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Old 02-08-2012, 11:18 AM #1
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Question Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

Hello again,

I am going to be purchasing a ~1W 445nm laser to fill my desire for the beautiful blue part of the spectrum! I really like the ability to lower the output to a more manageable level of 200mW or so with 1 18650 rather than 2 16340 since I am not used to something as powerful yet. I primarily want the laser to admire the beam rather than for burning so I realized I won't be able to use goggles for that. It seems the consensus on LPF is the only time to take goggles off is when appreciating the beam...

I know that macular degeneration is something my grandmother suffered from (I am 31) so I realize I might potentially have a genetic disposition to it and I am a bit afraid of contributing to making myself more susceptible. However I really desperately want to be able to own a blue laser!

I was doing a little searching about B.L.H. outside of the LPF forums and it was discussing exposures as short as 15 minutes causing permanent photochemical damage (photoreceptor cell death) in rats with just ambient exposure not strong enough for thermal damage. This was found the next day, not years later. In addition a couple studies were suggesting that intensity was a very minor factor and that wavelength (440nm) being the most critical cause in this.

I guess my question to the LPF community is if you limit your expsure time when viewing blue laser's beams without goggles. I remember reading InfinitusEquitus stating that he experienced yellow dots when looking at surprisingly lower mW blue laser dots. Has anyone experienced yellow vision when viewing beams only?

Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated!

Here are the links to the studies I found interesting related to Blue light Hazard that I don't think I've seen on the forums yet. The latter one discusses the rat tests I mentioned, and the first is very informative too.

http://www.healingtheeye.com/Article...ght_hazard.pdf

http://www.naasln.org/documents/arti...blue_light.pdf


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Old 02-08-2012, 11:26 AM #2
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

There's already a discussion on this here.

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Old 02-08-2012, 11:29 AM #3
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

I have never experienced any change in vision after viewing 445nm beams. However, I probably never view the beam for more than 30-45 seconds at a time.

Thanks for the links to those articles.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:35 AM #4
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

Thanks for the link Lase, I have spent time reading that thread. I wanted to bring up the question if people limit their exposure times to even 445nm beams after reading this research article about 15 minutes worth of lower amounts of blue light causing photoreceptor cell death in rats within a day of exposure.

This could be new information that others have not read and besides i figured that was a relatively old thread others had already commented was old when new posts were added.

Garoq that is good to hear that you have never experienced the yellow artifacts.

I am still interested in getting a 445nm blue laser! I am thinking about limiting my exposure time to short bursts of 30 seconds or so with time to recover, as its always good to lean on the side of caution when the research is still ongoing

My apologies if I posted this improperly I only wanted to bring attention to this information which seemed more in depth and concerning than I had read before here on the forums.

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Old 02-08-2012, 04:49 PM #5
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

Same here as with Gary - no artifacts or afterimages. I can look at the spot of my 50mW pointer on a distant white wall with none of the aforementioned effects as well. Duration may be key here though, I don't think I've ever looked at a spot for more than 4seconds.

Beamviewing should be completely safe though as long as it is only for a few minutes or less. I can see how >1W and in super heavy fog (the kind you can't see through with a light on!) could be a problem though, so best to avoid that, haha.

One thing that gets neglected a lot is your vitamin intake. Vitamin A is one of the most essential nutrients your eyes need to maintain and replace photochemicals. Always consult a doctor before taking any supplements (and if you're uninsured like me, do your damn reading first! Too much direct Vitamin A is toxic, beta carrotene which is a precursor is safer.). I *used to* get very long duration afterimages ("spots") in my vision from photo flash and even from true 5mW green pointers until I upped my vitamin A intake. It gradually stopped happening within weeks, and I noticed a very considerable improvement in my night vision acuity.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:35 PM #6
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

Here is an interesting article on this, it looks like the initial research may have been prompted by something called "Blue Light Therapy" as a treatment for depression.

Information for Therapists on Light Therapy and Retinal Damage

It is primarily the blue wavelengths of light (400-480 nm) emitted by light therapy lamps that are of concern. Blue light contributes about 90% of the risk of photochemical retinal damage from fluorescent lamps and sunlight, which is why the term "blue light hazard" is used to describe this risk. When blue light is absorbed by retinal tissue it induces oxidative stress and the causes the formation of indigestible debris which accumulates in the outer retina. The cummulative effect of chronic, sub-lethal oxidative retinal stress and the accumulation of oxidative debris in the outer retina contributes to the development of AMD.

The largest American epidemiological study indicates that a moderate daily increase in exposure to blue light of young adults, in their teens and thirties, advances the onset of macular degeneration later in life by 10 years. This would double the likelihood of becoming blind in one’s lifetime7a, 7b. Several specialists involved in macular degeneration research now recommend sunglasses that block blue visible light be used by people of all ages to limit the amount of blue light reaching the retina over a lifetime.

