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Do ‘environmentally friendly’ LED lights cause BLINDNESS?

Do ‘environmentally friendly’ LED lights cause BLINDNESS?

Spanish research has shown that blue LED light can irreparably damage the cells in the eye’s retina. This is not the first time energy-saving bulbs have been criticized – fluorescent bulbs emit dangerous UV light. Eco-friendly LED lights may damage your eyes, according to new research. A study has discovered that exposure to LED lights can cause irreparable harm to the retina of the human eye. LED lights have been touted as a super-efficient alternative to traditional bulbs because they use up to 85 percent less energy and each bulb can last up to 10 years.

In April, Philips, the world’s biggest lighting maker, reported a 38 percent jump in LED light sales from last year.

LED bulbs can damage the cells in the retina

A Spanish study has shown that the light emitted by LED bulbs can damage the cells in the retina. Some experts are now calling for a filter to be fitted in the bulbs (file picture).

They are already widely used in mobile phones, televisions, computer screens and can also be fitted as a replacement for traditional lighting in the home. LEDs are much more expensive than traditional bulbs – costing around £25 for an equivalent 100w compared to around £1 for an incandescent bulb – although manufacturers claim that consumers make their money back because of the use such little energy.

The government announced it was phasing out incandescent bulbs in 2007 after an EU directive banned their use. The 100w bulb was the first to go in 2009 and lower wattage bulbs continue to be phased out gradually. The ban caused public outrage as customers were forced to spend large sums of money on lighting that not only gave an unpleasantly ‘cold’ light but also caused some people to report symptoms of itchy skin and headaches.

The government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme, which was brought in to help cut UK carbon emissions, is also pushing the use of LED lighting by offering businesses added tax relief if they use LED and other low-energy bulbs. Dr. Celia Sánchez-Ramos, of Complutense University in Madrid and who led the study, explained that light from LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, comes from the short-wave, high-energy blue and violet end of the visible light spectrum.

are led lights safe for reading   are led lights safe for eyes

Incandescent bulbs (left) are being phased out in favor of low-energy alternatives such as CFLs (right), but there are concerns about the safety of the new generation of so-called ‘environmentally friendly’ lighting. She said that prolonged, continuous exposure to this light may be enough to damage a person’s retina. The retina is composed of light-sensitive tissue that is responsible for detecting light and in turn allowing us to see.

‘This problem is going to get worse, because humans are living longer and children are using electronic devices from a young age, particularly for schoolwork,’ Sánchez-Ramos told

led eye safety

Enterprising: Lighting shop owner Kerry Nicholau, from Twickenham, stockpiled 3000 incandescent bulbs after 75-watt bulbs were phased out in 2011

‘Eyes are not designed to look directly at light — they are designed to see with light,’ Sánchez-Ramos said.

Her comments are partly based on her 2012 study that was published in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology. The study found that LED radiation caused significant damage to human retinal pigment epithelial cells in vitro. Sánchez-Ramos added that modern humans have their eyes open for roughly 6,000 hours a year, and are exposed to artificial light for the majority of that time. Some experts have called for the LED lights to have built-in filters to cut out the blue glare.

This is not the first time energy-saving lights have come under scrutiny for safety reasons. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, have been criticized for the high levels of mercury they contain as well as the UV radiation they can emit. LED lights have also been blamed for the changing hues of masterpieces in art galleries.

A study carried out by the University of Antwerp earlier this year found that LED lights were bleaching the paint on works by Van Gogh and Cézanne.


Learn more about how you can protect your eyes from daily exposure to harsh blue light.

  • Pawan Kumar Arora
    Posted at 07:56h, 29 April Reply

    I have 2 led tube light in my room,if I work on the light eyes cotiniously wet and water come fall simonstly .it it very pain full to work with led light.

    • Ronald Buben
      Posted at 18:11h, 20 June Reply

      ummm. what?

      • Aus tin
        Posted at 04:55h, 22 June Reply

        He has led lights in his environment which cause his eyes to water continuously. The art of conversation is not using fancy words, it’s the transfer of ideas. Travel the world, it opens your mind.

        • josepn bryan duarte
          Posted at 09:42h, 15 July Reply

          No need to be a condescending @#@@##.

          • Pontius Pilate
            Posted at 19:07h, 09 October

            having or showing a feeling of patronizing superiority

            How is that condescending? Mister Ruben clearly did not understand what “PAWAN KUMAR ARORA” said. Neither could I. He’s not condescending. You are ignorant.

