UToledo Chemists Discover How Blue Light Speeds Blindness

UToledo Chemists Discover How Blue Light Speeds Blindness

"It's no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye's retina".

A new study from the University of Toledo reveals that prolonged exposure to blue light triggers poisonous molecules to be generated in the retina's light-sensitive photoreceptor cells. The photoreceptors can not function without the presence of the retinal molecules.

They also noticed that blue light alone or retinal without blue light had no effect on cell.

That's the warning being offered up by researchers from the United States who found that prolonged exposure to blue light can lead to the generation of poisonous molecules in the eye's light-sensitive cells. Dr Ajith Karunarathne, an assistant professor in the university's department of chemistry and biochemistry explained that this blue light is constantly affecting the cornea and the lens that can not block or reflect it. The researchers injected the retinal molecules into other cell types, including cancer cells and heart cells, and found they died off when exposed to blue light.

The researchers focused on a form of Vitamin A called retinal, which photoreceptor cells use to covert light into signals that get sent to the brain. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S., affecting over 11 million Americans. 'Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye.

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"It's toxic. If you shine blue light on retinal, the retinal kills photoreceptor cells as the signaling molecule on the membrane dissolves", study co-author Kasun Ratnayake said.

Futurism noted that scientists already knew that blue light from screens "contributed" to blindness, but they didn't understand the mechanism behind why until now. When irradiated yellow, green or red light this phenomenon does not occur.

Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, an author on the study, said in a press release that not all types of light are unsafe, as "no activity is sparked with green, yellow or red light". But as a person ages or the immune system is suppressed, the patients loses the ability to counteract the harmful combination.

"If you look at the amount of light coming out of your cell phone, it's not great but it seems tolerable", the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said.

For those wanting to protect their eyes from blue light, Dr Karunarathne advises wearing sunglasses that can filter both UV and blue light outside and avoiding browsing on mobile phones or tablets in the dark. Any medicine would appear to help or delay macular degeneration, a condition that sees about 2 million new cases reported per year.