A widely-covered report out of France this week said that the blue light in LED lighting can damage the eyes. Dell, seeing the writing on the wall, isn’t taking any chances.
Blue light can damage the retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) said in a statement, according to a report* from France24.
“Exposure to an intense and powerful [LED] light is ‘photo-toxic’ and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision,” the agency said. LEDs are often used for home lighting and in offices.
Importantly, the agency “distinguished between high-intensity LED light, and ‘chronic exposure’ to lower intensity sources,” according to the report.
LEDs on cellphones, tablets and laptop screens “do not pose a risk of eye damage because their luminosity is very low compared to other types of lighting,” an ophthalmologist and head of the expert group that conducted the review, told reporters, according to France24.
(The French agency also called into question the effectiveness of some “anti-blue light” filters and sunglasses.)
Dell isn’t taking any chances
There is still a concern, however, about prolonged chronic exposure to device screens.
“We want to reduce the risk of blue light damage. The science is still being put together,” Frank Azor , VP and General Manager, Alienware, Gaming & XPS at Dell, told me in an interview this past week.
Dell is doing this “on several of our products and rolling out more into our portfolio in the future,” he said. “As we continue to invest in higher quality, brighter displays with better color gamuts, the unintended consequence is that blue light emissions have been increasing over time.”
“A lot of research is going on in this area. There are already solutions that reduce the light but they’re software based solutions,” he said. “That often compromises the color gamut of the screen in order to reduce the blue light,” Azor said.
Software-based solutions on smartphones and PCs typically give a yellow tint to the display.
“We’ve made a considerable investment in bringing up a hardware solution that allows you to reduce blue light to unharmful levels and it does it without any compromise to the display quality and the color gamut,” he said.
Azor said Dell has partnered with Eyesafe, which is helping Dell design the solution and certify it.