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Harsh Led Lights A Biohazard?


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#1 muddy

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:08 pm

As much as anyone, when riding at night I've been disappointed by most of the lights on my bikes. So when manufacturers started replacing incandescent with brighter LEDs, I wanted in. That said, being on the other end of them is no fun, blinding in fact, even in daylight. So much so that when I got the early ferry to France on the past few tours, I was forced to buy some night vision glasses to deal with the dangerous glare. This experience and my own failing eyesight had me looking into LEDs and their effect on health in general. 

 

Some years ago I recognised that I was getting eye strain from using my computer and looked into ways of mitigating this. I found out that apparently the eyestrain is due to the fact that TVs, monitors, Smartphones and bright white LED bulbs that are now ubiquitous in our lives, have unnatural high peaks of blue light that effect not only our eyes but also our circadian rhythm. So a couple of years ago I bought a pair of blue light blocking glasses which I used for a while and then, foolishly, put away. Recently, as an experiment, I started putting them on after dark and the results after a few days were startling. Not only did my eyes feel less strained, but my insomnia improved. I was getting 8 hours sleep instead of 4 or 5. Although I use F-Lux and Reshift on my OSs, just flipping the glasses up the glare is still pronounced. After this result I decided to start using incandescent oven light bulbs on my table lights and masked the few LEDs I had (utility lights, fridge lights, etc.) with a couple of layers of Kapton tape, which is yellow tinted and masked the blue. A bit drastic some may think, but the difference it makes is stark.  

 

Any thoughts?


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#2 dapleb

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:22 pm

Thoughts.... There are lots of selfish light stealers these days .. Sadly seems lots of boikes as well as cars.... But it's fine as THEY can see where they're going.

That's my thoughts. Plus oid best not get them blue rinse glasses as ain't got time for 8 hours snoo! Does it work if yar colour blind?
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#3 Favs

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:49 pm

In my experience many folk have the brightness way too high on computers, this may lead to eyestrain.

 

I also have a pair of night glasses in the car and they do help on longer night drives. I find (as I age gracefully), I now make a conscious effort to look away from the brighter & less well aimed vehicle lights. I also avoid the light spill from the motorway roadworks and the inherent 50 mph average speed camera capture zones.

 

At home I bounce the lights off softer colours on the wall etc. I still have loads of light, it is just less harsh.

 

Not tried blue glasses but I'm interested.


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#4 muddy

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 09:58 pm

Mine look like these, though I didn't pay that much. You can get a decent pair for a

fair bit less than £38.

https://www.amazon.c...g glasses&psc=1


Edited by muddy, 05 December 2018 - 09:59 pm.

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#5 fixitsan

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 10:22 pm

You ought to be able to change the colour temperature of your monitor, if using Windows, in your graphics card control app, tune it more towards yellow or red and you can reduce a lot of the blue. but some things can look terrible, especially colour managed images, so if the feature to save the setting as a preset exists you can just flip into and out of the controlled settings

 

 

EDIT - I just tried the above with my graphics card controller by turning down the blue channel to less than 60%, and sure enough you can cut out a lot of blue and still get a reasonably well coloured image. When I look at the screen the colours normalise and the brain (whats left of it) tries to fill the gaps (like that experiment where you see a picture made using only red and green colours and your brain invents the blue amount based on object identity)  ...But when I look at the TV screen with the laptop screen in the corner of my eye it looks disitinctly yellow by comparison.

 

 

EDIT2 - It was bugging me about who discovered that you can see in full colour with just a single colour of illumination.... Edwin Land, from Polaroid... (Details start at the 4th paragraph) .. http://www.wendycarl.../color.html#top

 

 

EDIT3 - I swear I can see blue in this film, made using only the red and green channels

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMHO - some of those LEDs are way too bright !


Edited by fixitsan, 05 December 2018 - 11:19 pm.

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#6 muddy

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 08:22 am

@Fixitsan

There's definitely a blue tinge to that. 

