The blue-tinted screens of cellphones and other electronic devices damage vision and may cause or precipitate macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the United States, according to researchers from the University of Toledo (UT) in Ohio.

A study published recently in the journal Scientific Reports details the process by which prolonged exposure to blue light causes a “toxic” chemical reaction in the retinal molecules and can kill photoreceptor cells.

“It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina,” said UT professor Ajith Karunarathne, one of the study’s authors. “Our experiments explain how this happens, and we hope this leads to therapies that slow macular degeneration, such as a new kind of eye drop.”

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