Are indoor LED lights bad for your eyes?

LED mythbusting with the Lumen Masters!

LED lights have quickly become a standard lighting method for both businesses and homes. They’re everywhere. In fact, in 2020 the LED lighting market was valued at USD 76 billion, and it is expected to reach  160 billion by 2026. 

That said, LED lights stand among the most prominent and simple lighting solutions available. An LED light consumer saves money on energy bills, protects the environment, and replaces light bulbs less frequently. Seems like a no-brainer, right?

However, some consumers have questions about the health impacts of LEDs. For example, some frequently asked question are—are LED lights safe for your eyes? How do they affect our sleep? Are they truly the best alternative to fluorescents and incandescents?

Here, our Lumen Masters dive in to the pros and cons of LEDs, and take a look at how they affect our eyes and our health.

Why LED?

First, let’s examine why LED lights are so popular.

Light-emitting diodes (LED) use shortwave light. The color of a LED light appears as a “cool” white color, in comparison to the “warm” yellowish color of traditional bulbs. In addition, LED lights are made with diodes rather than filaments. These lights can last 8-10 times longer than an average fluorescent light bulb.

LED lights are also extremely eco-friendly. Due to their composition, LED lights use 90% less energy daily, having a substantial positive effect on the total energy consumption of the entire planet.

Finally, LED lights are extremely versatile as well. They aren’t solely for ceilings or lamps. LED lights have wide applications and can be used throughout your home for lighting your kitchen, bar, patio, or really, whatever you want. In addition, LED lights can produce any light on the color spectrum from the deepest colors to the brightest ones.

Are LEDs safe?

LEDs have a “cool” white color by default. This is mainly used for lighting ambiance since it mimics closely the daylight effect. This is made possible from the usage of blue light by the LEDs; which is where the concerns arise. Are LEDs safe for your eyes? The short answer is yes, but keep on reading to have some supporting arguments. 

Is LED lighting bad for your eyes?

The retina is a part of the eye that changes light into impulses that become the images we see. This part of the eye can be deeply affected by light sources. For instance, staring into the sun for too long has negative effects. Similarly, there are concerns, that exposure to LED lighting might cause eye problems. However, this is not a concern for the average user. You’d have to be exposed to extremely high levels of LED light to potentially be in danger of eye disease. The average LED bulbs uses the same amount of blue light that our smartphones, computers, and tablets use. If you’re fine with using electronics, then your light bulbs should be perfectly fine as well. 

Does LED lighting disrupt your sleep?

It has been shown that our eyes react to the blue light, telling our circadian rhythm to “stay awake”. Similar to the sunlight, blue light signals our brain that it’s time to get going.

This means that using LED excessively, especially at nighttime can cause eye strain and influence your sleep. However, blue light is not new. As mentioned, it has been present in smartphones, computers, and tablets since the beginning. It is widely accepted that staying up late watching TV and browsing social media leads to difficulties sleeping. Therefore, making an effort to shut all electronics and lights before going to bed goes a long way toward your sleep quality (and eye health!). 

What if I have a medical condition?

People have speculated that LEDs can cause trouble for people with medical conditions, such as migraines and seizures. This comes from the fact that most LED lights produce a very faint, barely detectable flicker.

However, the flicker detected by LEDs is very fast—making it practically impossible to notice. The chances of this flicker bothering anyone are slim to none. 

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