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Can LED Screen Use Increase Risk of Macular Degeneration?

Many of us spend a considerable amount of time staring at LED screens, whether it’s a computer screen at work, a tablet, or our smartphones. In a recent article, TechCrunch reported that, on average, adults spend up to five hours per day on mobile devices alone! At Riverside EyeCare Professionals, our ophthalmologists are concerned about the negative effects that excessive screen time can have on the eyes, especially when LED screens are held close for long periods of time.

About Blue-Violet Light

In addition to contributing to eye fatigue, blue-violet light emitted by LED screens can damage the eyes. On the visible light spectrum, blue-violet light is the highest energy wavelength and cannot be filtered out by the eye. This means that blue-violet light can penetrate all the way to the back of the eye, where it can cause both irritation and irreversible damage to the retina.

Effects of Blue-Violet Light on the Eyes

According to studies that have examined the effects of blue-violet light on the eyes, ocular health can be compromised both short-term and long-term. Accumulating hours in front of an LED screen on a given day may lead to dry eyes and headaches, and it has been proven that blue light exposure at night can interrupt sleep patterns. While these short-term side effects may be bothersome, they can typically be controlled by limiting screen time or wearing protective lenses that filter blue light.

The long-term effects of blue-violet light are cumulative over one’s lifetime, and the more exposure the retinas have had, the more prone they are to damage. It can therefore be assumed that extensive blue-violet light from an LED screen could potentially hasten the onset of age-related macular degeneration. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF), recent studies have shown that blue-violet light, along with other risk factors, can increase the likelihood of retinal damage and development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Preventing Age-Related Macular Degeneration

AMD is the most common cause of serious vision impairment and blindness in individuals over the age of 50, and it is important that patients are aware of the risk factors. In addition to limiting blue-violet light from LED screens, we also encourage our patients to shield the eyes from sun exposure, quit smoking, and manage dangerous health conditions such as obesity, high-cholesterol, and high-blood pressure.

If you are concerned about age-related macular degeneration and want to learn more about how to protect your eyes, we invite you to contact Riverside EyeCare Professionals to schedule an exam with one of our skilled ophthalmologists.