 

As far as changing the colour temperature of the monitor, on Windows I use F-Lux and on Linux, which is my main OS, I use Redshift. The trouble with the later is it doesn't work out of the box and needs a script to get it to function correctly. But it's worth it. As you say, the eyes adapt to the toning down, so much so that, although the yellow tinge is noticeable, the default just seems too white. That's the thing with these LEDs, they aren't balanced to mimic natural light in the same way incandescent bulbs do. 

Since getting into this I've opened myself up to the whole subject of sunlight vs artificial light and how it may have consequences for health. I always detested office work due to the fluorescent lighting always being kept on, even when the sun was shining. I could never put my finger on it, other than it felt unnatural. During those years I started getting migraines and developed chronic insomnia, which played a big part in me having to quit my profession. Little did I know that the flicker and unnatural colour temperature mix are known to cause those very symptoms. Of course mainstream science isn't going to go there, the economic consequence would be catastrophic, but there are studies that point to the fact that artificial light can be both detrimental and beneficial to health. For instance, the red range-red/infrared/far red, has been known for some time to have health benefits, especially 660nm and 850nm. Arrays are being used to treat Alzheimer's, in sport to speed up injury healing and a host of other applications. It truly is a fascinating area of study.  


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#7 TKH

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:20 pm

Used to be able to get those amber glasses for about £1. I've got a pair somewhere. Trouble is I use glasses for riding/driving so unless I get contacts they're no use, but, I will look out for them and see if I can do anything with them.

 

I do find that headlights coming at you especially at night in the wet do make my eyes tired.

 

Just gone on ebay and bought some clip ons. I'll see how they go and get back.


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#8 Nog

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 02:21 pm

Used to be able to get those amber glasses for about £1. I've got a pair somewhere. Trouble is I use glasses for riding/driving so unless I get contacts they're no use,

 

Get yourself one of these bad boys ;)

 

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#9 TKH

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 05:21 pm

I didn't see one of them on ebay. Would have gone much better over my glasses. A bit hard work in the car though......


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#10 fixitsan

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 06:43 pm

I've had the pale amber pinlock insert on my visor before now. It used to be a favourite of the police and surprisingly it isn't bad at night


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#11 Robodene

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:13 pm

A couple of simple thoughts: 1. Do we see blue in the picture because green is made up of blue and yellow (at least for an artist it is)? 2. I believe camera sensors see in monchrome with colour added in the processing. Someone more knowledgeable than me will put me right, shortly.
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#12 Nog

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 08:09 am

A couple of simple thoughts: 1. Do we see blue in the picture because green is made up of blue and yellow (at least for an artist it is)? 2. I believe camera sensors see in monchrome with colour added in the processing. Someone more knowledgeable than me will put me right, shortly.

 

1 - The green/blue is simply to do with the mixing of pigments, you still see blue because the light being reflected/sent is blue.

 

2 - Camera sensors only react to the presence of light, so are indeed in a way 'monochrome', but a colour filter (basically a grid of red, green and blue squares, one for each sensor cell) is placed over the top of the sensor so that only light of a certain colour can activate that respective cell in the sensor, so the camera 'knows' which colour it should be in the final image.


Edited by Nog, 07 December 2018 - 08:11 am.


#13 Robodene

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:47 am

1 - The green/blue is simply to do with the mixing of pigments, you still see blue because the light being reflected/sent is blue.
 
2 - Camera sensors only react to the presence of light, so are indeed in a way 'monochrome', but a colour filter (basically a grid of red, green and blue squares, one for each sensor cell) is placed over the top of the sensor so that only light of a certain colour can activate that respective cell in the sensor, so the camera 'knows' which colour it should be in the final image.


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#14 muddy

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 04:29 pm

An easy read on the dangers of blue light.

https://www.health.h...has-a-dark-side


Edited by muddy, 07 December 2018 - 04:30 pm.

