Are LED Strip Lights Bad For Your Eyes?

LED strip lights offer many benefits when planning the lighting setup for your home.

They have various potential uses, they’re long-lasting, and there are multiple colors that you can choose from to create the perfect atmosphere.

But nothing is perfect, and there are some drawbacks to LED strip lights. One of those is related to health.

LED strip lights emit blue light, which can cause eye strain and headaches with continued exposure. They can also impact our body’s melatonin hormone release, leading to interrupted sleep and low energy. The effects can be reduced depending on the light color.

To help you understand more about the risks involved with LED strip lights (and any preventative steps you should take), let’s explore:

  • Whether LED strip lights emit blue light
  • The impact of various colors on sight
  • The safest LED lighting color

Do LED Strip Lights Emit Blue Light?

Electrician installing mounting tape LED strip light

LED strip lights emit a reasonable amount of light in the blue spectrum, but not always.

There are ways that you can manage the amount of blue light given off by your LEDs or how much of it you allow yourself to experience.

But first, let’s explain blue light.

Light presents itself in various different wavelengths. The shorter the wavelength, the more energy it carries.

The most extreme examples are gamma rays and x-rays at the shorter end of the spectrum and microwaves and radio waves at the higher end.

As you step up from X-rays and into the ultraviolet, you reach the visible light spectrum – that which we can see.

And at the lower end of this visible part of the spectrum is blue light, from around 380 to 500 nanometers.

Blue light has several health benefits – it promotes alertness, helps you feel more awake, and it can boost your mood.

It’s also good for your memory and other brain functions.

But because your eye can’t effectively filter blue light, it can also have some risks. These include:

  • Straining your eyes, causing pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes that feel irritated
  • Occasional headaches

Blue light can also cause issues with sleep – it can inhibit the release of the melatonin hormone in our bodies, which helps us feel drowsy and relaxed.

The health risks associated with blue light have become more pronounced over the last 20 years.

That’s not because of LED strip lights, but it’s more related to our use of computers and smartphones.

These screens emit a lot of blue light, and because of how much we use them and how close we use them to our eyes, they are known to cause issues.

But, you can’t ignore that LED lights, including strip lights, emit some blue light.

It’s not a big risk unless you tend to sit and stare at your strip lights for 8+ hours a day, but it can impact you.

Impact Of Various Colors Of LED Strip Lights On My Sight

RGB Strip light

The color of your LED strip lights will impact how much blue light we experience.

Before we get into the details, it’s worth explaining how LED lights work.

LED lights will always emit some form of blue light, but you’d be right to assume that those producing a ‘cool white’ closer to a blue-white will produce more.

Warm-white LED bulbs, which produce a more orange/yellow-white, don’t reduce the amount of blue light emitted.

Instead, they mask it with more red to balance it out.

So the blue light isn’t lessened, but its impact is, as we get more of a balance across the spectrum.

The same theory applies to white LED strip lights – the diodes will typically emit a high amount of blue light, but if you bought a warm-white strip light, then it would be balanced more.

RGB strip lights balance the colors through the mix of shades produced by the different diodes.

So if you choose more of a warm white, the red diode will be brighter while the blue may be weakened slightly, creating the blended color.

With that explained, we can now look at how different colors affect your sight.

Sticking to more blue light will be too much for your eyes to handle for long periods – they’ll start to hurt more due to the high energy of the light.

But flipping to a more red light will also have negative impacts. It’ll be harder for your eyes to focus, which could also cause them to hurt.

It will make you more tired, but it’ll wear your eyes out quite quickly too.

The more neutral colors are green and yellow in the middle. These provide more balance, with green keeping you slightly more alert and yellow being marginally more relaxing.

In regards to how LED strip lights affect sleep, blue light is pretty bad for your relaxation, although not as bad as purple.

Red will send you to sleep sooner because it relaxes you and better simulates sunset.

Ideally, you should switch off all LED strip lights before you go to sleep – that’s the healthiest thing you can do.

The best way to relax would be to switch to an orange/red color for two hours before you intend to go to sleep, before turning them off completely.

What Is The Safest LED Lighting Color?

color temperatures compared

The safest colors for your overall eye health are those closer to the middle of the visible light spectrum.

So that would be anything ranging from green through to yellow.

When it comes to whites, you want a warm white that is more of a yellow color than a cool-white blue.

Cool white blue lights are good for keeping you energized during the day, but only in short bursts – in the same way, that you wouldn’t want standing outside where it’s incredibly bright for too long.

However, lights closer to orange-red will make it harder for you to see. That’ll wear you out more.

A balance of all wavelengths is best, but in terms of colors, you should stick to greens, yellows, and warm whites if you want the safest color with the fewest effects on your eyesight.

Final Words

LED lights indeed give off a reasonable amount of blue light, more so than some older bulb types, such as incandescent.

But this is the one main drawback, which you must consider with the many benefits that LED lights provide.

Plus, LED lights are not that big of a concern compared to the blue light emitted by smartphones and computer monitors.

Just remember to use warmer colors to minimize the impact. Also, avoid sleeping with strip lights on – turn them off to give your body time to fully relax.

Have you ever noticed sore eyes when using your LED strip lights? Have you experimented with different colors to find one that works better for you?