Do LEDs cause blindness?

Do LEDs cause blindness? article tells that According to a study led by Dr. Celia Sánchez-Ramos, of Complutense University in Madrid, prolonged and continuous exposure to LED light might be sufficient to damage the retina. Her study, published in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology in 2012 found that LED radiation caused significant damage to human retinal pigment epithelial cells in vitro.

The basic problem that causes this is that a lot of light from many white LEDs comes from the short wave, high-energy blue and violet end of the visible light spectrum. She indicates that problem would worsen as people live longer and children use electronic devices at a young age. A healthy and varied diet rich in Vitamin A can help the eyes.

Add this new finding to existing Six LED challenges that still remain.

For perspective look also article comments. Let’s not go overboard: exposure to intense light of any kind is capable of damaging your eyes. Sunlight is dangerous. In principle, no one should go outside without sunglasses … but we do it anyway. As far as UV exposure goes, sunlight is first followed by mercury arc lamps, cheap fluorescent lamps, xenon lamps, blue LEDs then white LEDs. Exposure to intense light is dangerous – both UV light which passes through the cornea and IR. Irradiation of the white LED is above 400 nm and is not within the ultraviolet light region. The really short wavelength blues (includes violets, and many of these blues look violet) can cause damage if exposed to too much of it.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Monochromatic Light As a Species-selective Insecticide

    The harmful effects of ultraviolet light have been long known. But now researchers at Tohoku University in Japan claim that visible blue light is also lethal to many insects, possibly even more so than UV, even at reasonable daylight intensities.

    Given the same intensity (3×10^18 photons/sec/m^2), light in the 440-467nm range was far more lethal to fruit flies than light of longer or shorter wavelengths.

    Lethal effects of short-wavelength visible light on insects

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ‘Safe’ screens touted for those who just can’t look away

    As it gets harder to tear our eyes away from smartphones, televisions, tablets or computers, concerns are growing over a blue light emitted by their screens, blamed for harming the retina and causing interrupted sleep.

    Electronics giants are turning crisis into an opportunity—quickly declaring that their latest products feature “safe” screens.
    At the IFA mega consumer electronics show in Berlin, Dutch company Philips is showcasing a new technology for its computer screens called “SoftBlue,” which it claims is gentler on the retina.
    “We are shifting the harmful blue light frequencies, which are below 450 nanometers, to above 460 nanometers,” said Philips’ marketing director Stefan Sommer.
    Other brands like Asus and BenQ, along with American firm ViewSonic, have also seized on “safe” screens as a new selling point.
    It is all scare-mongering or scientific fact? Serge Picaud, a researcher at the Institute of Sight in Paris, has a more measured take on it.
    “We should not be so afraid that we bin all our screens,” he said.
    Picaud carried out a study in 2013 in which he exposed sample retina cells from a pig—similar to those found in humans—to different wavelengths of light, and showed that those between 415 and 455 nanometres killed the cells.

    Read more at:

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    LED lighting suffers bad press in Van Gogh paint-degradation study

    A research study looking at paint degradation caused by illumination has been misinterpreted to throw LEDs into a bad light.

    Museums and art galleries are often touted as excellent applications for high-quality LED lighting, provided that the necessary targets for characteristics such as color rendering can be met. Among the benefits provided by LED lighting, alongside energy savings, is the lack of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) radiation. The absence of IR means that the LED light source does not produce heat, and can be placed close to the piece to be illuminated. Meanwhile, the absence of UV is said to prevent degradation of potentially sensitive materials.

    However, many different materials are used in works of art, and each can respond differently when exposed to different wavelengths of light. In fact, one set of scientific results looking at yellow paints used over a century ago has resulted in some very bad press for LED lighting. But the link between these results and LEDs is tenuous at best.

    For example, The Independent, a daily national newspaper in the UK, published an article entitled “Sunflowers wilt: Van Gogh’s masterpiece is slowly turning brown as a result of exposure to LED lighting.”

    But on closer inspection, it turns out that the scientists didn’t actually use LED lights at all. Instead, they used a high-intensity Xenon lamp (Cermax 175W) in combination with various wavelength filters.

    The link between the results and LED lighting originated with a press release from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, entitled “LED lights may be bad for Van Gogh paintings.”

    Soraa, the California-based LED lamp manufacturer, has looked into this issue and provided further technical analysis. Soraa said it was responding to “erroneous reports of painting degradation by LED lamps” and said that the study had been “loosely and irresponsibly associated with LED lighting.”

    Degradation of the paint samples was observed under intense irradiation, said Soraa, amounting to more than 1000X the values used in conventional illumination, when the “blue” (335-525 nm) filter was used.

    Whatever the reason for the degradation observed in the Van Gogh paintings, it is clear that the people responsible for illuminating art and museum pieces need to be aware of potentially detrimental effects of using certain light sources.


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