Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Medical | By

Light from digital devices contributes to eye disease and blindness

Light from digital devices contributes to eye disease and blindness

Now, thanks to a team of researchers from the University of Toledo, we know how blue light causes this damage, meaning we might also be on track to preventing it. However, digital devices, such as computers, televisions, and smartphones, also emit blue light, and we spend an bad lot of time staring directly at those screens from a close distance.

THE BLUE light emitted from smartphones, laptops and a wide variety of digital devices not only damages your vision but can actually speed up blindness. "When they're dead, they're dead for good", said Ratnayak.

Dr Ajith Karunarathne, an assistant professor in the university's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said: "We are being exposed to blue light continuously and the eye's cornea and lens can not block or reflect it".

In the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, when the team introduced blue light to other cell types in the body, such as cancer cells, heart cells and neurons, they died as a result of the combination with retinal.

They found that exposing the eye to blue light causes a reaction which leads an essential light-sensitive protein in the retina, known as retinal, to generate poisonous molecules in photoreceptor cells, resulting in their death. "Photoreceptors are useless without retinal, which is produced in the eye".

Age-based macular degeneration occurs naturally even without the presence of screens as our eyes are exposed to blue light from sunlight.


"We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye's cornea and lens can not block or reflect it", study author Dr Ajith Karunarathne said in a statement. Retinal is a form of vitamin A that changes shape when exposed to light rays. "It can kill any cell type", Karunarathne said. "No activity is sparked with green, yellow or red light", Karunarathne said.

"If you look at the amount of light coming out of your cell phone, it's not great but it seems tolerable", Dr.in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said.

Karunarathne said you can use special sunglasses that filter both UV and blue light to try and combat the effects, but experts are unsure whether they do that much good.

Our cell phones are practically connected to us.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and while it does not cause total blindness, AMD can make everyday activities such as reading and recognising faces hard. Any medicine would appear to help or delay macular degeneration, a condition that sees about 2 million new cases reported per year.

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