It was recently brought to our attention by an eye specialist that the amount of Ultra Violet radiation emitted by many of the new green energy bulbs is equivalent to being out on a sunny day. Would you expose your eyes to that level of radiation with out UV protection on your sunglasses ?
UV light is widely regarded as one of the causes of cataracts. The invisible UV component of sunlight promotes free radical damage in the lens. The greater the light intensity the greater the UV radiation dosage and resulting damage.
The impact of radiation is cumulative over ones life and thus we see the formation of skin cancers many years after sun exposure.
Some vitamin supplements can help with the prevention of cataracts and macula degeneration, but in most cases cataracts gradually get worse and an operation is required to remove the damaged lens and the insertion of a synthetic lens. These synthetic lenses have improved enormously over the years and one has no longer to wear the bottle bottom lens types in order to have good vision. However the operation is a somewhat uncomfortable experienced for a few weeks during the post operative healing process for many patients.
The Health Protection Agency in the UK have been one of the first to identify the problem with the new bulbs. The industry Lighting group has commissioned further independent research into the claims and have welcomed the precautionary advice issued.
More recently the Australian Government Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency conducted test on a number of well known branded lights and found that of the brands they tested that the bulbs did not created hazardous conditions for most skin types. However they did not address the impact of build up of radiation and the impact on eyesight with regard to development of cataracts.
The most comprehensive literature I can find on this matter suggests that more research is needed to determine if these bulbs can have negative health impacts. Green Facts.org give a reasonably balanced picture on the current status.
In conclusion – if there is danger – why not take the precaution of ensuring that if you work with a compact fluorescent lamp at your desk, make sure its got a cover and that your eyes are protected from any potential UV harm and preferably that you use an encapsulated double envelope such as that on the right of the picture below.