Photography Lighting is supported by readers. When you buy with our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more

This post was most recently updated on January 8th, 2023

LED light are an important part of modern life. They were invented in the early 1900s and have grown in popularity throughout the modern world. These lights work by converting electrical energy directly into the light we see, unlike conventional light sources.

The conventional light sources work by creating light though heat, so with the invention of the LED, lighting became more efficient.

Now, we can find LED light everywhere we go. However, there has been rising concern over whether these lights are damaging to us. Over the years, many sources have claimed that LED lights may have potentially negative side effects.

These side effects range from personal health to environmental factors. To learn more about LED lights and their advantages and disadvantages, keep reading.

What Are LED Lights?

As previously mentioned, LED lights create light directly from electricity. The term ‘LED’ stands for light-emitting diodes. They are incredibly popular and are used in many technologies, including smartphones, televisions, and, of course, lighting.

LED lights create high-energy blue light, which is linked to retina damage and sleep disturbances.

Are LED Lights Bad For Your Health?

These lights have been linked to several negative side effects. While more research is ultimately needed to validate these potential dangers, they are something to consider. We will go through them below and see what effects they could have on us in day-to-day life as we continue to use them.

  • Sleep Cycles – the blue light that LED lights give off is essential to our health and well being, but it plays an important part in our circadian rhythm. The sun gives off blue light, which helps us with brain function and alertness, so when we expose ourselves to this light after sunset, we are continuing to feed blue light to ourselves, which impacts or sleeping cycles.
    • Bad Sleep – an overexposure to blue light can lead to bad sleeping cycles.
  • Eye Damage and Eye Strain – extended use of LED lights has been linked to conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, eyestrain, and cataracts. This is thought to be due to the blue light that LED lighting gives off.
  • Materials Contain Toxic Elements – although only in small amounts, LED lights contain lead and arsenic. Other lights, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), also contain mercury, which is why they must be disposed on in a specific way. Even though LED lights only have some toxic elements, they are generally considered to be safe, which is why they can be disposed of with normal household waste. However, precautions can be taken when you need to handle broken glass from these sources.
  • Physical Symptoms – there are a few physical symptoms you may experience due to LED lights. These lights can do damage to various parts of the retina, which can result in impaired vision.
    • Retina Damage – a study done in 2011 showed us that the use of LED lights may lead to irreversible retinal damage. Retina damage can lead to reduced vision, as the photo-toxic light will cause a loss of retina cells. The sharpness of vision will be negatively affected.
    • Age-related Macular Degeneration – age-related macular degeneration is when the vision in the middle of your eye worsens. This condition typically impacts those in their 50s or 60s, but the use of LED lights is thought to lead to an increased risk of developing this eye disease.
    • Headaches, heat arrhythmia, chronic illness – LED lighting is often referred to as ‘dirty electricity’ (electrical sources that producing buzzing, whining, or other high-frequency noises or flickering). Because of this, it can have an effect on those with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) or electrical sensitivity (ES). Individuals with these conditions are sensitive to the electromagnetic fields, which can result in them experiencing unpleasant symptoms when using technology with LED lights or sitting or being near LED lights.

Other Potential Problems Linked To LED Lights

Other Potential Problems Linked To LED Lights

Like us, nature also relies on blue light to have a healthy circadian rhythm. When we use LED lights, the blue light it emits will have a negative impact on nature, including plants and wildlife.

Many nocturnal species can also suffer because of the use of these lights, as well as animals that need to hunt or migrate, and plants that need to grow.

Protecting Yourself From LED Lights

There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself from the negative side effects of LED lights. Below, we will go through some easy things you can do to protect yourself and others from the potential dangers of LED lights.

Helping Our Sleep Cycles

To help improve our circadian rhythms, we can use warm lighting in our bedrooms and any other places where you spend time relaxing once you have finished work.

You can also install dimmer switches throughout your home so that you can control how bright you want your environment to be at various times of the day.

Use cool-toned lighting for areas where you work, so that the blue light emitted is put to use in a good area and will not affect your circadian rhythm.

Improving Our Bad Sleep

Avoiding the use of technology with blue light at least an hour before you go to bed can be very beneficial. If you are unable to do this, use night mode on your screen to help eliminate blue light late at night when you need to sleep.

Preventing Eye Damage And Eye Strain

To reduce the risk of eyestrain and eye damage, only purchase bulbs from reputable retailers or manufacturers. They need to have good safety regulations and high quality products.

Additionally, made sure to use diffusers and lampshades, and never stare at LED lights for an extended period of time (anyone over 1 minute can be very harmful).

Handling Materials That Contain Toxic Elements

While there is nothing we can do about the materials used to create LEDs, there are precautions we can take when handling the broken glass from them. When a bulb breaks, consider using safety equipment such as rubber gloves, safety goggles and a mask.

This will not only prevent you from cutting yourself, but also stop you from inhaling any potentially dangerous chemicals present. If you have to disassemble an LED bulb, always make sure that you are in a well-ventilated room.

Preventing Physical Symptoms

To help with your physical symptoms, choose dimmers and dimmable LED bulbs. These must have high quality circuits components to reduce the likelihood of flickering.

Additionally, look for bulbs with a suitable beam angle, and make sure to position lampshades and other lighting fixtures in a way that will reduce glare. Selecting matte paints is a great way to reduce glare in the house, too, as glossy pains will cause the light to bounce off the walls

There are many things we can do to protect ourselves from the potentially harmful effects of LED lights. The use of blue-light blocking glasses are a popular way to decrease the amount of blue light that reaches the eye.

However, there is no evidence to funny back up the hypothesis that these glasses will protect or improve your eye health.

It is likely that reducing the use of technologies with blue light will help with many of the side effects. This can be very difficult to do in our modern society, though, as technology is at the forefront of most of our lives.

In you follow the points mentioned above, the risk of experiencing negative side effects brought on by blue light will decrease greatly. It is likely that doing that is our best protection.

Final Thoughts

LED lights play an important role in society, and it has been confirmed that they can have unpleasant side effects. However, that does not mean that we should stop using the products that contain in.

Instead, we should learn about how to protect ourselves and take the necessary precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

If you are worried about the effects of LED lights in your home, or are suffering because of blue light, follow the aforementioned steps. Doing this should help you, and you are likely to see and feel a difference in a short amount of time.