Blue light and the retina



  • @Tungsten_smooth said:

    @lorna Well thank you for that, I'm quite sure I have... sleep onset insomnia, and it's, well, it's not getting any better. I've noticed in recent years (6-7+ years) it will take at least an hour (but usually about two) for me to truly feel relaxed and want to sleep. There's just so many interesting things to think about-it's not stressful stuff, it's mostly what I did that day, what I need to do tomorrow if there are tests, and then I think about my life and technology after that. Damn brain won't turn the hell off!

    I have some tips that I would love for you to try:

    1. Near bedtime, write all of these things down on paper. Don't use a computer to do it: you have to use a pen or a pencil. It's a massive difference between writing and typing.
    2. After that, spend a few minutes sitting quietly in silence with your eyes closed. Or instead of silence, use white noise to raise the sound floor to drown out distracting noises. Calm yourself and let your mind do what it needs to do. The longer you do this, the better.
    3. As often as you want each day, spend a handful of minutes in total silence with your eyes closed. It doesn't have to be perfect silence because you can instead use a white noise sound machine to drown out distracting noises, like the Dohm. The longer each session is, the better.
    4. You might even benefit from taking melatonin right before bed. I have mild Autism and I read years ago that people with Autism naturally produce insufficient amounts for proper sleep. So if I don't take my melatonin, then I end up with the same problem you have. Do you have Autism at all? You might. Lots of people have it and don't realize it.
    5. Increase your intake of Folate. This can help a little with anxiety. 400 to 800 mcg per day is plenty. Don't overdo it. I like Solgar's Folate, the one that's in the form of Metafolin (L-methylfolate). They are dry tablets that are meant to be swallowed, but can be easily chewed up and have a mildly sweet sugar-like flavor.
    6. Use some breathing exercises to your advantage.
    7. Try to leave at least a 3-hour gap between the last thing you ate or drank and when you go to bed. Going to bed too soon after your last meal of the day (which, for most of us, is our biggest and hardest-to-digest meal) is the reason most people have a hard time going to sleep. It's also one of the causes of nightmares and waking up too hot in the middle of the night - even if the room is cold.
    8. If you exercise regularly, then try to leave at least a gap of at least 6-8 hours before bedtime. It is absolutely mind-blowing how long it takes for the body to truly calm down after a workout. If you can't do this, then you may need to use special relaxation techniques and exercises after a workout, but that can't replace working out earlier in the day, but it would be better than not exercising anymore. Think about what it would be like to live outside in the wild hundreds of miles away from artificial light: you naturally get your exercise during the middle of the day looking for food, but the later part of your day is spent coming back to your living area and eating the food you found before you lose the light that the sun provides. This is hardwired into us.
    9. Try a sound machine instead of sleeping in silence. I use the Dohm, and I'm serious: I sleep better these days because of it.

    I can't think of anything else.



  • @lorna said:

    @Tungsten_smooth An incredibly high percent, around 75% of children and adults with ADHD also have delayed circadian timing. It's not strictly related to light timing - lots of ADHD patients have irregular meal times, and there is a lot of research looking for other internal clock components - but there's a very strong correlation with sleep issues and ADHD. Sleep deprivation in adults in lab conditions can induce textbook ADHD symptoms (more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/opinion/sunday/diagnosing-the-wrong-deficit.html?_r=0).

    Well having ADHD seems quite shitty going by that link. There's so much that can go wrong--that article highlights a lot of downsides to ADHD and they are all awful. Thankfully I don't have trouble breathing in my sleep--I'll never know if I did as an infant, I'm not sure my parents checked that, and I never asked, too young at the time. It says that could have a permanent neurological effect! That's HORRIBLE! Something we just take for granted could strongly impact your life in such a negative way forever! That's enlightening! Great!



  • @Tungsten_smooth said:

    @lorna said:

    @Tungsten_smooth An incredibly high percent, around 75% of children and adults with ADHD also have delayed circadian timing. It's not strictly related to light timing - lots of ADHD patients have irregular meal times, and there is a lot of research looking for other internal clock components - but there's a very strong correlation with sleep issues and ADHD. Sleep deprivation in adults in lab conditions can induce textbook ADHD symptoms (more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/opinion/sunday/diagnosing-the-wrong-deficit.html?_r=0).

    Well having ADHD seems quite shitty going by that link. There's so much that can go wrong--that article highlights a lot of downsides to ADHD and they are all awful. Thankfully I don't have trouble breathing in my sleep--I'll never know if I did as an infant, I'm not sure my parents checked that, and I never asked, too young at the time. It says that could have a permanent neurological effect! That's HORRIBLE! Something we just take for granted could strongly impact your life in such a negative way forever! That's enlightening! Great!

