Are neon LED signs harmful to your eyes?

Neon signs are so beautiful and bright that you cannot help but stare at them. But too much of a good thing is always bad right? Looking at a source of light -be it the sun, CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light), or neon signs- is harmful to your eyes, right?

Neon LED signs with warm white LED are not harmful to the eyes. They are not very bright and they produce negligible amount of blue light between 400-490 nm(nanometers).

The rest of the article will explain topics related to this question. Such as what kind of lights are harmful, which neon LED is best for our eyes and impact of LED on our eyes.

What kind of lights are harmful to our eyes?

According to a study, “2000 to 3500 K and greater than 500 nm range of light is safe.”

This means that blue light in the visible range can cause harm to our eyes. But blue light is commonly divided into two categories: short-wave and long-wave blue light.
source: Heiting, Gary. ‘Blue Light and Displays’. Eyesafe

In fact, short-wave blue light which fall between 415 nm to 455 nm may cause some eye irritation. A detailed study in 2018 found that short-wave blue light may lead to dry eye and disruption of sleep cycle.

But, longer wave blue light such as 455 to 495 nm do not have cause harm to our eyes. In fact, these longer wave blue lights have shown to help regulate our sleep cycle.

Warm white LED vs cold white LED

Warm White LED generates around 3000 Kelvin Degrees (3000K) of temperature color. Warm white is the closest to the incandescent light bulb (your old traditional light bulb). It offers a softer light that is suitable for most home situations.

Whereas, cold white LED generates between 5000-6000 Kelvin Degrees (5000-6000K) of temperature color. Use cold white LED in the kitchen and bathroom.

Nowadays, most of the LED lamps use a blue LED coated in a phosphor material to generate the white light. LED of wavelength around 470 nm does not contain UVA, UVB, or UVC wavelengths that are harmful.

How do our eyes perceive visible light

All the different parts of your eyes work together to help you see.

First, light passes through the cornea (the clear front layer of the eye). The shape of the cornea is like a dome and bends light to help the eye focus.

Some of this light enters the eye through an opening called the pupil. A slit in the pupil called the iris (the colored part of the eye) controls how much light the pupil lets in.

Next, light passes through the lens (a clear inner part of the eye). The lens works together with the cornea to focus light on the retina.

A retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. The retina has special cells called photo receptors. The photo receptors trigger electrical signals when they detect light. Rods and cones will send these signals through nerves that reach into the brain.

These electrical signals travel from the retina through the optic nerve to the brain. Then the brain turns the signals into the images you see.

Which neon LED color is best for our eyes?

As we know, neon LED are the new generation of lights. Neon LED is popular for office decors to advertisement signs to celebration signs. Almost every color in the visible spectrum is possible with neon LED lights.

The best neon LED color for our eyes is the yellow color. Yellow color neon LED has longer wave length so our eyes do not have to strain to view it. It is easily visible.

But, you should not overexpose our eyes to any color. An advantage to neon LED lights is the dimmable feature. It allows you to dim the intensity of the light to lower levels to protect your eye and lessen the strain on your eyes.

How to protect your eyes from UV rays

UV rays are present in almost every source of light from the sunlight to our phone screens. There are some measures that you can take to lessen the impact of UV rays in your eyesight.

Take a break for your eyes

The simplest way to help prevent overexposure to light is to limit exposure. Be sure to take regular breaks away from the screen. You can also take heed of the 20-20-20 rule.

Every 20 minutes, take a break from your computer to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This technique can help you avoid eye strain. It also serves as a regular reminder to be conscious of UV light exposure.

Look into computer glasses

Invest in a pair of computer glasses if you spend a considerable amount of time looking at screens. Computer glasses have yellow-tinted lenses of computer glasses which block harmful UV rays.

You can also get glasses for your exact working distance. Then it can help to relax the eyes while working and also help in reducing eye strain.

Invest in no-glare lenses

If you work during night-time then you should invest into no-glare lenses. Night-time affects color recognition, peripheral vision, and depth perception.

But, no-glare lenses can make driving at night safer and more comfortable. The lenses make you see clearer, and protect your eyes from distracting reflections. It can also provide relief from eye fatigue.


There are also medicinal alternatives which can help prevent eyesight damage. Experts recommend supplements containing vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

People taking these premixed eye vitamins were 25% less likely to develop eye disease.

Impact of LED on your eyes

Long term exposure to LED light has raised concern among researchers. AMD(Age-related Macular Degeneration) has been a leading cause of blindness in the western world.

However, a study said there's no risk of LED on healthy population. Overexposure during the late evenings and the night time can impact sleep cycle.

But the study did note that children and vulnerable groups of people may be at risk to LED emissions.

The study said, “Children have a higher sensitivity to blue light. Older people may experience discomfort from exposure to light that is rich in blue light.”

Previous studies have associated eyesight problems with long-term exposure to bright sunshine. They found blue light in daylight as the root of the problem.


Thus, the key points to take away if eyesight problems from LED lights worries you are:

  • Take note of the wavelength of your LED devices. Try to limit UV ray exposure which can have adverse effects on our eyesight. Use filters for screens if necessary.
  • Choose warm white LED and yellow-like lights which do not strain eyesight.
  • LED does not have harmful impact on our eyesight but overexposure can cause some problems.
UV rays are the most harmful to our eyesight so you should take precautions to avoid them.

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