How does LED light affect our organism?
How does LED light affect our organism?
We all care about our health and we would definitely want to know what kind of light-exposures may harm ours. There is a lot of noise over the influence of LED lights in health but it may also be hard sometimes to find trustworthy information nowadays. That’s why we have decided to write this post.
We have decided to approach this subject by using common sense. Let us explain ourselves.
First things first. Let’s start analysing which parameters or qualities of light may affect our organism, whatever is the way they possible do it, and then we will go into how LED lights work in relation.
- Light’s intensity
- Stroboscopic effect (flickering)
- Light’s spectrum
The Possible Issues
How can light’s intensity harm us?
Well, it is right, light’s intensity may harm our organisms and here go two ways it could happen. We’ll shortly go through them.
- High-intensity lights at a close distance may burn. This can apply to your eyes or even skin.
- Highly focused lights may dazzle your eyes. This situation is not directly harmful since your eyes usually will close immediately as a natural reaction but it may cause secondary problems like a potential car accident.
What is the stroboscopic effect (flickering) and how can it harm us?
Almost every sort of light produces some kind of flickering effect. But the influence of flickering has a lot to do with its frequence. Some studies tell us light can possibly cause epileptic attacks when working at a frequency between 3 and 70 Hz (Hertz = rps = revolutions per second). It is also possible to get headaches, vision stress and other similar issues when we are exposed to light working up to 160-170 HZ. About this whole point we must take into account that we are not equally sensitive to light exposure and therefore, we would react differently. To be done here, it is worth mentioning that human the eye & brain are capable to perceive flickering in lights lower than 200 Hz.
What is the light spectrum and how can it affect us?
The light spectrum refers to the radio wave which determines the color of the light. Nowadays, it is clear for everyone that light’s color have a different effect in our organism process but it is still uncertain what the level of this is, or at least it is still under research and discussions. Some voices even talk about a correlation between light and illness such as cancer while some others suggest light colors may help to heal. What we know for sure is that light color warmness has effects on our brains and organism due to its similarity to sunlight states. This happens because our organisms have adapted during millenniums to the rise and setting of the sun. This means that our organisms follow a certain process when the light around us is cold or warm for some time. As a matter of facts, we get into an active mood with cold light exposure and into a sleepy mood with the warm one. This all means that being exposed to artificial light for long periods during the wrong hours, may cause problems with our circadian rhythms and this is a side issue that our new technology and style of life is delivering. The question is: Will we be able to adapt our organisms fast enough to avoid potential health problems?
Until here, we have taken a look at the lights factors which have the potential to harm our organisms. Let’s try to solve here how these factors may act when it is all about LED lights.
- High-intensity lights. Good news! Normally, LED lights do not get warm and therefore, there is (in normal circumstances) nothing to worry about LED lights burning us in any way. (We talk here about LED lighting, NOT LED LASERS)
- Highly focused lights. The LED light is powerful and perfectly capable of dazzling, in which case we can get blinded for a few seconds. Against what a lot of people believe, LED lights can shine at least as much as most light sources. We should therefore be careful with the glare.
Again, some Good News here! LED light does not flicker. It is always better to acquire good quality lights to be sure there is no problem but, no LED light working in terms of on & off conditions should flicker. To be a bit more specific, dimmable LED lights may flicker under two conditions:
- When the LED light is being dimmed with a not LED dimmer or simply a cheap one. The problem is that when using these options to dim LED light, this one may flicker in a slower-than-200Hz frequency, potentially causing the issues mentioned before in our organisms.
- In some cases, even with a proper good quality LED dimmer, the light can still flicker. The difference is that in this case light will flicker at frequencies way over 200Hz which our eyes and brain cannot follow so they interpret it as a continuous light.
This point may be the hardest one to deal with. The rhythm of society and evolution is something that goes on and on and we simply cannot stop even though sometimes we feel it does not go completely the right way. Let’s explain this with an example:
Imagine someone who works in the winter until 20:30 or even later, when in most places it’s been night for a while already. In the workplace, they are using cold or too bright lighting in order to ease work. The consequences of this is light “cheating” our several-millenniums-developed organisms by faking the daylight when it’s actually night outside.
Examples such as the last one may happen in both work and home situations.
About the conflict with our organism and fake light: It is not something which happens only with LED lights but with any kind and the long term consequences or how quickly our organisms may adapt to it are still unknown. But we do know that small/medium issues like migraines, lack of sleep and general discomfort may happen in the short/mid-run.
We can ease these effects by choosing quality light for the workplaces which are made by trustworthy brands, possess high quality LED light and feature dimmable drivers in order to also fake the ending hours of the day getting our organisms into a sleepy mood.
Good quality LED light solves most problems that the rest of the light sources used to cause to our organisms. The issues which are not solved such as dazzling and to be exposed to the wrong colour/intensity during wrong times depend a lot on human choices such as which light we acquire and how we program them. We hope this information was useful for you.