Turns Out Cell Phones Really Can Make Us Go Blind

The blue light that comes from phones, tablets, and other devices is literally killing our vision, according to this new research.

By DAVID on August 13, 2018
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“If you keep playing with that, you’ll go blind,” my grandfather always said. I’m talking about cell phones, what did you think I meant? The blue light that comes out of phones and other devices is actually contributing to vision loss.

Ok, so blue light doesn’t only come from cell phones, the sun releases blue light too. Yes I know, the sun looks “yellow,” but for reasons beyond what I can explain here, it’s “blue.” Within our eyes, a lot of chemical reactions happen when various light enters our eyes. One reaction that happens is specific to blue colored light. When blue light enters our eyes, a reaction takes place that kills – actually kills – photoreceptors. Those are the cells in our eyes that “collect” the light, which allows us to see. When they die, they do not come back; they’re gone for good. The loss of those photoreceptors leads to macular degeneration, which is what causes blindness in our 50s and 60s.

Obviously in our connected world, you can see the problem. Children are using tablets and phones even before they can hold pencils and crayons these days. Even us as adults are spending much of our time staring into screens and devices. Not even as recreation – we’re required to by our jobs to use these devices. Some of them have a “blue light filter” in the settings, which helps cut down on some of the blue-ish light. Apple has a “Night Shift” mode. The blue light also prevents natural formation of melatonin in the brain, which is bad for our sleep. There’s some more information over here if you want to read more about blue light.

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