BLUE LIGHT AND MACULAR DEGENERATION
There’s growing medical evidence that exposure to blue-violet light can cause permanent eye damage by contributing to the destruction of the light-sensitive macular cells in the retina, leading to partial or even complete loss of vision, as caused by age-related macular degeneration.
Melanin is the substance in the skin, hair, and eyes that absorbs harmful UV and blue light rays. It’s the body’s natural sunscreen protection. Higher amounts of melanin afford greater protection, but as we age we lose melanin, so that by age 65 half of the protection is gone making us more susceptible to eye disease such as macular degeneration.
The retina is a very thin, multi-layered tissue covering the inner eyeball. The retina can be harmed by high-energy visible radiation of blue-violet light that penetrates the macular pigment found in the eye. A low macular pigment density may represent a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration by permitting greater blue light damage to the retina.
A recent Harvard medical study states: ‘High Energy Visible (HEV) blue light has been identified for years as the most dangerous light for the retina. After chronic exposure, one can expect to see long range growth in the number of macular degenerations, glaucomas, and retinal degenerative diseases.’ And a paper published by the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF) reports that ‘the blue rays of the spectrum seem to accelerate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) more than any other rays in the spectrum.’
Who needs protection from blue light exposure?
We all do. Everyone needs to take precautions against the effects of blue light. Whether we work in an office or spend hours staring at a computer screen or texting on our cell phones, we are all being exposed to harmful blue light.