Blue Light Exposure: Ocular Hazards and Prevention-A Narrative Review
Audrey Cougnard-Gregoire 1 2 , Bénédicte M J Merle 3 , Tariq Aslam 4 5 , Johanna M Seddon 6 , Isabelle Aknin 7 , Caroline C W Klaver 8 9 10 11 , Gerhard Garhöfer 12 , Alfredo Garcia Layana 13 14 15 16 , Angelo Maria Minnella 17 18 , Rufino Silva 19 20 21 22 , Cécile Delcourt 3
Introduction: Exposure to blue light has seriously increased in our environment since the arrival of light emitting diodes (LEDs) and, in recent years, the proliferation of digital devices rich in blue light. This raises some questions about its potential deleterious effects on eye health. The aim of this narrative review is to provide an update on the ocular effects of blue light and to discuss the efficiency of methods of protection and prevention against potential blue light-induced ocular injury.
Methods: The search of relevant English articles was conducted in PubMed, Medline, and Google Scholar databases until December 2022.
Results: Blue light exposure provokes photochemical reactions in most eye tissues, in particular the cornea, the lens, and the retina. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that certain exposures to blue light (depending on the wavelength or intensity) can cause temporary or permanent damage to some structures of the eye, especially the retina. However, currently, there is no evidence that screen use and LEDs in normal use are deleterious to the human retina. Regarding protection, there is currently no evidence of a beneficial effect of blue blocking lenses for the prevention of eye diseases, in particular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In humans, macular pigments (composed of lutein and zeaxanthin) represent a natural protection by filtering blue light, and can be increased through increased intake from foods or food supplements. These nutrients are associated with lower risk for AMD and cataract. Antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, or zinc might also contribute to the prevention of photochemical ocular damage by preventing oxidative stress.
Conclusion: Currently, there is no evidence that LEDs in normal use at domestic intensity levels or in screen devices are retinotoxic to the human eye. However, the potential toxicity of long-term cumulative exposure and the dose-response effect are currently unknown.