          • Sheila Jacklin
            Posted at 21:44h, 06 March

            Aus tin is not being condescending, he is simply responding to Bubens’s reply.The gist of Arora’s post is clearly understandable.

        • Margaret (Peg) Combs
          Posted at 08:20h, 29 July Reply

          Yes! You are so right! I understood what P.K. Arora said easily.

        • Auston
          Posted at 13:03h, 28 October Reply

          And the transfer of ideas requires generally requires CORRECTLY written words so that one can actually understand what ideas are being presented. It provides accuracy…clearly you dont understand that.

          Traveling the world has nothing to do with it, either. Tf? Quit acting like you’re some “holier than thou” moron.

          He didnt understand the OP and was hoping for clarification. You chimed in, because you think you’re the defender of all poor English speakers. I chimed in, because you’re a self-rightous twat ;).

          • Billy The Goat
            Posted at 10:56h, 27 January

            If one doesn’t understand a sentence (obviously written by a non-native speaker struggling with the language), one can say ‘I don’t understand – could you please rephrase’ or something to that effect. “Umm. what?” is not only impolite and somewhat condescending, it is also incorrect English.

      • Eric Andre
        Posted at 02:12h, 26 July Reply

        😂. LOL. Funniest $hit I’ve read in a while. Thanks for the good laugh and iPhone screenshot meme.

  • Patricia Taylor
    Posted at 10:02h, 15 November Reply

    Why don’t scientist initiate contact and engagement with investment 10 producing or, not only these kind of Lights, but many other things that they later called Dangerous!?

  • Kim mandley
    Posted at 22:24h, 31 December Reply

    Fluorescent lighting and LED lighting hurt my eyes. For years at my previous job my co workers teased me because I worked by day light, not the dreadful fluorescent lights. I have light colored eyes, maybe that plays a role? I want to be “green,” save energy, etc., but the lights make my eyes so strained, to the point that my head pounds, and I’m so dizzy, and ultimately cannot see straight.

    • Ema Jones
      Posted at 17:18h, 09 August Reply

      I have very dark brown eyes and LED lights literally hurt my eyes…

  • Mike b
    Posted at 22:38h, 12 April Reply

    OK people. I was just given this link about LED lights. Some of this is true and some not. LEDs do not create low amounts of radiation. None, zero, zilch. Now 6000k and above color lights are bad for your eyes no matter the type. Some naked LEDs can emit UV depending on the LED and maker. But many have defuser plates like recessed lighting LEDs do. Fluorescent bulbs are bad, but LEDs are not.

    • Mike
      Posted at 04:17h, 30 July Reply

      LEDs do not create low amounts of radiation? What do you think light is? It’s radiation.
      You should take a physics glass.

      • Bryce
        Posted at 14:11h, 28 August Reply

        Yes, we should all have a glass full of physics!

        • Blaine
          Posted at 21:49h, 17 October Reply

          Literally made me LOL. My physics almost shot out of my nose!

    • Eli I. Formhals
      Posted at 05:00h, 04 October Reply

      You are wrong. LED lights are bad for everyone. It causes migraines, you get sick more often, Dizziness, and more do I need to go on???

      • Brian Regan
        Posted at 07:07h, 27 January Reply

        Yes you need to go on, you didn’t share any evidence whatsoever, you might as well have said LED lights causes time to run backwards.

  • Biplab Poddar
    Posted at 00:53h, 29 June Reply

    Over the past few years, LED lights have replaced many of the incandescent bulbs and other lighting fixtures such as the halogen lamps, fluorescent lights, etc. Traditional fixtures have also been replaced by the LEDs when they were installed in place of the already existing bulbs. Thus it is needless to say that LED lights will go on until no incandescent or other excessive energy saving lamps come up.

  • Caliope Jones
    Posted at 07:00h, 13 September Reply

    So.oooooo…? .What Do We Do!next! I have one incandescent left in my home. Now what? Solutions people! If not, omeone, please , start inventing! I try to work my daylight as much as possible but night time working is a bummer of a strain on me eyes.

    • Linas Jusaitis
      Posted at 09:46h, 22 October Reply

      USE ~2700k HALOGEN lights, its also analog , same properties as incandescent, same IR good for health radiation. Just instead on 10% light/90% heat , its ~20/80.
      Incandescent is not dead – its halogen now, (there are may forms and fixture types, also looking the same as old incandescent bulbs.

