Blue light blinds millions
By the time you read this the new ‘leader of the free world’ will have been elected. Everywhere on radio, TV or internet there is constant talk of the forthcoming American presidential election. The depths to which the protagonists have sunk is truly appalling.
Last night I was researching information about the hazards of blue light. One article that stood out was from a Trump-supporting doctor. The headline read: ‘Clinton blinds 20 million Americans.’ He accused Hillary Clinton of causing Americans to go blind because she had promoted cli- mate control measures including using LED and fluorescent lamps. These emit high levels of blue light, which can be hazardous to the human eye. He argued this blue light was the main cause of macular degeneration which leads to progressive vision loss particularly in the elderly population. He spent many paragraphs attacking Hillary Clinton for personally causing this ‘avoidable catastrophe’ and then offered a solution using a product he was selling for many hundreds of dollars per year.
Do these new lamps cause eye problems? Many of my patients don’t like them. They have difficulty reading due to the low light levels emitted. They complain of headaches and sore eyes which they did not suffer when using old-fashioned tungsten lamps. Yes, they do emit blue light, as do computer screens and smart phones. We should all be using blue light filters in our glasses to protect against possible harm.
Our diet can also help. Eating a diet rich in carotenoids (that’s highly pigmented foods such as carrots, spinach and broccoli) can help. These can provide a degree of natural protection in the retina which helps filter out harmful blue light. Your optometrist can advise you on appropriate protection measures which can reduce the risk of macular degeneration caused by blue light.