    My mom said that I had a breathing incident when I wan an infant, and I have Asperger's Syndrome. I doubt that this is why I have it because it's something a person is born with, but still, I'm sure that incident damaged me somehow.

    You can have trouble breathing while you're sleeping and not know it. If you are told that you snore while you're sleeping, then that's a sign that you could be having trouble.



  • @lorna said:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4261727/

    "Among adults with ADHD, the majority has an (extremely) late chronotype and a delayed sleep phase (7, 8)."

    Here's the beginning of that paragraph, but you may or may not be able to recite all this if you've read it before:
    "From chronobiology studies, we know that there is a link between retinal function and the circadian rhythm. " That's the sentence that really kicked it off.

    Well that just went from vision right back to sleep! That just shows how important it is. A paper about vision just starting discussing sleep. How did that happen? I guess eyes and sleep are related..., but, yes, that definitely explains my late sleeping schedule, shucks. I tell you, you just poured a bunch of negative information into my screen! Thank you though, it's worth it to learn. At least I can be aware of all this stuff, I can't thank you enough!



  • I think the article is just talking about the light that enters your eyes while you are awake. You know, blue light, red light, bright light, dim light, all the stuff that we already know. I think they're just describing it differently.



  • @TwoCables Thanks, I was going to post that I was confused as to why the subject changed so abruptly but you really picked up on that quickly, thanks. Yeah, that seems to be the case, it's discussing how the light goes and works it's magic in the brain.


  • f.lux team

    @Tungsten_smooth Yes, it's all related very closely. The retina is really important to circadian rhythms. It's a lot to take in, especially when some of it rings true. But I hope you won't feel too much like it's all bad news. Reading too many studies online can have that effect sometimes...



  • @Tungsten_smooth said:

    @TwoCables Thanks, I was going to post that I was confused as to why the subject changed so abruptly but you really picked up on that quickly, thanks. Yeah, that seems to be the case, it's discussing how the light goes and works it's magic in the brain.

    Yeah, it can seem like magic can't it? Every time I swap out my Switch 3-Way LED lights for my red FEIT LED lights (right after switching f.lux to 800K), I can truly feel a difference immediately.

    Then as I get super close to going to bed, I turn off one of the two red LEDs (to lower the brightness), and again I can feel a big difference in the way I feel.

    During the whole time I'm using my red LED lights with f.lux set to 800K, there are SOMETIMES occasions where I'll want to look at something that needs more accurate color. So, I'll disable f.lux for a minute while I look and once again, I immediately feel the difference; I feel more alert. Then when re-enable f.lux, I immediately feel a big difference yet again. It's like magic. lol I love it!

    Or how about sunlight? lol If I happen to have woken up at around sunset, then I have to wait until sunrise to really begin to feel more lively and ready to go. Then on a sunny day, if I open and close my blinds (room-darkening), I again feel a difference.

    The affect that light has on us from its color temperature to its brightness is absolutely mind-blowing to me. Until I discovered f.lux and became aware of this stuff, I never noticed it. I mean, seriously: I just didn't notice the effect that light has on me.



  • @lorna said:

    @Tungsten_smooth Yes, it's all related very closely. The retina is really important to circadian rhythms. It's a lot to take in, especially when some of it rings true. But I hope you won't feel too much like it's all bad news. Reading too many studies online can have that effect sometimes...

    lol yep, it's like having a simple headache and you go on the internet read all the possible reasons for having a headache and the next thing you know, you think it means you're going to die today.

    The internet can be useful, but it can also be very destructive when you believe everything you read, or read things into things that aren't even there.

    Unless you are TRYING to damage your retinas, I seriously doubt they're being damaged unless you like to regularly shine lasers into your eyes and look directly at un-shielded super-bright LEDs from 1 inch away from your eyes. Or, if you like to look directly at the sun every day. Some people do that you know; they call it Sun Gazing, and it's extremely stupid to do. Personally, my version of Sun Gazing is simply closing my eyes and pointing my face directly toward the sun.

    I'm getting off-track though. lol Really, if you are just doing normal things every day (nothing super unusual in terms of the light you're exposed to or the types of light), then I'm sure your retinas are just fine. As has been said, it isn't exactly easy to damage your retinas unless you do very specific things that causes damage and those specific things are things that most of us never experience.


  • f.lux team

    @TwoCables I do exact the same thing - I love how blue the world looks when I open my eyes again.



  • @lorna said:

    @TwoCables I do exact the same thing - I love how blue the world looks when I open my eyes again.

    hehehe yeah that's a strange phenomenon. I guess that means the rods and cones were overloaded a little bit.



