Blue Light Exposure Quickens Aging and Increases Chances of Eye and Brain Damage

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. longevity / lɒnˈdʒɛv ɪ ti / (n) – the length of time that someone lives

    People’s lifestyle and diet can greatly affect their longevity.

  2. caution / ˈkɔ ʃən / (v) – to give someone a warning

    Many health professionals caution about having too little sleep.

  3. subject to (something) / səbˈdʒɛkt tə / (phrasal) – to make someone or something go through an unpleasant or harmful experience

    Most people get sick when they are subjected to extreme temperatures.

  4. constant / ˈkɒn stənt / (adj) – happening continuously

    Exposure to a constant loud sound will damage your ears.

  5. filter / ˈfɪl tər / (v) – to remove something using a special tool

    My glasses have special lenses that filter harmful light from the sun.


Read the text below.

A recent study has revealed that blue light has harmful effects on longevity and on the eyes and brain.

Researchers from the Oregon State University cautioned that extended exposure to blue light, which is emitted by electronic devices like smartphones and laptops, may accelerate aging and damage brain cells.

The researchers conducted an experiment on fruit flies, which they chose because the species has similar genetic patterns to humans. One group of flies was exposed to blue LED light for 12 hours and put in darkness for another 12 hours daily. A second group was exposed to natural light instead of blue light, while a third one was continuously subjected to darkness.

The experiment’s results showed that flies exposed to blue light had damaged cells in the eyes and the brain. Their ability to climb was also reduced, and their lifespans were shortened compared to the group left in constant darkness. The light had the same effect even on flies without eyes, implying that it is not necessary to see blue light to be affected by it.

The study’s lead author clarified that the findings cannot be fully applied to humans since human brains absorb less blue light compared to fly brains. However, she emphasized that long-term blue light exposure still has harmful effects on humans, including visual fatigue and headache that can potentially harm one’s health. So, the researchers recommend reducing exposure by wearing glasses that can filter blue light and by activating device settings that turn off blue light.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Given the findings of the study, what do you think are some changes (e.g. in the workplace, in schools) that can be implemented to reduce people’s exposure to blue light? Discuss.
• Do you think device manufacturers should be responsible for the damage caused by blue light emitted by devices? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• In your opinion, do people give enough attention to their eye health? Explain.
• What are some best practices for maintaining good eye health? Discuss.