We all know that increased exposure to electronic screens is not good for our eyes. Unfortunately, new research from Spain suggests our exposure to LED screens may be even worse than previously imagined. Indeed, Spanish researchers believe we will face a global blindness epidemic if governments don't take action now to warn the public about the dangers of LED light exposure.
These two Spanish studies were conducted at the University Complutense of Madrid .Researchers first looked at the retina of lab rats that stared at an LED screen, and then compared the data with the retinae of rats that looked at a filtered LED screen. After three months, scientists found that the rats which stared at the LED light experienced a rate of retinal cell decay rate that was 23 percent higher than those looking at filtered LED light.
Not only did retinal cells die quicker in rats exposed to LED light, but also certain negative enzymes and genes were strengthened over time. All of these enzymes and genes accelerated the process of retinal cell decay.
Interestingly, researchers noted that rats that looked at LED lights with the filter Reticare experienced no retinal cell death. Reticare is the only scientifically tested eye protector for LED screens on the market nowadays.
The second study conducted at this Spanish university tried to determine how much damage each device was doing to a user's eyes from different distances. Some of the devices researchers looked at included tablets, computers, portable gaming devices, and smartphones.
Unsurprisingly, researchers found that the children in this study were exposed to more intense light waves than adults. Since children have shorter arms, they always hold their LED products closer to their face. This is a major reason why high-energy light waves can more easily penetrate into a child's retina.
Over 2,000 children aged between the ages of eight to 18 participated in this second study. When asked how long they viewed a screen each day, most responded around 7.5 hours. 4.5 of these 7.5 hours was spent watching TV, more than one hour was spent on video games, and 1.5 hours was spent on academic computer learning programs.
One of the lead researchers on this study, Dr. Celia Sánchez-Ramos , told reporters these results should be a wake-up call for how parents think about letting their children look at LED screens. She also hopes these studies will lead governments to promote ad campaigns warning the public about the dangers of prolonged LED light exposure. Dr. Sánchez-Ramos specifically said, "These results are important because LED screens are being used by the majority of the population…for work, school and entertainment."
If people have the money, researchers recommend investing in LED filters like Reticare. Reticare currently offers filters for a wide variety of screens, including iPads, Galaxy phones, iPhones, and iMacs.
If you don't have the money for a Reticare product, there's a simple tip everyone can try right now. This tip, called the "20-20-20 rule," will greatly reduce the number of retinal cells killed when staring at an LED screen. After anyone has stared at a screen for 20 minutes, ophthalmologists say to turn away and stare at a point 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.