  • @lorna I had to take a break reading the myopia link, phew, lot of text. Yeah, it's not all bad news, it's just birth defects is what I get from it, and I'm sure I have a lot of those for reasons I'm not getting into. It's great to learn and be aware of all this, so if I have children I'll monitor their breathing very closely, and hopefully that "one time event" I can somehow remedy that and save their life from ADHD. On that note, if an infant does start breathing abnormally in their sleep, or maybe if they stop breathing--what do you do? That would be cool to know.



  • @lorna said:

    @TwoCables I do exact the same thing - I love how blue the world looks when I open my eyes again.

    O.K. so I'm not the only one who does that! Cool, glad to know I have moderately normal color vision, although the links said that having ADHD could result in the blue spectrum being different, but it didn't say in what way, so I guess I'm fine.



  • @Tungsten_smooth said:

    @lorna I had to take a break reading the myopia link, phew, lot of text. Yeah, it's not all bad news, it's just birth defects is what I get from it, and I'm sure I have a lot of those for reasons I'm not getting into. It's great to learn and be aware of all this, so if I have children I'll monitor their breathing very closely, and hopefully that "one time event" I can somehow remedy that and save their life from ADHD. On that note, if an infant does start breathing abnormally in their sleep, or maybe if they stop breathing--what do you do? That would be cool to know.

    I would guess that your best course of action would be calling 911, unless you are a doctor and know how to save the baby's life on the spot.



  • I thought of this when when read about how important breathing is:

    https://youtu.be/6vERCnJ-DLw

    It's a great movie with an awful crappy ending.


  • f.lux team

    @Tungsten_smooth Baby monitors are getting incredibly sophisticated, they have all manner of new things coming out to monitor health. If the child has a physical obstruction that's causing the problem, like enlarged adenoids, the treatment might be to remove them. In that case you might notice snoring. I feel like you might enjoy getting first aid certification!

    Editing to answer your other question, adults with ADHD can have trouble with depth perception and the blue region of the spectrum (and extra sensitivity to light).



  • @lorna Would sensitivity to light include complaining about having to turn a frosted white Incandescent bulb that looks to be at least 75w at night be included in that? I don't think I'm sensitive in the daytime and try to welcome all the light I can get.



  • @Tungsten_smooth said:

    @lorna Would sensitivity to light include complaining about having to turn a frosted white Incandescent bulb that looks to be at least 75w at night be included in that? I don't think I'm sensitive in the daytime and try to welcome all the light I can get.

    I find that when I'm tired and when my body is actually producing its own melatonin, I am far more sensitive to light and I feel much better with dim light. I think it's our body's way of saying, "dude, would you just go to sleep already? Good god."



  • This thread has been wonderful! Could we also dig up how much the chances are that offspring from adhd patents will have all this?



  • @elisadelina yea no f.lux is wrong on this matter. The frequency / quality and source of the light is massively important.


  • f.lux team

    @yourmom We're referencing doses of blue light from the international hazard documents (e.g. IEC 62471, ICNIRP, and ANSES). There is a broad consensus regarding these doses of visible radiation, so if you're saying you disagree with that body of research, please elaborate.

    There is indeed a lot of marketing that ignores dose and focuses only on wavelength. This approach is incorrect - there's a threshold of energy known to cause harm to the human eye. Light is measurable and quantifiable, and if you don't have enough energy to damage cells, you don't have enough energy to damage cells.

    The potential blue light hazard from the brightest computer monitor we know is less than 10% of what you'd see from just blue sky, removing any direct sunlight. If you were to look at a regular sidewalk in daytime, that exposure is hundreds of times more powerful than your monitor screen - this is how we are hoping to get people to think about light, in real power units and not just subjective colors.



  • @lorna I get all that, I disagree I think the flicker rate of the source of light (artificial light ) and the overall spectrums balance with other colors is what makes the real difference. Not the intensity in terms of power units or specific wavelengths. The most intense of blue light is always balanced by red in the sun's light. It changes the effect on physiology of the retinohypothalamic tract, the setting of superchiasmatic nucleus circadian rhythm and all the downstream molecular clocks of our organs.


  • f.lux team

    @yourmom I think you owe the thread some clear language here - you began by saying "f.lux is wrong", and you have made no statement at all that could support this position.

    f.lux launched nearly nine years ago, and the hypothesis behind the product is that displays make enough light to disrupt circadian rhythms at night. We understand these biological systems and the research behind them very well, and we have helped to popularize the research on the non-visual effects of blue light and its effects on the central clock, the SCN. As well, we frequently criticize flicker and distribution of light that leads to glare.

    A majority of the non-visual effects of light are conveyed to the SCN through a single photoreceptor, and a non-visual system that achieves the "balance" you refer to is not supported by any literature. Even though the cones are believed to convey extra information to the ipRGCs, they are doing so using much of the same circuitry that drives color perception, not by some magic additional system.

