Blue screen of cell death

Written for Chemistry World by James Tipper

Low intensity blue light from smartphones and televisions kills human retinal cells

Short wavelength blue light produced by low intensity displays such as smartphones and televisions has been identified as being damaging to human eye cells by a group of Korean researchers. The scientists believe that their study could encourage development of devices that are less harmful to our eyes.

Scientists have previously discovered that blue light, especially at shorter wavelengths, can damage cells in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of our eyes. Blue light produces reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as superoxide radicals, in retinal cells. This can lead to cell death. However, previous research has focused on high intensity light, such as that from light emitting diode lamps.

As our lives are increasingly spent staring at phones, laptops and televisions, Young Pyo Jang from Kyung Hee University, Jong Soon Kang from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology and their team have now investigated the effect of low intensity blue light on retinal cells. They found that short wavelength blue light doubles the death rate in human retinal cells compared with cells kept in the dark.


Read the full article in Chemistry World.

Blue light effect on retinal pigment epithelial cells by display devices
Jiyoung Moon, Jieun Yun, Yeo Dae Yoon, Sang-Il Park, Young-Jun Seo, Won-Sang Park, Hye Yong Chu, Keun Hong Park, Myung Yeol Lee, Chang Woo Lee, Soo Jin Oh, Young-Shin Kwak, Young Pyo Jang and Jong Soon Kang

Integr. Biol., 2017, Advance Article

DOI: 10.1039/C7IB00032D

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