Blue Light Can Lead to Macular Degeneration

A new study finds that blue light from laptops, phones and televisions causes damage to our eyes and increases the likelihood of macular degeneration.   This damage is increased when we look at screens in the dark.

macular degeneration


"We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye's cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it," Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, assistant professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said. "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."

We often begin and end our day watching some sort of device, whether it’s a television, computer or phone, increasing our exposure to blue light.  Not surprisingly, this increased exposure affects us in a number of damaging ways. 

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is a progressive disease where photoreceptor cells in the retina die, causing reduced vision and often blindness. Blue light exposure generates damaging molecules in the photoreceptor cells.  The exposure is more likely to cause increased damage when our immune system is compromised, under stress and as we age.

"It's toxic. If you shine blue light on retinal, the retinal kills photoreceptor cells as the signaling molecule on the membrane dissolves," Kasun Ratnayake, a Ph.D. student researcher working in Karunarathne's cellular photo chemistry group, said. "Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they're dead, they're dead for good."

Natural ways to prevent macular degeneration

  • Wear sunglasses that filter UV and blue light whenever you’re outside
  • Don’t read devices in the dark-it magnifies the blue light
  • Limit your device time-take a walk without your phone 
  • Take a yoga class-give your mind, your body and breath a break from the constant barrage of blue light and information  
  • Exercise is key in eye health-the breath filled practice of yoga moves lymph, blood and prana in ways that other forms of exercise can’t duplicate.
  • Vitamin E, zinc and foods high in anti-oxidants can be helpful too.  Think kale, spinach, broccoli, peas and foods that are rich in bright colors.

Better yet, stimulate your brain differently by joining in a community of curious minds.   Yoga teacher training moves you out of the virtual world and into our natural place of creativity and unity.  Wake up your brain, ease your eyes and strengthen your body.  Trainings start in September in Denver, CO and Carmel, Ca.

Read more at:

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

Karen QuinnComment