    I have previously made notes about the claims made about beneficial effects due to IR and the retina here: https://forum.justgetflux.com/topic/3809/which-is-the-best-light-troughout-the-day-to-stay-in-front-of-pc/6
    And again, I will say, the evidence in rodent studies suggests that these effects happen only at extreme irradiance levels, many hundreds of times greater than indoor lighting

    It is very reasonable to talk about what you see (these colors don't match) or how you feel (this flicker makes me feel eyestrain), but to impute physiological harm (as some do) to these effects without any evidence is a mistake. Some things are just uncomfortable, but they are not known to cause any lasting harm.

    We are facing a similar problem with circadian effects - people believe, falsely, that changing color temperature a little bit will positively affect circadian rhythms, when in fact, small changes are likely to have very small effects. Eye strain and circadian/alerting light are not likely to be the same thing for most people.

    When you are talking about non-visual physiological effects of light, you can't perceive directly everything that is going on. Dose matters and measurement matters, and you would be well served to read up on both.



  • @herf Your so close to completing getting it. I'm well read on the subject. It would be foolish to get emotional bout it. So lets just clarify a bit bout ipRGCs.

    Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC) and their connection with the suprachiasmatic nucleus ( circadian rhythm center )
    There is a third type of cell in your retina called the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells abbreviated ipRGC’s. These cells utilize a different photopigment called melanopsin, are much less sensitive to light, respond to light slowly, have far lower spatial resolution. Although these cells do have some role in vision / motion detection / brightness detection their primary function is signaling ambient light levels (irradiance) to the brain.
    ipRGC’s express a melanopsin allowing them to directly respond to light, and they send axon projections to a brain target known to be involved in circadian photoentrainment and photic suppression of pineal melatonin release. The main center involved with the photoentrainment aspect is the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN). The ipRGC directly sends out a ton of axons to the SCN indicating its pivotal role in circadian rhythm management.

    Daily rhythms in mammalian physiology and behavior, collectively called circadian rhythms, are controlled by a tiny cluster of cells in the SCN of the hypothalamus. SCN neurons possess a transcription/translation-based molecular clock that allows them to autonomously regulate activity patterns in near 24-hour rhythms, the SCN must be reset periodically so that circadian rhythms are synchronized (or “entrained”) to the light/dark cycle. Light is by far the most potent circadian entrainment cue, and ipRGCs are the primary cells that carry this signal since eliminating these neurons abolished photoentrainment in mice (Hatori, 2008; Goz, 2008; Guler, 2008).

    The reason f.lux is good is because you can run it on red all day. Blue light will turn out to be the most harmful of all non-native EMF. Unbalanced blue is massively important when it comes to the timing of all your bodies systems and I'm not just talking about the eye's / dopamine overuse / melatonin production inhibition. Great poinnt about the rats/ IR into the retina and your right it was way above indoor light levels. You know whats way above indoor light levels. The outside world, more than any app, making sure your skin and retina's get exposure to unfiltered am sunlight is critical

    Great po


  • f.lux team

    I am literally facepalming right now.



  • @lorna continue in fact don't stop , keep facepalmed permanently. lol


  • f.lux team

    @yourmom Some online gurus (the ones I suspect you're reading) start with real science, and indeed, the basic circadian research is supported by thousands of studies. You can cite that all day - we know all the references too.

    The trouble is when an online guru is your sole source of information, you don't realize when it has gone off the tracks into a place where the science doesn't exist. "the most harmful of all non-native EMF" is simply BS, and you're not citing a dozen studies there, because they don't exist.

    There is no "unbalanced" blue like you're describing. Lighting that matches daylight spectrum for all known photoreceptors, seen at indoor levels (100x lower than outdoor light) is not known to harm the retina. There is just no literature that supports this, and you're listening to the wrong people if you believe it.


  • f.lux team

    @yourmom I'm going to go enjoy my Sunday now, and I hope you do the same. Take a nice long walk outside. your lateral geniculate nucleus will thank you.



  • Hi,

    so do I understand it right, that being in front of a computer screen all day (for example 14+ hours) is perfectly safe and does not permanently damage eyes ? And even if blue light caused any permanent damage, then one hour walk would in fact be more harmful ?

    Thank you


  • f.lux team

    @Muden Regarding the amount of light that reaches the retina: five minutes outside in the sun means more blue light (and more light of all wavelengths) reaches the retina than hours in front of a computer screen.

    I personally would not recommend to anyone to stare at a computer screen for 14 hours a day, but giving medical advice is beyond the scope of this forum.

    Questions about computer screens and how they can affect your eyes are best directed to an eye doctor who has examined you in person.


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