Light-induced retinal damage using different light sources, protocols and rat strains reveals LED phototoxicity

Neuroscience. 2016 Dec 17;339:296-307. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.10.015. Epub 2016 Oct 14.


To save energy, the European directives from the Eco-design of Energy Using Products (2005/32/CE) have recommended the replacement of incandescent lamps by more economic devices such as Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). However, the emission spectrum of these devices is enriched in blue radiations, known to be potentially dangerous to the retina. Recent studies showed that light exposure contributes to the onset of early stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Here, we investigate, in albinos and pigmented rats, the effects of different exposure protocols. Twenty-four hours exposure at high luminance was compared to a cyclic (dark/light) exposure at domestic levels for 1week and 1month, using different LEDs (Cold-white, blue and green), as well as fluorocompact bulbs and fluorescent tubes. The data suggest that the blue component of the white-LED may cause retinal toxicity at occupational domestic illuminance and not only in extreme experimental conditions, as previously reported. It is important to note that the current regulations and standards have been established on the basis of acute light exposure and do not take into account the effects of repeated exposure.

Keywords: Light Emitting Diodes; chronic light exposure; phototoxicity; pigmented rats; retina.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Nuclear Translocator
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Electroretinography
  • Equipment Design
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Light / adverse effects*
  • Lighting / adverse effects*
  • Lighting / instrumentation*
  • Photic Stimulation / adverse effects
  • Photic Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Photoperiod
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retina / physiopathology
  • Retina / radiation effects*
  • Retinal Degeneration / etiology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / pathology
  • Retinal Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Skin Pigmentation


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • tgo protein, Drosophila
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Nuclear Translocator