Blue Light Emitted By Smartphones Could Be Causing Blindness

Blue light,Smartphone,Health

Until that day comes try to avoid looking at your screens at night and wear blue light filtering glasses.

Scientists from the University of Toledo in the U.S. examined the role of a molecule within the retina called retinal. When combined with neurons and cancer cells, retinal that had been exposed to blue light killed them all - suggesting it could do the same to those found in the human eye.

"We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye's cornea and lens can not block or reflect it", says Ajith Karunarathne, one of the researchers on the new study.

The resulting damage can speed up macular degeneration - a condition that affects that can blur out the middle part of our vision.

Unfortunately, there's now no cure for AMD, although certain treatments like eye injections can help slow down its progression.

So where does blue light come in?

The researchers focused on a form of Vitamin A called retinal, which photoreceptor cells use to covert light into signals that get sent to the brain. Dr Ajith Karunarathne, an assistant professor in the university's department of chemistry and biochemistry explained that this blue light is constantly affecting the cornea and the lens that can not block or reflect it.

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"By learning more about the mechanisms of blindness in search of a method to intercept toxic reactions caused by a combination of retinal and blue light, we hope to find a way to protect the vision of children growing up in a high-tech world", he concluded. The damage is permanent. "Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they're dead, they're dead for good", said Ratnayak.

Kasun Ratnayake, a PhD student at the University of Toledo and one of the authors of the study explained that if the blue light is shone on the retina, it kills the photoreceptor cells of the retina and the signalling molecules called retinal on the retinal membrane dissolves. When exposed to blue light, these cell types died as a result of the combination with retinal.

"No activity is sparked with green, yellow or red light".

"You need a continuous supply of retinal molecules if you want to see", researcher Ajith Karunarathne said in a press release. But as we age, or if the immune system is suppressed, we lose the ability to fight against attacks by retinal and blue light.

Dr Karunarathne said: "That is when the real damage occurs".

Karunarathne said you can use special sunglasses that filter both UV and blue light to try and combat the effects, but experts are unsure whether they do that much good.

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