Do LED Lights Impact Eye Health?

Light Emitting Diode (LED)’s light quality is better than CFL and these do not contain mercury, economically too these are more viable as they have a longer life span. Yet from time to time doubts have been raised on the impact of LED on health and the environment. Especially the impact of LED monitors on eyes has caused concerns.

Dr Pankaj Ranjan is an eye surgeon at the Department of Ophthalmology Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi he analyses the impact LED gadgets could have on human health.

He explains the reason why experts have expressed apprehension on LED lights “LED lights are more in the blue spectrum which is more harmful for the eyes retinal pigment epithelium cells, blue spectrum light is detrimental for these cells and cause oxidative stress in these. Hence at least theoretically these can be harmful to the eyes though no research has conclusively established any co relation between LED monitors and eye problems” he says.

Health concerns of LED lights:

LED’s emit high intensity light which are more in the blue spectrum that are more harmful for the eyes retinal pigment epithelium cells.

LED lights excessive brightness could impede secretion of the anti oxidant Melatonin hormone which is crutial for sleep

Red LED lights contain lead a known Neuro toxin, similarly white LED light has nickel hence disposal of these is hazardous

Dr Anju Bajaj, Clinical Incharge, Eye Q Super Speciality Eye Hospital, Rohtak agrees to the possibility of LED monitors harming the eyes “LED displays emit high intensity light. The retina cells can be harmed by prolonged and continuous exposure to LED rays. Within the retina the RPE layer is affected more by constant and continual exposure to LED monitors” she says.

Dr Ranjan points out that LED lights excessive brightness could impede secretion of Melatonin hormone “Melatonin hormone is secreted by the pineal gland and has a role in regulating the day and night cycle of the body. Studies have proved that exposure to high brightness hampers secretion of this hormone”.  Dr Ranjan explains that melatonin has anti oxidant and anti cancerous properties and symptoms of sleep deprivation are evident when melatonin secretion is hampered.

When quizzed that do LED lights and monitors have lead a known Neuro toxin he explains “Red LED lights have a lead content and also some have arsenic, similarly white LED light has nickel hence disposal of these is hazardous”.

He informs that not only TV’s, computer monitors, traffic lights, car lights but even diagnostic instruments including ophthalmological ones are shifting to LED technology due to higher durability and better visibility.

So is there no way to save one’s eyes from blue spectrum lights of LED monitors he says “A 2012 study done in the “Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology” came out with the solution, it said that an inbuilt blue filter must be used to capture the blue light and make it safer”. He adds that it is unfortunate that such a blue filter is not commercially available as of now.

Dr Anju Bajaj explains some other precautions that can be taken for general eye health and specially while using LED monitors “Nowadays we tend to spend too much time looking at digital screen which causes eyestrain. To avoid this problem, follow the 20-20-20 rule which suggests that after every 20 minutes, the computer user should take a break for at least 20 seconds and look at objects that are 20 feet away. Also sometimes one forgets to blink while working on computers, so it is suggested that after every 20 minutes one should blink 20 times which will help in relaxing the eyes”

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