High intensity blue light is bad for your eyes

By: Erico Perez, M.D., Marrikka Perez, M.D.
For Perez Optical Cubao Patients
High intensity blue light is bad for your eyes.

If there is one sentence that you have to take to heart from this article, it is the above. Visible light is only a part of the wide electromagnetic spectrum. The visible light spectrum ranges from 700 nm to 400nm corresponding to the colors seen in the rainbow represented by the letters ROY G BIV. Parts of the electromagnetic spectrum with longer wavelengths (longer than the color Red) are infrared light, microwaves, radar and radio waves. That part of the spectrum with shorter wavelengths (and thus higher in frequency; shorter in wavelength than that of the color blue and violet) are Ultraviolet light, X rays and Gamma rays. There has been a number of research stating that Ultraviolet (UV) and the part of the visible spectrum of light near UV (the blue, indigo and violet end to be precise) are detrimental to the retina of the eye. The retina is a thin layer of tissue in the back of the eyeball which receives light and, with the help of the photosensitive cells in it, converts it into signals that are sent to the brain. The most sensitive part of the retina where the most acute vision is processed is called the macula. In short, the exacerbation of Macular degeneration, cataracts and other diseases that cause blindness can result from excessive exposure to high frequency, short wavelength lights like UV and blue lights.

Sources of these high intensity UV/blue light are, to name a few, artificial light labeled as “full spectrum” and “daylight”, blue tinged headlights and similar lights, the light from welding sites and sunlight.

Those in particular danger when exposed to these lights are those who already have Macular degeneration, those who are aging, those prone to similar eye problems, those with problems like diabetes which may lead to retinal damage, and those whose jobs will continually expose them to damaging light. These days, you often see cars on the road with blue light either on their headlights or inside the cab. The people who pass them on the road probably will not be affected by the brief interaction but the drivers are constantly being exposed to the light either directly or indirectly as the light is reflected from other cars or objects as they drive. People who are often in front of the Computer monitor with their screens on bright while using blue colored wallpaper and without any filters or UV protective eyewear are also prone to damaging their eyes. Those watching TV for long periods on full brightness and in close distance may also be affected. Those who sunbathe, those who go to tanning salons and those who work under the sun without using proper eye protection are in danger.

Note that healthy eyes have retinas that have a wide array of built-in chemical defenses against UV-blue light damage. These are the xanthophyll, melanin, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and the the more familiar agents vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Unfortunately, these defenses can weaken with disease, injury, neglect, and age.

People can further protect their eyes through the following:

  1. Avoid exposure to High intensity blue light and Ultraviolet light.
  2. Use protective lenses, contacts or filters. Specifically, UV protective eye protection should be chosen. There are UV protective eyeglass lenses as well as Contact lenses that offer protection. Sunglasses with extra UV protection when outdoors are advisable. Monitor filters are available from most computer stores.
  3. Take sufficient vitamins (in your diet or via supplements) that benefit the eyes like Vitamin E, Vitamin C. Note that there is such a thing as an overdose of vitamins.
  4. When in front of the Computer monitor or Television set, adjust the brightness to the lowest comfortable setting. The contrast for monitors and the picture settings in TVs can help despite a low brightness setting. Try to avoid the use of blue colored backgrounds. Try to put some distance between the eyes and the light source. When watching TV, sit at a distance of 5x the width of the screen.
  5. Replace Blue light headlights and cabin lamps with regular headlights and lamps.
  6. Replace “daylight” or full-spectrum lights with lights that are not as bright. Find a light that is sufficient enough to see and work with. Full spectrum lights are those with CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) of 5000K or higher and a CRI (Color Rendering Index) of 90 or higher or basically those lights bright enough to try to imitate daylight. Choose “warmer” lights like the red and yellow hues of candlelight and avoid the “cooler” lights that imitate a clear blue sky.




Bergmanson, J. P. (1993). Ultraviolet radiation damage to the corneal endothelium? Ophthalmology, 100(4), 442-443.

Bradnam, M.S., Montgomery, D. M., Moseley, H., & Dutton, G. N. (1995). Quantitative assessment of the blue-light hazard during indirect ophthalmoscopy and the increase in the Asafe@ operating period achieved using a yellow lens. Opthamology, 102(5), 799-804.

Chen, E. (1993). Inhibition of cytochrome oxidase and blue-light damage in rat retina. Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, 231(7), 416-423.

Chou, B. R. (n.d.). Ocular health and the atmospheric environment. Ontario, Canada: University of Waterloo, School of Optometry.

Creech, L. L., & Mayer, J. A. (1997). Ultraviolet radiation exposure in children: a review of measurement strategies. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 19(4), 399-407.

Diddie, K. R. (1994). Do sunglasses protect the retina from light damage? The Western Journal of Medicine, 161(6), 594.

Fedorovich, I. B., Zak, P. P., & Ostrovskii, M. A. (1994). Enhanced transmission of UV light by human eye lens in early childhood and age-related yellowing of the lens. Doklady Biological Sciences, 336(1), 204-206.

