This probably isn’t the most pleasant article to come across on your phone/laptop, but facts are facts: according to a new study, the blue light from your phone can accelerate blindness (and laptops and tablets are similarly culpable). The Guardian reports that prolonged exposure to blue light can advance the process of macular degeneration, as researchers from the University of Toledo discovered. Are you side-eyeing your phone yet?



As the Guardian reports, the University of Toledo study concluded that exposure to blue light “triggers poisonous molecules to be generated in the eye’s light-sensitive cells that can cause macular degeneration — an incurable condition that affects the middle part of vision.” Blue light is particularly damaging, the paper says, because it “has a shorter wavelength and more energy compared with other colours”. Dr Ajith Karunarathne, an assistant chemistry and biochemistry professor and study co-author, said, “We are being exposed to blue light continuously and the eye’s cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it.” He continued, “It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina. Our experiments explain how this happens, and we hope this leads to therapies that slow macular degeneration, such as a new kind of eye drop.”



So what exactly is macular degeneration? It’s a “common condition among those in their 50s and 60s that results in significant vision loss,” the Guardian explains, adding, “It is caused by the death of photoreceptor, ie light-sensitive cells, in the retina.” And just to dash any remaining optimism you may have, PhD student and study contributor Kasun Ratnayake offered the following: “Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they’re dead, they’re dead for good.” Fantastic!