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Researchers find that blue light from electronic devices could increase risk of blindness

By midian182 · 10 replies
Aug 10, 2018
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  1. Research by the University of Toledo has found that long periods of exposure to blue light triggers the production of poisonous molecules in the eye’s photoreceptor cells.

    Damage to these light-sensitive cells can lead to macular degeneration, an incurable condition that results in blurred or no vision in the center of the visual field, or “blind spots.” Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the US, affecting over 11 million Americans.

    The problem is exacerbated when using a blue light-emitting device in the dark. We’ve seen plenty of incidents of people going temporarily blind after staring at their smartphones while in a darkened bedroom.

    The researchers focused on a form of Vitamin A called retinal, which photoreceptor cells use to covert light into signals that get sent to the brain.

    “If you shine blue light on retinal, the retinal kills photoreceptor cells as the signaling molecule on the membrane dissolves,” said researcher Kasun Ratnayake. “Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they’re dead, they’re dead for good.”

    Retinal that absorbs the blue light converts oxygen cells into a toxic molecule that kills the photoreceptor cells. The researchers injected the retinal molecules into other cell types, including cancer cells and heart cells, and found they died off when exposed to blue light. But the blue light by itself had no effect on the cells, neither did retinal that hadn’t been exposed to blue light.

    “The retinal-generated toxicity by blue light is universal. It can kill any cell type,” said lead author and assistant professor in the UT department of chemistry and biochemistry, Dr. Ajith Karunarathne.

    The researchers did find a molecule called alpha-tocopherol that can stop the cells from dying, but the natural antioxidant fails to protect older users who are more susceptible to macular degeneration.

    If you want to protect your eyes, Dr. Karunarathne suggests wearing sunglasses/glasses that filter out harmful UV and blue light, using blue light filters on phones and monitors, and avoid using electronic devices with screens in the dark.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,719   +1,135

    Mmmm what it doesn't say here and makes this look like yellow press:
    "However, Glen Jeffery, visual neuroscience researcher at the University College London, UK, remains sceptical: ‘There is a big leap between the data presented [in this study] and the real world. No one is exposed to 24–48 hours of continuous blue light at the intensities used.’ He explains that the human eye has range of protective mechanisms, blocking wavelengths below 400nm.".

    This was alarming at first, a quick search made this look almost like a myth.

    You should boost the spread of this type of info https://www.preventblindness.org/blue-light-and-your-eyes
  3. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 334   +354

    It's unfortunate that even researchers use click bait style writing.
  4. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 389   +273

    And frequently it's not even the researchers making the clickbait claims. Instead it's the PR wing of the college/uni, many of whom have no research background.
  5. moon982

    moon982 TS Rookie Posts: 23

    That is why people are losing faith with mainstream science these days and turning to fake news or alternative science.

    When study of some sort comes out every day say this and that.

    Study saying power lines and cell phones cause cancer and other study some where else saying power lines and cell phones do not cause cancer. Other study red wine is bad and other one saying red whine is good and other one saying coffee is bad than another one saying coffee is good.

    Study saying GMO food does not cause cancer or illnesses and is safe than other study some where else saying it does cause cancer or illnesses.

    A study saying smoking pot causes cancer and other study some where else saying it does not.

    People are losing faith with mainstream science these days with these sloppy studies just to publish an article and get your name out there.
  6. Wizwill

    Wizwill TS Enthusiast Posts: 97   +45


    Every study ever conducted has confirmed that every human now living will die!
  7. Rukubira

    Rukubira TS Rookie

    This is actually a great example of fake news. Most of the time it is news websites and journalists with zero understanding of science purposely or unintentionally exaggerating stories for clickbait.
  8. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 640   +240

    From my own experience, my eyes do get blurry if I look at a phone too long. Could be just tired eyes, I don't know.
  9. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Addict Posts: 127   +66

    Furthermore, 99.7% of all those who have already died had been exposed to large amounts of blue light during their lives.
  10. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,719   +1,135

    However, almost 99,9% of them didn't know they were exposed to blue light.
  11. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 640   +240

    I was thinking of a political pun.

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