It turns out that while some people claim CFLs (Compact fluorescent lamps) might be better for the environment, they are very bad for your eyes.
The threat from CFLs, as well as other types of UV light, has long been known by eye care professionals. But it has just recently become a topic for the rest of us.
CFLs produce a specific type of UV light called Blue Light, and it is thought to cause many problems including macular degeneration, cataracts and retinal damage.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is a part of the visible light spectrum and a type of UV light that has wavelengths in the 500nm to 381nm range. It is given off by not only CFLs, but also electronic devices like computers and tablets, as well as TVs and iPhones.
Until recently, little research specifically into the effects of Blue Light on the eye existed. Because UV light is given off by many sources, including the sun, it was thought that indoor light posed little harm. But with the advent of electronic devices and the adoption of CFL lighting as the primary sources of lighting in most homes and offices, exposure to Blue Light has spiked considerably in the last decade.
Most people heed the recommendation of their eye doctor and wear sun glasses when outdoors to protect from sun-related UV damage. But how many of us wear protective glasses indoors to protect our eyes from the damaging rays produced by CFLs and electronic devices?
The damage done by indoor Blue Light is just as damaging as outdoor UV from the sun. Possibly even more so since all damage to the eye from UV light is cumulative. Cataracts and macular degeneration were once considered diseases of old age, but now are showing up in younger individuals. Where 20 years ago our exposure to Blue Light was limited, it is now almost constant. Not only do we live in fluorescent lighting, we are continually interacting with electronic devices like iPads and computers, which emit Blue Light as well. All this email checking, watching movies on our iPad and compulsively monitoring our Twitter feed adds up to an increased threat to our eye health.