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Making Light of It

Today’s Ingredient of the Month focuses on light and specifically the blue/white light that is wavelength 483 nanometers; just before the UV (ultra violet) range.

light waves

Several disturbing reports have come out in the past year about old 483 including one from the University of Toledo illustrating the mechanism of retinal eye damage from bright blue/white LEDs.  Here scientists clearly proved that blue/white light in the presence of retinal (a natural chemical produced by and present in the eye) caused physical and permanent changes to the structure of specific sensors in the back of the eye. (1)

Even more disturbing is this 2018 study on pigmented mice. Here is an excerpt:

“Exposure to (continuous) blue LED light for 3 days induced retinal damage … induced white spots on the retina, and … this led to a secondary degeneration of the photoreceptors. Exposure of pigmented mice to 3 consecutive days of blue LED light will cause RPE (retinal) and photoreceptor damage. The damage led to an accumulation of macrophages (scavenger bacteria often found near infections) and drusen (yellow or white deposits) … around the outer segments of the photoreceptors …..”(2)

Blue/white light is a natural part of sunlight and we evolved to live with it. The exciting thing here is that we now know which exact wavelength is responsible for the truth every child on the planet knows, “Don’t stare at the sun or you will (risk) going blind”.

blue light

Counter strong blue/white light exposure by wearing blue wavelength blocking sunglasses (yellow lenses are one way). Read the tag on the glasses, the brochure or the online brand website to find out for sure. This becomes more important with increased exposure. You can also filter your screens with plastic light filtering schemes or by keeping your blue light filter on all the time on your hand held. Change out bright white LEDs for “softer, cooler” yellower spectrum lighting.

This last suggestion was especially tough for me as I LIKE a bright white light so I can see what the heck I am doing! However I did unscrew 4 out of 6 of the LED bright white bulbs in my office and got a special screen for my work computer. I keep the blue blocker on my phone turned permanently “on” and turn down the brightness on the LED screen of the “entertainment center”. Lastly I changed out my (very) cheap sunglasses for $35 amber colored blue wave blocking sunglasses and kind of like the new look.

Light, like water is completely natural. And like water too much of it may be harmful to your health. Trust me, staying healthy should NOT be painful.

This is the Soapman reminding you that whatever you are not paying attention to is probably going downhill. Or like soap, down the drain. Scientists call that entropy but we will save that one for another month. Have a blessed day.

(1) Ratnayake, K et al (2018) Blue light excited retinal intercepts cellular signaling. Scientific Reports 8:10207 DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-28254-8

(2) Exposure to excessive blue LED light damages retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptors of pigmented mice. Nakamura M, Yako T, Kuse Y, Inoue Y, Nishinaka A, Nakamura S, Shimazawa M, Hara H. Exp Eye Res. 2018 Dec;177:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2018.07.022. Epub 2018 Jul 21.

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