A review of the current state of research on artificial blue light safety as it applies to digital devices

Heliyon. 2022 Aug 15;8(8):e10282. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e10282. eCollection 2022 Aug.

Abstract

Light is necessary for human health and well-being. As we spend more time indoors, we are being increasingly exposed to artificial light. The development of artificial lighting has allowed us to control the brightness, colour, and timing of our light exposure. Yet, the widespread use of artificial light has raised concerns about the impact of altering our light environment on our health. The widespread adoption of personal digital devices over the past decade has exposed us to yet another source of artificial light. We spend a significant amount of time using digital devices with light-emitting screens, including smartphones and tablets, at close range. The light emitted from these devices, while appearing white, has an emission spectrum with a peak in the blue range. Blue light is often characterised as hazardous as its photon energy is higher than that of other wavelengths of visible light. Under certain conditions, visible blue light can cause harm to the retina and other ocular structures. Blue light can also influence the circadian rhythm and processes mediated by melanopsin-expressing intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. While the blue component of sunlight is necessary for various physiological processes, whether the low-illuminance artificial blue light emitted from digital devices presents a risk to our health remains an ongoing area of debate. As technological advancements continue, it is relevant to understand how new devices may influence our well-being. This review examines the existing research on artificial blue light safety and the eye, visual performance, and circadian functions.

Keywords: Blue light; Circadian rhythm; Eye; Light emitting diode; Retina; Safety.

Publication types

  • Review