A warning about blue LEDs (Blue Light Hazard)

Over the past few days I’ve been suffering from a strange coloured blob in the centre of my field of vision in my left eye. It’s most noticeable whenever I blink. I can still see ok, but there is a strange circular patch of discolouration. Even if I close my right eye, I only see it when I blink.

I’ve been doing some research and come across something known as "blue light hazard". Here’s an article on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-light_hazard

This got me thinking about how I could have suffered from such a problem and then I released I have a blue LED powered torch on my key ring and I remember inspecting it while it was switched on a few days ago. I don’t think I was looking directly into it but I was definitely looking at it while it was on.

Then I found some other research revealing that because blue LEDs are manufactured in a different way to red LEDs, they can be up 20 times more powerful. Coupled with the shorter wavelength of blue light, which makes it more intense than red light, it seems that blue light has real potential to damage the retina, and it does appear that I have suffered some minor damage. I’m not sure if it will ever heal.

I never realised blue light could be so damaging, and yet blue LEDs are used all over the place in all sorts of consumer products.

So this is a warning, especially if you have kids, do not let them stare into a blue LED (and don’t do it yourself either!).

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