Blue light from digital devices and the sun transforms vital molecules in the eye's retina into cell killers, according to optical chemistry research at The University of Toledo.
The process outlined in the study, which was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports, leads to age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the United States.
"We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye's cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it," Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, assistant professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said. "It's no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye's retina. Our experiments explain how this happens, and we hope this leads to therapies that slow macular degeneration, such as a new kind of eye drop."
Macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease that results in significant vision loss starting on average in a person's 50s or 60s, is the death of photoreceptor cells in the retina. Those cells need molecules called retinal to sense light and trigger a cascade of signaling to the brain.[/q]