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What is the blue light from our screens really doing to our eyes?

What is the blue light from our screens really doing to our eyes Tech News and Analysis


The latest research, in fact, overwhelmingly suggests that delayed production of melatonin due to blue light exposure at night is causing far more problems than insomnia, from diabetes and certain types of cancer to lupus and migraine headaches. Optometrists are even seeing high levels of retinal stress in young people that could lead to the early onset of macular degeneration, which in extreme cases can cause near blindness.

For those who like to read the scientific literature directly, here’s a quick tour of some of the latest findings, and a search on blue light and melatonin via the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s PubMed search tool can yield larger results:

  • Room light not only suppresses melatonin production, but it could also impact sleep, thermoregulation, blood pressure and glucose homeostasis
  • Blue light is considered a “carcinogenic pollution” that in mice correlates with higher cancer rates
  • A lack of melatonin is linked to higher rates of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers, while blocking those blue rays with amber glasses is linked to lower cancer rates
  • Exposure to blue light in people appears to have an impact on mood
  • Lower melatonin in mice is linked with higher rates of depression
  • Too much light exposure can cause retinal toxicity
  • Blue light exposure may be playing a role in the higher incidence of cataracts and macular degeneration seen today

Stashed in: #health, iPad!, iPhone!, Science!, Light, Awesome, History of Tech!, Medicine, Diabetes, Eyes, We Are Doomed, @om, Depression, Health Studies, Cancer, uh oh, Mental Health, Blue Light

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So... we need to invent a different color of light for our screens?

just install f.lux... I've used it for a couple years now... works pretty well

Neat! Jason, thanks for this.

I don't want to jailbreak my phone but hopefully this will be incorporated by iOS someday.

So it's only the blue light in the evening and night time that is messing people up, right?

Because I think I remember that the world outside (which admittedly, I don't see enough of) is basically flooded with blue light during the daytime -- in fact, all that S.A.D. research was telling us we needed more of it, especially in the morning.  It sounds much more like a scheduling problem than a tech problem, right now.

Yes, it's blue light at night that messes people up.

And you're right that it's a scheduling problem, though some peoples' body clocks are off, too.

it's 12:35am.  i guess i need to get off the computer now!

A gentle reminder that iPads, iPhones, and Androids are bad for sleep:

Here's an unfun video that says similar things:

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