      • David F.
        Posted at 22:14h, 31 January Reply

        Thanks for this info, extremely helpful.

  • Knowit All
    Posted at 07:46h, 25 September Reply

    LED lighting is crap, the monochromatic output frequencies don’t
    scatter as INCANDESCENT and CFL light does,
    putting a strain on the eyes, CFL is just as efficient and is much easier on the eyes if you don’t mind the ultrasonic noise generated by the DC to DC converter in them that steps up the voltage to fluoresce the bulbs, which is probably why everyone’s ears constantly ring causing the irretablity in people today. By far the best light comes from the INCANDESCENT light bulb, but then what do I know, I’m just a technician, I’m not one of them Einstein engineers today’s schools are cranking out !

  • Mary Doan
    Posted at 13:50h, 30 September Reply

    Hahahaha Love the commentary.

  • Eli I. Formhals
    Posted at 05:15h, 04 October Reply

    I have epilepsy, LED lights affect me because of the frequencies they emit, they are bad for everyone. Their health, eyes, sleep,you get sick more often ect. People need to switch back to incandescent lights they don’t put strain on your eyes. People have complained about migraines, headaches, and other things that they feel LEDs are horrible for your health and body. Look up LED lights and how it effects your health if you don’t believe me. Just note that people complain about LED lighting more than florescent lighting.

    • David F.
      Posted at 22:16h, 31 January Reply

      One has to wonder if these industries are deliberately trying to hurt us.

      • David F.
        Posted at 22:18h, 31 January Reply

        making light bulbs that cause blindness is pretty irresponsible and I just don’t believer industry is that incompetent.

  • Jo Anne Ragsdale
    Posted at 03:57h, 05 October Reply

    I use blue light blocking glasses and they have helped me with eye strain

  • Ken
    Posted at 18:30h, 21 October Reply

    Solution: Install a skylight in every room, and only work during the day.

  • Bill
    Posted at 09:57h, 20 November Reply

    Most of the problems described sound like too much light and the wrong color temperature. 5000K light looks fairly close to sunlight. There is a lot go blue in that color light. 2200K light looks like candlelight and has very little blue. 2700K light looks like incandescent bulbs, and 3000K light looks like halogens. So if you want less blue, just use a lower color temperature bulb, avoid 4000K and 5000K bulbs and don’t use so much light your desk looks like it’s out in the sunlight. All of the color temperatures I mentioned are readily available in LED bulbs. Just pick the right one, and yes, buying light bulbs is more complicated than it used to be.

    • Bryan
      Posted at 02:59h, 17 December Reply

      Bill, wish it was as simple as selecting LEDs by color temp, like in photography. Unfortunately, the problem originates with how LED light is produced. By its nature, it is heavily reliant on the direct and very high energy blue end of the spectrum. And have you ever followed a car with red LED tail lights at night and still saw the light trail minutes afterward?

  • Rs
    Posted at 19:57h, 02 December Reply

    They did studies and schools and homes that have Wifi. The findings were reported that there was an increase of sick days with school attendance and persons who had Wifi. That information has been scrubbed in the USA likely due to the tech corporatocracy. In several European countries they created restrictions on Wifi in schools.
    The new 5G is much much worse, there are reports that on days after 5G was unrolled, in the vicinity of 5G towers there are lots of dead birds at parks where birds sleep near the towers.

  • CSR
    Posted at 07:31h, 03 December Reply

    Wow, I feel I became a little dumber just from reading the comments here. I should have known better than to scroll and see all kinds of “truth” about studies that “they” did. There is in fact science behind the blue component damaging eyesight but it’s a little more complicated than “all LED bulbs are making people sick” if you actually look into the published work.

    For me, I spend the day in fluorescent which gives me headaches and eyestrain. I can’t wait to get home each day to relax in my nice warm, soothing 100% LED-lit home. As far as the wifi–I have my tinfoil hat to take care of that.

