Does blue light from electronic devices damage your eyes?

Staring at your smartphone or any other digital device could speed up blindness. A study by University of Toledo in Ohio (USA) found that blue light from digital devices triggers the production of a toxic chemical that kills light-sensitive cells in our eyes. The resulting damage can speed up macular degeneration – a leading cause of vision loss.

Dr Ajith Karunarathne from the University of Toledo said: “We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye’s cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it. It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina.”

Macular degeneration begins with the death of photoreceptor cells (light sensitive cells) in the retina. These cells need molecules called retinal to sense light and trigger a cascade of signalling to the brain. “You need a continuous supply of retinal molecules if you want to see,” Karunarathne said.

When blue light hits our eyes, it triggers retinal to produce toxic molecules that kill off the eye’s photoreceptor cells. “Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they’re dead, they’re dead for good,” Karunarathne adds.

Retinal and blue light need each other to cause their damage; either one on its own wasn’t found to kill photoreceptor cells. The researchers say that people should avoid using digital devices in the dark because this can dilate pupils and cause more blue light to enter the eyes.

Picture Credit : Google 

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