Eye Disease Resulting From Increased Use of Fluorescent Lighting

Fluorescent lighting may cause cataracts: “warm light” bulbs are safer than “cool light” bulbs.

Walls et al. Am J Public Health. 101(12):2222-2225. 2011.

Increased use of fluorescent lighting as a climate change mitigation strategy may increase eye disease. The safe range of light to avoid exposing the eye to potentially damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation is 2000 to 3500K and greater than 500 nanometers. Some fluorescent lights fall outside this safe range. Fluorescent lighting may increase UV-related eye diseases by up to 12% and, according to our calculations, may cause an additional 3000 cases of cataracts and 7500 cases of pterygia annually in Australia. Greater control of UV exposure from fluorescent lights is required. This may be of particular concern for aging populations in developed countries and countries in northern latitudes where there is a greater dependence on artificial lighting.

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