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Blue Light From Smartphones Accelerates Blindness

Blue light introduced to other cell types in the body, such as cancer cells, heart cells and neurons, they died as a result of the combination with retinal. Blue light alone or retinal without blue light had no effect on cells.

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Young people using smartphones. (Photo courtesy Kuvituskuvat via Flickr) (VOA)
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Are you addicted to your smartphones, laptops and tablets? The blue light emitting from these digital devices can affect your eye’s retina and lead to age-related macular degeneration, according to a research led by a professor of Indian-origin.

Macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease that results in significant vision loss starting on average in a person in his 50s or 60s, is the death of photoreceptor cells in the retina. Those cells need molecules called retinal to sense light and trigger a cascade of signalling to the brain.

The findings showed that blue light exposure causes retinal to trigger reactions that generate poisonous chemical molecules in photoreceptor cells.

 The blue light emitting from these digital devices can affect your eye's retina
The blue light emitting from these digital devices can affect your eye’s retina . Flickr

“We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye’s cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it,” said Ajith Karunarathne, Assistant Professor, University of Toledo in Ohio, US.

“It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina,” he added.

Since photoreceptors, produced in the eye, are useless without retinal, one needs a continuous supply of retinal molecules to see.

“It’s toxic. If you shine blue light on retinal, the retinal kills photoreceptor cells as the signalling molecule on the membrane dissolves,” explained Kasun Ratnayake, doctoral student researcher at the varsity.

How blue light accelerates blindness
If you shine blue light on retinal, the retinal kills photoreceptor cells. Pixabay

“Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they’re dead, they’re dead for good.”

In the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, when the team introduced blue light to other cell types in the body, such as cancer cells, heart cells and neurons, they died as a result of the combination with retinal. Blue light alone or retinal without blue light had no effect on cells.

Also Read: Treating Blindness With Stem Cell Therapy

“The retinal-generated toxicity by blue light is universal. It can kill any cell type,” Karunarathne said.

To protect your eyes from the blue light, wear sunglasses that can filter both UV and blue light outside and avoid looking at your cell phones or tablets in the dark, he suggested. (IANS)

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WhatsApp Sets A Forward Message Limit To 5 Chats

Media reports surfaced this week, claiming the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had asked telecom companies for ways to block social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram and Instagram in case of threat to national security and public order.

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WhatsApp officially rolls out forward message limit for Indian users. Pixabay
WhatsApp officially rolls out forward message limit for Indian users. Pixabay

With the Indian government talking tough on WhatsApp’s failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platorm, the instant messaging service on Wednesday said it has begun rolling out its forward message limit to five chats for over 200 million users in India.

The Facebook-owned platform last month announced to launch a test to limit message forwarding to five chats in India.

“The limit has started to appear this week for people in India who are on the current version of WhatsApp,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

In addition, the instant messasing app also published a new video to educate its users, saying it is expanding its user education campaign on how to spot fake news and hoaxes.

“This week, WhatsApp is publishing a new video that explains the importance of the ‘forward’ label and calls users to ‘double check the facts when you’re not sure who created the original message,'” said the company.

The Forward Message Limit Is Set To 5 Chats
The Forward Message Limit Is Set To 5 Chats

People forward more messages, photos, and videos in India than any other country in the world.

Globally, the company allows users to forward messages for up to 20 chats (either individuals or groups).

WhatsApp said that with new changes, which it will continue to evaluate, “will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app”.

“We are deeply committed to your safety and privacy which is why WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, and we’ll continue to improve our app with features like this one,” it said in an earlier statement.

Media reports surfaced this week, claiming the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had asked telecom companies for ways to block social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram and Instagram in case of threat to national security and public order.

Also Read: ‘Picture-In-Picture’ Mode Under Construction for Whatsapp

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), however, said the government should look for “more effective” steps to curb fake news and maintain public order, instead of blocking mobile applications. (IANS)