New study issues stark warning to people using their smartphones: They're making you blind

We all love our phones and are too attached to it but little do people know they are slowly become the reason for a weak eyesight.


                            New study issues stark warning to people using their smartphones: They're making you blind

Our day begins and ends with our phones in our hand. Before we know it, phones have unknowingly become a huge part of our life. However, a new study claims that phones might be ruining our eyesight. A research which was done by the University of Toledo, in Ohio, found that exposure to blue light, the light which is emitted from most smartphones, tablets, and laptops, promotes the growth of “poisonous molecules” in eyes which lead to macular degeneration.

“It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina,” professor and study co-author Ajith Karunarathne said. His team noted that the blue lights from these gadgets are extremely harmful to the eyes because, unlike other types of light, the eye’s cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it.

Phones could cause blindness (Pexels)
Phones could cause blindness (Pexels)

As reported by New York Post, since these lights cannot be blocked, they have a straight shot to the eye’s photoreceptors, which are light-sensitive cells in the retina. If one overburdens these cells, it can cause them to produce a toxic chemical, causing macular degeneration and even loss of vision. However, Dr Christopher Starr, an ophthalmologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, says that these tests offer “no causal link” between macular degeneration and blue lights yet because they were not performed on human eyes. 

“To make a statement or conclusion that blue lights from our phones and computers are going to cause macular degeneration is patently false and should not raise worldwide concerns about digital devices," he noted. He believes that this study cannot be the reason for the Academy of Ophthalmology to update their screen-time recommendations. 

One can use glasses to stop the blue light from affecting the eyes (Pexels)
One can use glasses to stop the blue light from affecting the eyes (Pexels)

"The sun… certainly has a much higher level of [blue light] than one gets from their digital devices," he said. Despite this, even the speculation is alarming for the researchers. Kasun Ratnayake, a PhD student who worked on the study said, "Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they’re dead, they’re dead for good.”

Macular degeneration is believed to be one of the leading causes of blindness in the US. Around 200,000 cases are reported every year and even though they cannot be cured,  it can be treated with glasses, medications or laser surgery. Ajith hopes that with the help of the research which is done by him and his team, scientists can look into developing an eye drop to shield eyes against the blue light.

While it may take a long time for scientists to develop an eyedrop like that, the research does recommend some of the preventive methods that one can take. One can wear sunglasses that filter UV and blue light, and avoiding reading mobile devices in the dark, which causes additional strain on delicate photoreceptors. At the same time, giving eyes some rest could also prove to be beneficial.