Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Beware of it, Smartphone may make you Blind

Beware of it, Smartphone may make you Blind

New Delhi: It may perhaps be time to reduce the use of smartphones, tablets and laptops, as addictive as they may be, on a daily basis. Now, a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that the screens of these addictive gadgets, which are blue-tinted by the way, are even worse for us than we think. They are making us blind, slowly and steadily.

After conducting a series of cell culture and imaging tests, a research team of optical chemists from the University of Toledo identified that blue light emitted from displays and screens causes vital molecules in our eyes to become “toxic,” killing off photoreceptor cells in the retina. These photoreceptor cells are not regenerated by the human body—once gone, gone forever.

Blue light is a high-intensity 445-nanometer shortwave emitted from digital screens in smartphones and tablets, the sun and other electronic gadgets with a screen including PCs and laptops.

Simply put, slowly and steadily, we will all be blinded by the blue light. “Using live cell imaging and optogenetic signaling control, we uncovered that blue light-excited ATR and 11CR irreversibly change/distort plasma membrane (PM) bound phospholipid; phosphatidylinositol 4,5 bisphosphate (PIP2) and disrupt its function. This distortion in PIP2 was independent of visual or non-visual G-protein coupled receptor activation. The change in PIP2 was followed by an increase in the cytosolic calcium, excessive cell shape change, and cell death,” say the researchers.
With the photoreceptor cells dying inside the eyes, and these don’t grow back, there is an increased risk of incurable vision loss and eye diseases, particularly after the age of 50 years.

Till now, we have known some ill-effects of blue light emitted by the screens we use. This inhibits the body’s production of melatonin, and tends to condition the brain into a state of alertness, which forces the body to stay awake. This throws off the sleep cycles. Then there is the issue of severe and constant eye strain, there is the added risk of cancer as well as illnesses.

One of the workarounds is to significantly reduce screen time post late evenings, and completely switching off the smartphones, tablets and laptops some time before tucking yourself in for a good night’s sleep. That way, the brain won’t be forced to rewire itself, into ways that change your routine, hurt your eyesight and ruin your health.

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