AMD is a severe problem that is approaching epidemic proportions. 25% of people in the developed world will have vision problems caused by AMD by age 75, (10% of people aged 65-74 and 25% over 75 have severe vision loss) 8a. For people with a family history of macular degeneration, the prevalence of severe vision loss increases to 54% at age 75, and 64% at age 858b. As retinal oxidative stress is a causative factor for the development of AMD, increasing levels of exposure to blue light wavelengths from light therapy lamps can only increase the likelihood of developing AMD.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:45 PM #7
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

I know that I am not supposed to double post, but I thought that this article deserved its own place... I promise that I will not do it again for quite some time.

Blue LEDs: A health hazard? | Texyt

Could a common component used in consumer electronics lead to eyestrain, headaches, disturbed sleep, and even increase the risk of cancer? It sounds alarmist, but in fact the first three of these claims are accepted as fact by experts in relevant fields – the last, the risk of cancer, is unproven.

So what's the deadly component? The blue LED. Yes, those bright blue sparks of light on mobile phones, PCs, toasters, TVs, monitors, air purifiers, medical equipment, electric toothbrushes, and thousands of other products.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:32 PM #8
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

As pointed out in the articles above, all fluorescent and "white" LED lighting output strong lines in the blue spectrum.

So, I see two solutions:
1) wear blue blockers as much as physically possible while awake. (yellow Eagle Pair, anyone? )
2) accept that our eyes have a limited lifespanm be it from sun exposure or indoor lighting, or lasers (or anything else that emits <500nm). Continue living life to the fullest not obscessing about the future's doom, but still reduce unneccessary risks and try to limit excessive wear on our bodies.

I'll take #2. As much as I like my Eagle Pair, I don't think I'm going to start sporting them every waking moment. My life would be much the poorer without experiencing 1/3 of the spectrum anyway.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:54 AM #9
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

Sigurthr, that is fascinating regarding your direct experience in the reduction in after image after taking vitamin A / Beta Carotene. That is really good to know and something I will definitely put on my shopping list! I definately get what your saying about the amount of blue we are exposed to simply by living. It would be really interesting to know the amount of blue light absorbed by 10 minute beam viewing of a 1w 445nm compared to being outdoors for 8 hours or so in the peak of a summer day without sunglasses. (Although I guess sunglasses don't screen out blue? Maybe only UV?)

Tsteele93 - Thanks very much also for those links I appreciated being able to read those. It is interesting that a lot of the discussion on this stemmed from depression related light therapy. Here in Canada the government has banned incandescent bulbs to save electricity and I know that one of the complaints was about the different wavelengths people would then be exposed to as a result of having no choice but to use fluorescent. I know a lot of people that stockpiled and purchased a TON of incandescent bulbs to keep going for many years.

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Old 02-09-2012, 04:20 PM #10
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigurthr View Post
As pointed out in the articles above, all fluorescent and "white" LED lighting output strong lines in the blue spectrum.

So, I see two solutions:
1) wear blue blockers as much as physically possible while awake. (yellow Eagle Pair, anyone? )
2) accept that our eyes have a limited lifespanm be it from sun exposure or indoor lighting, or lasers (or anything else that emits <500nm). Continue living life to the fullest not obscessing about the future's doom, but still reduce unneccessary risks and try to limit excessive wear on our bodies.

I'll take #2. As much as I like my Eagle Pair, I don't think I'm going to start sporting them every waking moment. My life would be much the poorer without experiencing 1/3 of the spectrum anyway.
I was actually thinking #1. You could be kinda like Micheal Jackson with his mask, kind of a trademark thing that you were known for...

On a more serious note, I think that eye safety is of utmost importance - but I also think that if lasers were as dangerous as some folks act like they're then we would already be seeing an "epidemic" of eye injuries from the massive amount of 10x over spec lasers being sold on eBay and amazon. Clearly the damage is harder to inflict than the 5mW limit implies and there is some headroom built into that safety limit.
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:16 PM #11
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

Yeah. If someone is looking to improve the quality of their life, limiting blue light exposure is the most ridiculous place to start.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:22 PM #12
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

Those Eagle Pair goggles ARE pretty comfortable though.... this could be the excuse I've been looking for to never take them off and constantly look cool!

Last edited by Ghostchrome; 02-09-2012 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:42 PM #13
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Default Re: Blue Light Hazard ~ Beam viewing ~ Do you limit your exposure?

Haha, you got that right, Ghost! They really are pretty damn comfortable. My other goggles/glasses etc don't even compare in comfort.
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