Do LED grow lights harm your vision?
Yes, LED grow lights can damage your eyes..
What Types Of Light Can Cause Us Harm?
Any type of light can be harmful to our eyesight, if it is powerful enough. If you’ve ever looked directly at a powerful light source, you’ll know this (and hopefully have looked away quickly enough before any serious harm was done).
However, some types of light are much more harmful than others and even small amounts of certain light can damage our eyes. Before we discuss those types of light, let’s take a look at the complete electromagnetic spectrum.
As you can see, the range of light that is visible to the human eye occupies a narrow band that is sandwiched between UV light on the left (shorter wavelengths) and infrared light on the right (longer wavelengths). To simplify things a bit: the shorter the wavelength, the greater the harm to us. Thus, the wavelengths of light we need to worry about most are blue light and UV light, with the latter being more dangerous than the former.
UV light is further broken down into UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UVA is the closest to visible light, which means it has the longest wavelength and is also the least harmful. UVC is the most harmful. Light from the sun contains all three, but our atmosphere filters out most of the UV-C light. UV-A and UV-B get through the atmosphere and cause us harm. They are the reason we need to wear sunscreen and UV-blocking sunglasses.
When it comes to artificial grow lights, they all contain varying degrees of blue and UV light. Reddish grow lights, like HPS, only contains small amounts. Bluer lights, like Metal Halide or fluorescent, contain much more. LED grow lights are a little more complicated.
Are LED Grow Lights Harmful To Humans?
LED plant lights with a lot of blue and UV diodes can be harmful. The same goes for all-white lights that emit a cooler white light (5000 Kelvin and higher).
The type and amount of harm an LED light can cause depends on the color and the intensity. Any powerful light can hurt our eyes if we stare directly at it, but that is an easy enough thing to avoid. Just don't stare into your lights.
Apart from that, let's look at the actual effects of blue and UV light, the two wavelengths that are harmful to humans.
Effect Of Blue Light On Our Eyes
Blue light can also negatively impact our vision. Our cornea does not do a good job of blocking blue light, meaning almost all of the blue light that hits our eyes penetrates all the way through to the retina. Too much blue light has been proven to damage light sensitive cells on the retina. This brings about changes that are similar to macular degeneration, which can result in permanent vision loss.
This is obviously an extreme case and would require a lot of blue light exposure, but we get much more of it these days than ever before, thanks to our various screens (computer, phone, TV, etc.). Adding in high amounts of blue light from your grow room is a definite cause for concern.
The research so far is limited and we lack a good understanding of the long-term effects of too much blue light, and even how much blue light is too much. Nevertheless, it makes sense to err on the side of caution and take steps to protect our eyes.
Effect Of UV Lights On Our Eyes
All three types of ultraviolet light can damage our eyesight, but UVC does by far the most damage. Luckily, our atmosphere blocks out most of it, and it is generally not emitted by most grow lights. Those that do contain UVC light, only emit very small amounts.
Because UV-A light passes through the cornea, it has been linked to conditions resulting from damage to the retina, like certain types of cataracts. It may also play a role in the development of macular degeneration.
Since UV-B light does not hit the retina, it does not cause those same issues. Instead, it may help cause pingueculae and pterygia, which are growths on the eye's surface. It can also cause a painful inflammation of the cornea called photokeratitis, which can cause temporary vision loss in extreme cases.
Effect Of LED Lights On Eyes
Most LED fixtures contain varying degrees of blue light and UV-A diodes. Some also contain UV-B diodes (very rare) or supplemental UV-B bulbs. These lights may also emit some UV-C light.
We now know that both UV-A and UV-B light can damage our eyes and that blue light can result in negative effects as well. Whether we need to worry depends on the level of exposure.
Do You Need Glasses For LED Grow Lights?
If you just have a small light fixture and/or you don't spend much time beneath the lights, you don't have to worry. The UV levels are not high enough to cause damage with such minimal exposure.
However, if you have powerful lights and you spend a lot of time working beneath them, I highly recommend you get some from of eye protection.
The following are three best LED grow lights:
- ECO Farm ECOZ Pro 700W/1000W series was the latest trend and most popular for its good design and ease of use.
- Full spectrum: the light include IR and UV which is similar to the sunshine, ideal for all kinds of indoor plants veg and flower at all growth stages.
- Three channels: veg, bloom, UV.
- It is a perfect top-lighting solution for commercial horticulture cultivation, or a full-cycle top-lighting solution for home hobbyists cultivating.
- ECO Farm MB3 PRO 760W foldable LED plant grow hydroponic lights with Samsung 301B chips changeable spectrum light strips use superior quality white chips (Samsung 301B) and Red chips (Osram) on each bar, this high quality LED light is able to support your plants’ photosynthesis in an optimal, efficient way. Suitable for every grow stage of plants.
- The fixture can fold up to 180 degrees, making it compact and easy to install; It won’t take up much space, thus keeping your storage room tidy.
- With dimming options, this LED grow light can satisfy a range of needs; Moreover, this fixture is compatible with a master controller, so you can adjust this LED light to accurate parameters in a convenient, quick way.
- This light offers great help for all stages of plant growth; It offers more than enough warm white light, which boosts plants’ blooms, making flowers bigger and more vivid; Blue light promotes plants’ germination, and red light leads to higher yields when combined with blue light.
- ECO Farm MB3 PRO version 760W foldable grow light could offer 2128 μmol/s output, providing a great amount of Efficacy 2.8 μmol/J. High efficiency, long lifetime, save energy.
- High-efficiency full spectrum grow light: ECO Farm SP series led grow light have Samsung LM281B LEDs(3000k+5000k) +RED 660nm+IR 730nm +UV 395nm, provides the plant with the full spectrum from seeding to flowering. Ideal for indoor plants all stages growing, rapid plant response from seed to flower, speeds up flowering time and boost yields
- Market-leading efficiency to 2.6 µmol/J and 2.5g yield per wattage with 30% higher average PPFD
- Realize large-area harvest with LED lighting: Easy to dimming and heat dissipation, waterproof power supply, aluminum housing, long power supply life, suitable for large rooms and commercial places, make your plants get more energy, and get maximum headroom without burning plants
- Optional touch screen controller, an idea for commercial growing (max 100 lights) &timing and dimmable function.
- All in one design, build-in driver, free assemble, save time and shipping fee
- Low Noise & Low Heat: No fans needed meaning low noise; Ambient heat is very low, so there is no need to worry about burns or damage to your plant
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