  • Me
    Posted at 13:01h, 18 December Reply

    Study shows more sick days in homes with WiFI? Of course! More things fun to do at home with the WiFi so call in sick! The WiFi isn’t making them more sick, they are just playing hooky more often.
    Also, raw LEDs may produce lots of blue light but they put a phosphor on them to make the other colors (to make white light). These phosphors can make the ‘color’ match incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, etc. So as another mentioned, if you want less blue light get a ‘warmer white’ color bulb. LEDs have more lumens than many incandescent bulbs but this is a purchase option for you — if you want less ‘LED problems’ select a lower “lumen output’ bulb so it is closer to what you are used to.
    Using a broad statement that LED lighting is bad is an uninformed comment. You can select what color and intensity you need and make it work great. Or, you can put your head in the sand and make grossly uninformed statements…

  • Lady QIla
    Posted at 13:02h, 18 December Reply

    I have an LED lamp on top of my computer desk. I have it aimed across the room and it gives a soft glow to the whole room. I don’t LOOK at the thing for very long. I don’t have migraines, my eyes are not hurting and all is well. As for radiation, of course all light sources give out radiation because light IS radiation. UV is just a wavelength of light and is in sunlight as well. As for dead birds, did you know that the fact that radar emissions killed birds that got too close to them? That’s how microwaves were invented. Radiation comes in many different wavelengths. Light is only light because our eyes are made to see that band of radiation. Otherwise, it’s just radiation as are x-rays, gamma rays, infrared, radio waves, and on and on. People need to STOP freaking out about the word “Radiation.” The sun gives out UV which actually is NOT harmful unless you stay out in the sun too long. Makes Vitamin D. As for a powerful source of light, the sun is brighter than any LED light bulb. Don’t stare at the sun. It will damage your retina, and may cause blindness.

  • Lady Qila
    Posted at 13:19h, 18 December Reply

    I love your post. It made me laugh. It was the tinfoil hat that made me laugh. I live in a wifi zone which is very handy for devices that need wifi connection. As for blue light…. just look up at the sky? What do you see? BLUE! I have three LED lamps in here and they have never bothered me either. I’m not up to 100% yet. I also have an LED night light that is YELLOW. It’s just a soft yellow glow.. LEDs also come in little color changing RBG lights hat are fun to look at. Florescent light really bother me too especially when they start flickering.

    Posted at 02:30h, 25 December Reply

    Has any one had a detached retina . I am sure LED lighting attributed to this Does anyone else feel that it could have been a cause of theirs too ?

  • Stevew
    Posted at 11:33h, 26 December Reply

    I like LED lights. Helps me see my beer better.

  • Vivek narain
    Posted at 18:37h, 11 January Reply

    Someone says put Kapson tape on the dome to filter the blues.

  • Robert Foudy
    Posted at 04:39h, 14 March Reply

    Thanks for the great laugh!
    I guess everyone is different. I hate any form of flourescent and any form of blue is a no no.
    I find warm white LEDs by far the best.

  • P Hess
    Posted at 09:56h, 15 March Reply

    I’ve been using 5000k led stik lights for over 4 years now. Using 4 bulbs total taking photos of jewelry to sell online and doing art work. Very close proximity to bulbs mostly less then two feet distance. Average of 30 to 40 hours per week. I have to say that I have not had any adverse affects from using these bulbs. I have noticed I feel energized after working around them. Also need to be away from them for at least two hours so I can get to sleep. Some of the people experiencing headaches etc. May have underlying health issues to begin with. So I’ll continue. By the way I’m 62 now with older eyes and still only use 1.25 reading glasses for the last 20 years. So I say it hasn’t affected my sight at all. And yes if it’s too bright go with lesser lumens

  • Luigi
    Posted at 16:59h, 27 March Reply

    Dear P Hess,
    While your anecdotal advice is good news in so far as it pertains to you, there is plenty of credible
    scientific (and anecdotal) evidence to the contrary regarding the effects of LED lighting on structures of the eye, in particular, the retina. LED lights and the lights from phone and LED TV screens give off light intensity that is
    four times (or 400 percent if you prefer) what our eyes are exposed to looking into the sun at full solar maximum (ie. noon where that is applicable).
    This is not due to “underlying” health issues but more a factor of overall lifetime exposure coupled with the nealth of the individual eyeball so exposed which may well be related to nutritional status of the individual.

    I do not think it is helpful for you to discourage people from taking measures to protect their eye health. Not everyone exposed to cigarette smoke develops lung cancer however the percentage is substantially higher we now know conclusively. We have an entire generation that is now growing up staring into screens for a large percentage of their waking time so your viewpoint may put young people at avoidable risk.

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