CFLs cause eye disease?

Are compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs causing eye disease?

The December issue of the American Journal of Public Health has published a study entitled,”Eye Disease Resulting From Increased Use of Fluorescent Lighting as a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy”.

The abstract reads:

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.

Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “CFLs cause eye disease?”

  1. It does not matter. I am right and CFLs’ are the right thing to do. If they use less energy, then all other issues, such as eye disease are irrelevant.

    Case in point. In the state of Wyoming bald eagles are killed by wind farms at a rate that exceeds their reproduction rate. If I have the feather of a bald eagle on my person I can be fined $50,000 and 5 years in jail. What is the penalty for the wind farm owners that kill bald eagles?

  2. I’m skeptical. Fluorescent lights have been used for decades, and while they may cause some eye strain, I think these predictions are over the top.

  3. I agree with Ben of Houston. I cannot remember the last time I saw anything other than fluorescent lighting in any commercial establishment, school, doctor’s office, library, or health club. We have been exposing our entire work force and all of its customers and all of our children for decades. It seems unlikely that extending that exposure by a few hours per day will be dramatically different.

    I believe that the eye strain is the result of the strobe light-like flashing of all fluorescent bulbs. Their spark discharge occurs at 60 flashes per second, which is barely noticeable, but is distressing. Most office and commercial lighting systems use 3-phase power to increase the flash rate to 180 flashes per second. That lessens the eye-strain and headaches that many persons experience.

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