Warning, this is not the best news to be reading from your computer or smartphone.
Light from digital devices triggers the creation of toxic molecules in the retina that can cause macular degeneration
Scientists say they have found how blue light from smartphones, laptops and other digital devices damages vision and can speed up blindness.
Research by the University of Toledo has revealed that prolonged exposure to blue light triggers poisonous molecules to be generated in the eye’s light-sensitive cells that can cause macular degeneration – an incurable condition that affects the middle part of the vision.
Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, who is 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 cannot block or reflect it."
Macular degeneration is caused by the death of photoreceptor, ie light-sensitive cells, in the retina and it is a common condition among those in their 50s and 60s that results in significant vision loss.
Kasun Ratnayake, a PhD student at the University of Toledo who was involved in the study, said: “If you shine blue light on retinal, the retinal kills photoreceptor cells as the signaling molecule on the membrane dissolves."
“Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they’re dead, they’re dead for good.”
Karunarathne said: “The retinal-generated toxicity by blue light is universal. It can kill any cell type.”
On the bright side, there are preventative measures that can be taken to avoid early onset macular degeneration and protect yourself from blindness caused by blue light. EyeJust blocks a significant portion of the harmful blue light coming from your phone screen keeping your eyes protected. In addition to using an EyeJust screen protector, turn down the brightness on your phone and enable night shift. Most importantly, change your nighttime habits and put down your digital devices at least an hour before bed for a better nights sleep and healthier tech habits.
The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports. Full reporting of the scientific report can be found in The Guardian.