I did a bit of reading today about the pros and cons of Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb (CFL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED). As most of you, starting on January 1st this year almost all incandescent light bulbs were “phased out” of manufacturing and replaced with, for the most part, CFL and LED light bulbs.
Because polar bears are losing their environments to global warming or some such.
Here’s a little something that I never saw mentioned in any of these articles, in fact it’s something I just learned myself.
My day job is in a little optometry office (optometrists are “eye doctors”) and the optometrist was participating in some online continuing education classes the other day, which gave her some enlightening information about CFLs and LEDs.*
They are more damaging to our eyes than incandescent eyes ever were.
Both CFL and LED bulbs emit energy spikes in the “blue light” spectrum (between 400 and 480nm) at a much higher rate than incandescent bulbs do.
Why is this bad for the eyes?
Long term exposure to blue light has a rather nasty effect on your retina and may be causing us to develop Macular Degeneration at a younger age.
There is a growing body of evidence that cumulative lifetime exposure to blue wavelength light increases the risk of AMD. Developmentally, by early childhood, the cornea and crystalline lens of the eye effectively block ultraviolet light from reaching the retina. However visible light, which includes blue wavelength light, is transmitted to the retina and macula. The Beaver Dam Eye Study found that subjects in their teens through thirties, when exposed to an additional 3 hours of sunlight per day (over a normal exposure rate of 2 hours) advanced the onset of AMD in their lives by 10 years, effectively doubling the likelihood of becoming blind during a lifetime.
Incandescent light bulbs are being legislated away to conserve energy − the “greening” of America. This would be OK if replacement light sources were green, as in green wavelength light. However, fluorescent, CFL, and LED bulbs, while energy efficient, have a high blue-spectral emission. If you are reading this online, you are getting a large dose of blue light as LCD computer screens are backlit by fluorescent bulbs. So efforts to reduce our carbon footprint may have the unintended consequence of potentiating AMD.
– The AMD epidemic (Dr. Gary Morgan)
What is AMD or “macular degeneration” you ask?
It’s hard to explain, but here’s an optometrist’s description:
In a healthy eye light hits the retina and creates a photo chemical reaction which causes an electric impulse that goes to the brain to create vision. Byproducts of that impulse get discharged and usually that discharge is dealt with and treated as waste in a healthy eye, but in an eye with macular degeneration the byproducts build up and cause the retina to split and crack so that it can no longer function.
Confusing? Well neither you nor I went to optometry school. Maybe a visual will help you understand what AMD does to your vision.
Basically it destroys your central vision.
Not the way you want to be looking at your grandchildren…or your own children for that matter.
We have career politicians and lawyers and EPA wonks making up regulations like this and they should not be. They have no idea what sort of medical and health repercussions these decision will cause. Not a single one of these politicians (besides Rand Paul, who is an ophthalmologist) know anything about eye care or the medical effects of what they are regulating.
Good job congress, you put the country on a fast track to blindness because you wanted to save the polar bears or stop the ice caps from melting or something like that.
Personally I care a lot more about the health of my eyes than I do about the polar ice caps.
Forget the mercury in CFLs, forget the expense, this is the real reason we should not want to use CFLs or LEDs more than we already do. I have to keep using my laptop for work, but can I please please please keep my light bulbs from slowly blinding me?
LEDs are also what is in your iPad and Smart phone and TV screen generally.
So please, don’t even get me started on these things.
It’s like you don’t even want your kid to have central vision by the time they’re 10.