High energy light from screens could lead to lasting retina damage, study finds. Reuters

Recent findings from the Universidad Compultense de Madrid revealed that LED screens could eventually lead to a “global epidemic of blindness.” The potential widespread vision epidemic could be caused by hours logged in front of a television, computer or phone screen, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

Extra time spent gazing into screens could lead to retina damage later on. Yet the issue could be more far-reaching. LED light could lead to irreparable damage to the retinas, which can then lead to blindness, according to researchers. And the issue could only be getting worse with time.

The LED light from digital screens comes from the “short-wave, high energy blue and violet end of the visible light spectrum,” researcher Dr. Celia Sanchez-Ramos said. The findings from her vision study were first published in Think Spain in 2013.

Sanchez-Ramos' recent findings were the result of two studies that were compared and analyzed. One study measured the amount of light from different digital devices and the distance from which they were held from the eyes; researchers also looked at the size of the user’s pupils during use. They were able to determine the amount of "high-energy" light and the LED emission from a variety of devices' screens.

The results from the study concluded that children, especially, experienced three times more light of the short wavelength. In the Think Spain piece, Sanchez-Ramos had then said that the issue would only get worse due to prolonged life spans and kids’ increase in digital devices use, which starts at younger ages.

The other study used rats and analyzed how the retinas of the rodents fared when exposed to white LED light from tablet screens. One group used filters, an eye protector called Reticare, during the exposure while the other group did not. After three months, the results concluded that the rats that had been nakedly exposed to the white LED light had experienced about a “23 percent increase in retinal cell death,” according to Daily Mail. The rats that used Reticare experienced no cell death.