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29 January 2017

'Global Epidemic of Blindness' on the Horizon, Experts Warn

Staring at digital screens for several hours can cause
irreversible damage to the retinas, potentially leading to
central blindness, a new study claims.
'Global epidemic of blindness' on the horizon, experts warn: Hours spent staring at screens 'will rob millions of their sight decades early'
24 January 2017

  • High energy light from digital screens is damaging our retinas, a new study says
  • Damage to the retinas - the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye - is the biggest cause of central blindness
  • Experts say it is now 'clearer than ever' that we are facing a new global epidemic
  • But using a filter over screens can prevent further damage, researchers claim

Experts warn we face a global epidemic of blindness if we continue to spend hours you spend staring at a screen.

The high energy light emitted from digital screens is causing irreversible damage to our eyes by deteriorating the retinas.

Damage to the retinas - the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye - is the biggest cause of central blindness.

And a new report warns 'it is now clearer than ever that we are facing a global epidemic' of sight loss - particularly for the millions of children who are exposed to digital screens earlier than ever.

Lead researcher Dr Celia Sanchez-Ramos said: 'It is paramount for adults and parents to act now and protect themselves from further damage.'

Currently, there are approximately 900 million devices. Of those, 70 million are used by children in the US without eye protection such as a protective screen or glasses.

The study, conducted at University Complutense of Madrid in Spain, analyzed and compared the results of two previous studies.

The first exposed the retinas of rats to tablet screens emitting white LED light, one group with filters and the other group without filters.

After three months of exposure to white LED light, the rats exposed to tablets without filters experienced approximately a 23 percent increase in retinal cell death, which can lead to a loss of vision.

The rats that were exposed to tablets filtered with Reticare, the only eye protector based on scientific data, experienced no retina cell death.

Additionally, the study showed exposure to LED light from tablet screens favors the expression of genes that promote cell death and the enzymes involved in causing cell death.

These effects are largely reversed by using the appropriate filter on tablet screens.

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