Originally published April 26 2015
Your iPhone could cause irreversible eye damage and even make you blind, researchers warn
by Amy Goodrich
(NaturalNews) Has our obsession with electronic devices gotten out of hand? No matter where in the world you are, if you take a look around, you'll likely see a vast majority of people glued to the screen of their smartphone or tablet.
Although these electronic gadgets might seem to make our lives easier, gazing at them for hours a day could cause eye damage or even blindness.
Dr. Celia Sanchez-Ramos of Complutense University in Madrid has reported that prolonged, continuous exposure to LED screens could irreversibly damage the retina of your eye, which might lead to macular degeneration and blindness over time. The culprit is intense levels of "blue light."
According to Dr Sanchez-Ramos, LED screens produced from 2007 onwards emit up to five times more blue light than older versions did.
"Never before in human history have we exposed our eyes to light that is so intense, for such long periods, from such an early age," she says.
She is warning people to be more mindful of the dangers of using smartphones and other electronic devices.
"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, instead of paper," Sanchez-Ramos said. "Eyes are not designed to look directly at light -- they are designed to see with light."
Her comments are partly based on a study she co-authored that was published in 2012 in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology. This study looked at the effect of LED radiation on human retinal pigment epithelial cells in vitro.
Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, clinical adviser at the College of Optometrists, says: "It has been proven that intense exposure to blue light kills cells in the retina, and it is a perfectly reasonable possibility that it can cause macular degeneration over a period of time."
He added: "More research is needed to prove it to the scientific standard. We need to conduct studies on a large number of people over a long period of time."
According to Sanchez-Ramos, people have their eyes open for about 6,000 hours per year, and they are exposed to artificial light for the majority of that time. The average adult spends around 8.5 hours in front of a screen every day.
In later experiments on retinal cells taken from volunteers, Dr. Sanchez-Ramos discovered that intense blue light caused cells to die. When she added a special protective filter, she was able to reduce the effect by an astonishing 83 percent.
With computer, TV, and phone screens as well as light bulbs changing to LED technology in an attempt to cut our carbon footprint and electricity bills, some experts say that it is about time that we have built-in filters in our screens and bulbs to block blue rays, just as sunglasses block the sun's UV rays.
Due to Dr. Sanchez-Ramos' research, some schools in Spain have already made protective screens mandatory, and her team is trying to convince major players like Apple and Samsung to make their screens eye-friendly as well.
It is difficult to say whether this will happen without pressure from the government, especially given the current war between various screen makers to come up with the brightest screen possible. Brighter screens with more vivid colors are commercially more attractive and tend to sell better.
Fortunately, you don't have to count on big corporations to protect your eyes. Special blue-light filters or glasses are already available on the market at a reasonable price.
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