Gorgels, T. G., & van Norren, D. (1995). Ultraviolet and green light cause different types of damage in rat retina. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 36(5), 851-863.

Hall-Lueck, A. (1986, May). Facts and fads: what works and what doesn’t. Paper presented at the National Forum on Critical Issues in Infant and Preschool Education of Blind and Visually Impaired Children, American Foundation for the Blind.

Ham, W. T., Jr. (1983). Ocular hazards of light sources: review of current knowledge. Journal of Occupational Medicine, 25(2), 101-103.

Ham, W. T., Jr., Ruffolo, J. J., Jr., Mueller, H. A., & Guerry, D., III. (1980). The nature of retinal radiation damage: dependence on wavelength, power level and exposure time; the quantitative dimensions of intense light damage as obtained from animal studies, Section II. Applied Research, 20, 1005-1111.

Hao, W., & Fong, H. K. (1996). Blue and ultraviolet light-absorbing opsin from the retinal pigment epithelium. Biochemistry, 35, 6251-6256.

Hightower, K. R. (1995). The role of the lens epithelium in development of UV cataract. Current Eye Research, 14, 71-78.

Knowlton, M. (1986). Ultraviolet light: some considerations for vision stimulation. Education of the Visually Handicapped, 17(4), 147-153.

Organisciak, D. T., Darrow, R. M., Barsalou, L., Darrow, R. A., Kutty, R. K., Kutty, G., & Wiggert, B. (1998). Light history and age-related changes in retinal light damage. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 39(7), 1107-1116.

Pautler, E. L., Morita, M., & Beezley, D. (1989). Reversible and irreversible blue light damage to the isolated, mammalian pigment epithelium. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Retinal Degeneration (pp. 555-567). New York: Liss.

Poland, D. J., & Doebler, L. K. (1980). Effects of a blacklight visual field on eye-contact training of spastic cerebral palsied children. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 51, 335-338.

Potenski, D. H. (1983). Use of black light in training retarded, multiply handicapped, deaf-blind children. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 77(7). 347-348.

Roberts, Dan. Artificial Lighting and the Blue Light Hazard. http://mdsupport.org

Quinn, N. (n.d.). Resume and research into the effects of video display terminals use and office environmental lighting. Miami, FL: Brain Power International LTD.

Rapp, L. M. & Smith, S. C. (1992). Morphologic comparisons between rhodopsin-mediated and short-wavelength classes of retinal light damage. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 33, 3367-3377.

Rozanowska, M., Wessels, J., Boulton, M., Burke, J. M., Rodgers, M. A., Truscott, T. G., & Sarna, T. (1998). Blue light-induced singlet oxygen generation by retinal lipofuscin in non-polar media. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 24, 1107-1112.

Sliney, D. H. (1983). Biohazards of ultraviolet, visible and infrared radiation. Journal of Occupational Medicine, 25(3), 203-206.

Sperling, H. G. (n.d.). Position paper for workshop on long-term visual health risks of optical radiation. Houston: University of Texas, Health Science Center.

Sperling, H. G., Johnson, C., & Harwerth, R. S. (1980). Differential spectral photic damage to primate cones. Vision Research, 20, 1117-1125.

Taylor, H. R., West, S. K., Rosenthal, F. S., Munoz, B., Newland, H. S., Abbey, H., & Emmett, E. A. (1998). Effect of ultraviolet radiation on cataract formation. The New England Journal of Medicine, 319(22), 1429-1433.

Tezel, T. H., & Kaplan, H. J. (1998). Harvest and storage of adult human photoreceptor cells: the vibratome compared to the excimer laser. Current Eye Research, 17, 748-756.

Van der Leun, J. C., & Gruijl, F. R. (1993). Influences of ozone depletion on human and animal health. In M. Tevini (Ed.), UV-B Radiation and Ozone Depletion: Effects on Humans, Animals, Plants, Microorganisms, and Materials. (pp. 95-123). Boca Raton, LA: Lewis.

Weisskopf, M. (1991, November 16). Ultraviolet radiation found to affect immune system. The Washington Post, p. AO3.

Wright, S. (1987). A response to AUltraviolet light: some considerations for vision stimulation. Education of the Visually Handicapped, 19(1), 71-75.

Wu J, Seregard S, Spangberg B, Oskarsson M, Chen E.. Blue light induced apoptosis in rat retina. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Yegorova, E. V., Babizhayev, M. A., Ivanina, T. A., Zuyeva, M. V., & Ioshin, I. E. (1988). Spectral characteristics of intraocluar lenses and damage to the retina by visible light. Biophysics, 33(6), 1108-1114.

Zillis, J. D., & Machemer, R. (1991). American Journal of Ophthalmology, 111(1), 47-50.

PerezOptical.com begins

perez optical cubao
beside gateway mall

In June 18, 1988, PerezOptical.com was activated. The first optical to have a website in the Philippines went online. Since then there has been a lot of server changes, design changes, until its current form this April 24, 2015. The total visitors since it was made is