According to new research at Oregon State University, blue wavelength that is produced by common electronics are aging us. Most of us rarely think about the time that we are spending on our phones or our computers/laptops; however, as it turns out that this time in front of the screens is harming us.
According to the research, blue wavelengths is produced by common electronics cause damage to cells in the brain and retinas even if the user is not looking directly at it. The study was based on experiments that were conducted on the Drosophila melanogaster – the common fruit fly. The experiments and the subsequent study were led by Jaga Giebultowicz – a researcher in the OSU College of Science.
The study recorded how flies responded to 12-hour long exposures to blue LED light, much like the prevalent blue wavelength in devices that are similar to tablets and phones. The flies exposed to blue light had shorter lives as opposed to flies that were kept in total darkness or those that were kept in light with the blue wavelengths that were filtered out.
The flies that were exposed to blue light incurred damage to their retinal cells and brain neurons apart from impaired locomotion, as well. The study even had mutant flies that didn’t have eyes. Despite not having eyes, the flies incurred brain damage and locomotion impairments. This implies that the harm done by blue light takes place even without the victim looking at the source.
Giebultowics, who is also a professor of integrative biology, said, ‘The fact that the light was accelerating aging in the flies was very surprising to us at first. We’d measured the expression of some genes in old flies, and found that stress-response, protective genes were expressed if flies were kept in the light. We hypothesized that light was regulating those genes. Then we started asking, what is it in the light that is harmful to them, and we looked at the spectrum of light. It was very clear cut that although light without blue slightly shortened their lifespan, just blue light alone shortened their lifespan very dramatically.’
Giebultowicz further added, ‘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. But this technology, LED lighting, even in most developed countries, has not been used long enough to know its effects across the human lifespan.’
Researchers are suggesting to make use of eyeglasses that have amber lenses and changing the settings on your phones, laptops, and other devices for blocking blue emissions. The study has been published in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease.