Blue Lights, LED Bulbs, and Our Eyes

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Great lighting ensures that we can see all we need to while going about our day-to-day lives. But what if the lights we rely on are causing more harm than good? With all the talk about the effects of blue light from screens on our eyes, it begs the questions: what are the best kinds of lights for our eyes, and are LED bulbs safe?

It’s well known that blue light rays given off from screens such as televisions, cell phones, and computers can be harmful to your eyes. According to the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, exposure to intense and powerful light is photo-toxic. Some harmful effects include retinal damage, macular degeneration, cataracts, and impaired vision.

But what about LED light bulbs? Do they give off blue light rays?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (PDF), “light at any given wavelength is the same regardless of what it was emitted from … there is no physical difference in the stimulus, or the resulting visual and nonvisual effects whether the light is from an LED lamp, incandescent lamp, CFL, or any other source … Most sources emit light over a range of wavelengths—including blue.”

To put it simply, yes, LED bulbs do emit blue light rays, but no more than other light bulbs. LED bulbs are one of the better choices for your home and eyes because they emit fewer rays than other lighting options, give off 10 times less than natural sunlight, and do not emit UV or infrared rays.

How to decrease Blue Light Exposure

When it comes to LED bulbs, whiter or “colder” lights give off more blue light than warmer LED lighting. This means opting for a warm-toned LED bulb can reduce your exposure to blue light.

The Vision Sensory Integration Institute recommends holding your devices at a slight angle, wear blue light blocking glasses while using your devices, and adjust the settings on your devices. Some other things you can do to decrease your exposure to blue light rays are: limit your use of screens, hold your devices as far away as you comfortably can, avoid watching TV in a dark room (or incorporate ambient lighting behind the television to reduce muscle strain), wear UV blocking sunglasses while outside, and of course, get regular eye exams.

All in all, the biggest concern you should have when it comes to blue light rays affecting your eyes is with the screens you stare at every day, not the light bulbs you don’t stare at directly.