ lights moving forward.