Blue light accelerates blindness

Blue light accelerates blindness

A new study has shown how blue light can cause macular degeneration - one of the leading causes of blindness.

The researchers are also investigating the light emitted from televisions as well as smartphones and tablet screens, to better understand how cells in the eyes are affected by everyday blue light exposure. But the blue light by itself had no effect on the cells, neither did retinal that hadn't been exposed to blue light.

As more research is needed, those involved in the study say to avoid looking at screens at night - and that scientists should look into developing an eye drop that could perhaps ward off some of the damage caused by the ubiquity of screens with blue light, WTOL reported.

The research found that exposure to blue light leads to the development of toxic molecules in the photoreceptor cells needs to sense light and trigger signals to the brain that enable us to see.

Scientists have claimed that blue light from smartphones, laptops, tablets and other digital devices damages vision and accelerates blindness. For their study, the researchers chose to target retinal molecules that photoreceptor cells need in order to sense light and send signals to the brain.

"We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye's cornea and lens can not block or reflect it", Dr Karunarathne commented.

Macular degeneration, which affects around 2.4% of the adult population in the United Kingdom, is a common condition among those in their 50s and 60s that results in significant vision loss.

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The cells do not regenerate, so "when they're dead, they're dead for good", Ratnayake added. Because of this, in the cytoplasm, sharply increasing the concentration of calcium, which can eventually lead to cell death. "The retinal-generated toxicity by blue light is universal".

The researchers found that introducing retinal molecules to other cell types in the body, such as cancer cells, heart cells and neurons, caused them to die off when exposed to blue light.

"If you look at the amount of light coming out of your cell phone, it's not great but it seems tolerable", says John Payton, who also worked on the study.

Researchers discovered that a molecule and natural antioxidant called alpha-tocopherol stopped cells from dying but ultimately failed to provide protection to elderly suffers whose immune systems might have been surprised. "It can kill any cell type", said lead author and assistant professor in the UT department of chemistry and biochemistry, Dr. Ajith Karunarathne.

Dr Karunarathne said: "That is when the real damage occurs".

"That is when the real damage occurs", Karunarathne said.The lab now is measuring light coming from television, cell phone and tablet screens to get a better understanding of how the cells in the eyes respond to everyday blue light exposure.

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