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#15 fixitsan

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:18 pm

When you think about it, it is one of the rarest naturally occurring colours, so it's strange that it should affect us so much. But then again that might be exactly why it does.  https://www.sciencea...-in-nature.html


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#16 TKH

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 07:40 am

Are there any documented studies on this? I was surprised to see the "Harvard health publishing" link not showing clear references to actual studies rather than just saying something took place. I've checked a few links and only found studies showing the effects on sleep patterns and serotonin levels and provided support Muddy's comment on sleep.

 

I've even found some sites and devices advocating the use of blue light devices to help improve sleep and health. They referenced articles and apparently quoted people who supported their devices.

 

Like Muddy, I experienced problems with looking at a monitor all day but in my case it turned out to be eye strain due to me needing glasses. Also if screens are too bright that could again cause me some eye strain. Again, for me, if headlights are too bright I have to look away with the new style white/blue (especially on German cars) being the worst offenders. 

 

So, other than the affect on sleep (and the potential effect that lack of sleep could have on health) I couldn't find any actual formally documented and published case studies showing direct health issues as a result of blue light exposure (from any source). There are articles saying that a study allegedly took place, and references to articles (like those from Muddy and Fixitstan) but nothing concrete in terms of reference to a proper, actual study. 

 

I'm sure within 5 minutes of me posting this someone will be along with a link to a case study!


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#17 fixitsan

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 09:21 am

 

 

I'm sure within 5 minutes of me posting this someone will be along with a link to a case study!

 

 

When this topic first came up i had a play with my laptop monitor and turned the blue channel all the way down to 50%. not sure if I've really noticed any effect yet though.

 

However, never one to shy away from a challenge, if you search using Google Scholar     https://scholar.google.co.uk/   ..... I came across this report confirming the effects on sleep patterns (in male teenagers) https://www.scienced...054139X14003243

 

I also found a paper showing that blue light therapy (accompanied by red light) can be used as an acne treatment. So although their sleep patterns are disrupted the teenagers above who stare at their laptop or smartphone should be noticeably less spotty https://www.tandfonl...764170600735912


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#18 Robodene

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 10:49 am

Well that would have been handy for me 60 years ago. I used an infrared lamp for acne. No doubt that is not quite the same thing without the blue. Never seemed to do much for me but it was nice and warm!
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#19 fixitsan

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 10:53 am

Well that would have been handy for me 60 years ago. I used an infrared lamp for acne. No doubt that is not quite the same thing without the blue. Never seemed to do much for me but it was nice and warm!

 

 

I tried allsorts and nothing really worked. At 50 i get a few spots on my shoulder and back, and when I go to the gym I'm accused of taking steroids because of it !


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#20 muddy

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 11:15 am

In the few weeks I've been reading up on it and listening to credentialed people, such as a Harvard resident Brit Dr Hamblin, I've got a rough idea or what's going on, without properly grasping the finer points of the biochemistry yet.

 

Indeed blue light is used therapeutically, for Seasonal Affective Mood disorder for instance, but it's to be used in morning, not at night. Biologically speaking, timing is everything. Human beings, as have all mammals, have evolved and lived without artificial light only up until very recent times, relatively speaking. We rose at sunrise and slept at sunset. So we are biologically attuned to the the sun which, through the course of the day, radiates different intensities of the light spectrum. At sunrise and sunset most of the blue and violet light is filtered out by the atmosphere, leaving the red end of the spectrum as dominant. Red and infrared are longer in wavelength than the blue and violet end of the spectrum and are violet being shortest in length is excitatory and red being longest in length, is inhibitory.

 

In my reading so far the sketch I have is that both ends of the spectrum correspond to and stimulate, or are responsible for [photo]synthesis if my reading is correct, of the excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. Serotonin, which is the precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin is inhibitory and corresponds to the red end of the light spectrum, though I did read somewhere that exposure to sunlight during the day is also essential in healthy neurotransmitter regulation. I'm still learning this stuff. 

 

Here's a good paper to read.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5299389/ 


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