Can Blue Light From Smartphones And Laptops Make You Blind?

The rise of touchscreen devices comes with growing health concerns. People have been asking about the potential impact of long-term use of technologies like smartphones, tablets and laptops, particularly how they damage the eyes and brain. 

Some people link the blue light from such devices to eye problems, such as blindness. But to those asking if the same light from your phones or other mobile devices could really damage your eyes, the answer is no. 

It is true that blue light could cause damage but only when various cells in the body become overexposed. Electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, LCD TVs and laptops emit blue light at amounts not harmful to the retina or any other part of the eye, according to David Ramsey, a retinal disease specialist and director of Ophthalmic Research at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center.

“This blue light is unlikely to pose a physical hazard to the retina,” he said in an article posted by Harvard Medical School. “Consumer electronics are not harmful to the retina because of the amount of light emitted. Industry sources of blue light are purposely filtered or shielded to protect users.” 

Ramsey said there is no evidence supporting the use of blue light-blocking lenses to protect the health of the retina. He said some manufacturers have been fined for misleading claims about such types of lenses.

The devices that could emit high-intensity blue light include military grade flashlights and other handheld lights. Looking directly at these high-power consumer products could be potentially hazardous to the eye. 

But Ramsey warned that despite being harmless, mobile devices could still affect your health. Exposure to artificial light alone could change the circadian clock or the internal body clock, which then disrupts sleep and other cycles in the body. 

“Blue light from electronic devices is not going to increase the risk of macular degeneration or harm any other part of the eye,” the expert said. “However, the use of these devices may disrupt sleep or disturb other aspects of your health or circadian rhythm.”