In today's highly connected world we are increasingly having blue light beamed into our eyes at all times of day. While a convincing body of research is suggesting blue light from our TVs, computers, smart phones and tablets can significantly disrupt our circadian rhythms, it is less clear how much damage this particular spectrum of light is causing to our eyes. A new study from the University of Toledo has homed in on exactly how blue light can damage our eyes and the researchers recommend avoiding looking at cell phones and tablets in the dark.
"We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye's cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it," says Ajith Karunarathne, one of the researchers on the new study.
Our vision fundamentally relies on a molecule called retinal to sense light, and effectively signal visual information to the brain. Karunarathne explains, "You need a continuous supply of retinal molecules if you want to see. Photoreceptors are useless without retinal, which is produced in the eye." The new study finds that in the presence of blue light, retinal can turn against the body, generating chemicals that destroy photoreceptor cells.