A car with a text overlay that reads "Advice from a master electrician: will certain lighting cause retina stress?"

Among many circles, it is accepted that artificial night-time lighting appliances can cause various adverse health side-effects in both humans and animals. In fact, there have been studies that prove that exposure to optical radiation can have effects on human physiology and behavior. But there is a need for much more research to be conducted before we go jumping to conclusions about the effects that certain kinds of lighting can have on you. Although nothing has been proven, it does make for an interesting discussion topic. The main point of worry for most researchers? LED lighting.

The Illumination Engineering Society

Otherwise known as IES, this is one of the top resources for this idea about artificial lighting, especially since they just released a position statement on the matter. The IES titled the aforementioned position statement “Effects of Exterior Lighting on Human Health”. However, it does not mention LEDs. Their assertion is that optical radiation that your retina detects could affect your behavior, perception of your environment, and psychology. Which is hardly a stretch of the imagination as we’ve always known lighting affects the mood of people. It’s the reason Wal-Mart is associated with a grating sensation and cold linoleum: the lighting is irritating. You can use romantic lighting to set a relaxing and even arousing mood with low, warm lighting. All you need to do is watch a stage production merely thinking about lighting effects in the back of your mind to understand how lighting can affect the mood and symbolism of an environment. This lends the statement the IES made a rather unconvincing air. Although they do state that if believable evidence were to surface that artificial lighting is actually damaging, they’d be perfectly willing to start looking into “…improved designs for all lighted environments.”

The French Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety

This French agency, however, feels much differently about the adverse effects lighting after dark can have on human beings. They recently published a report that stoutly states that lighting that uses light-emitting diodes almost certainly has health risks associated with it, mainly LEDs. However, these side-effects of LED lighting systems mostly trouble the eyes more than anything else. The agency’s concern is centered around blue light and the risk of glares causing “toxic stress” to the retina. The article they released mentions that blue light is most dangerous to those who have had low exposure to it, steadily, over a long period of time. They go on to mention that the damaging component would be the result of cellular oxidative stress, it goes on to mention that children, workers that are exposed to the lighting regularly and light sensitive populations are the individuals that are at the highest level of risk. The agency concludes the report stating that the photobiological safety standard is ill-adapted to LEDs and using the Unified Flaring Rate that’s used on the other types of lighting is not an acceptable form of measurement for LEDs.

Contact Your Master Electrician For a Lighting System Redesign

This does not mean that you need to be overly concerned about the LEDs in your home. The main worry across these educated organizations is from the glare, which is rarely an issue in residential electric systems. If you have a question about how to adjust your lighting system to avoid glare and potentially become greener without using LED lighting, Divine Electric Norcal is here to help. With our wide range of services and expansive expertise, we can certainly find an alternative that will suit your needs. Contact us to discuss electrical services, including emergency electrical services if you need them. We’ve proudly served Marin County for many years and intend to continue for many more.