Blue light from your phone may harm you more when you get older

Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

Scientists from Oregon State University found that the damaging effects of daily, lifelong exposure to the blue light emanating from phones, computers, and household fixtures worsen as a person ages.

The research is published in npj Aging and was conducted by Jaga Giebultowicz et al.

In the study, the team examined the survival rate of flies kept in darkness and then moved at progressively older ages to an environment of constant blue light from light-emitting diodes or LEDs.

The darkness-to-light transitions occurred at the ages of two, 20, 40, and 60 days, and the study involved blue light’s effect on the mitochondria of the flies’ cells.

Mitochondria act as a cell’s power plant, generating adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, a source of chemical energy.

In earlier research, the team showed that prolonged exposure to blue light affected flies’ longevity, regardless of whether it shined in their eyes.

Now the new study found that chronic exposure to blue light can impair energy-producing pathways even in cells that are not specialized in sensing light.

The team found that specific reactions in mitochondria were dramatically reduced by blue light, while other reactions were decreased by age independent of blue light.

This suggests blue light exposure adds insult to injury in aging flies.

The scientists note that natural light is crucial for a person’s circadian rhythm—the 24-hour cycle of physiological processes such as brain wave activity, hormone production, and cell regeneration that are important factors in eating and sleeping patterns.

But there is evidence suggesting that increased exposure to artificial light is a risk factor for sleep disorders.

And with the prevalent use of LED lighting and device displays, humans are subjected to increasing amounts of light in the blue spectrum since commonly used LEDs emit a high fraction of blue light.

The team says while the full effects of blue light exposure across the lifespan are not yet known in humans, accelerated aging observed in short-lived model organisms should alert us to the potential of cellular damage by this stressor.

If you care about eye health, please read studies about 5 dangerous signs you have a diabetes-related eye disease, and how to save your eyes from diabetes.

For more information about eye health, please see recent studies about the best foods for your eye health and eyesight, and results showing how to treat dry eye disease with diet.

Copyright © 2022 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.