Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Blue light from smartphones may speed blindness

Blue Light From Smartphone Computer Displays Can Accelerate Blindness Study Blue Light From Smartphone, Computer Displays Can Accelerate Blindness: Study
Celia Hoffman | 12 August, 2018, 19:29

But the blue light by itself had no effect on the cells, neither did retinal that hadn't been exposed to blue light. Human vision relies on a molecule called retinal to sense light, and send visual information to the brain.

Retinal that absorbs the blue light converts oxygen cells into a toxic molecule that kills the photoreceptor cells.

The researchers explain that the blue light emitted from the digital devices has a shorter wavelength and more energy compared to other forms of light and this can cause damage to the eyes.

Macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease that results in significant vision loss starting on average in a person's 50s or 60s, is the death of photoreceptor cells in the retina.

Unfortunately, there's now no cure for AMD, although certain treatments like eye injections can help slow down its progression. Sunlight contains all the colors of the light spectrum, from blue to red, and it's our primary source of blue light exposure.

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. Now, researchers at the University of Toledo have discovered an entirely new problem with blue light. The damage is permanent. "Photoreceptors are useless without retinal, which is produced in the eye".

Futurism noted that scientists already knew that blue light from screens "contributed" to blindness, but they didn't understand the mechanism behind why until now.

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Retinal - a substance formed by oxidation of vitamin A - changes and kills photoreceptor cells by dissolving some of their membranes.

Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, an author on the study, said in a press release that not all types of light are risky, as "no activity is sparked with green, yellow or red light".

The scientists found that a molecule called alpha tocopherol normally stops the cells from dying. But as we age, or our immune system takes a hit, we lose the ability to fight against the toxic retinal attack - and that's when the damage occurs.

Dr. Karunarathne urged anyone concerned to wear sunglasses that filter UV and blue light and to avoid browsing on digital devices in the dark.

"Every year more than two million new cases of age-related macular degeneration are reported in the United States", Karunarathne said.

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.

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