Are Grow Lights Bad for Your Eyes?

Grow lights, as beneficial as they are, can cause harm to plants if not used correctly. You probably have kept in mind the hanging distance, hydration, and cooling to be sure your grow lights are helping your plants grow and develop.

But, how about you? Have you thought about the possible effects of grow lights on your eyes? Grow lights can be bad for your eyes; they have a higher intensity than the human eye cannot handle when exposed for a long time.

In this article, you will understand how different grow lights can affect your vision and cause damage to your eyes. You will also learn how to protect your eyes when using grow lights.

Key Takeaways

  • The human eye needs well-balanced light to see clearly, distinguish shapes and movements.
  • Prolonged exposure to both LED and HPS grow lights can be harmful to your eyes.
  • You can use protective eyewear to help balance the light reaching your eyes, protecting them from harm.

How The Eye Interprets Light

The function of the human eye can be complex and a topic that can be challenging to understand. But, in simple terms, the eye has photoreceptors known as rods and cones. These function to enable us to see clearly and distinguish colors, shapes, and movement [1].

Each rod and cone is stimulated by different wavelengths of color. Natural light or a balanced white light that provides an equal spectrum provides the ideal condition for the human eye to see clearly.

That said, only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is interpretable to the human eye. This band exists between shorter wavelengths of UV lights and longer wavelengths of infrared light.

The higher the light frequency, the lower the wavelength and the higher the risk of harm. This is why UV light and blue light are an ongoing concern as it has shown the highest potential to cause harm.

Are Grow Lights Bad For Your Eyes?

Most artificial lights generally contain varying shades of UV and blue light, which, as mentioned, pose the highest risk if the eye is exposed to them for a long time. Ideally, you should not look directly at the grow lights to minimize the effects.

HPS lights and other reddish grow lights have very small amounts of blue shade, which is less harmful. That said, bluish grow lights like fluorescent lights are more dangerous.

The Effect of Grow Lights on Human Vision

The effect of grow lights can be minimal or extensive, depending on the specific type of lights you have in your grow tent. On this note, the most common types of grow lights are LED and HPS lights. Their effects on human vision are discussed below.

The Effect of LED Lights on Eyes

LED lights have grown their popularity among indoor growers owing to their efficiency and lower maintenance compared to other types of lights. LED lights have improved light quality, and this has contributed to their wide suitability.

However, as fast as their growth comes concerns about the potential harm that they could bring about [2]. So, what are the effects of LED lights?

Improved LED lights currently in wide use emit high-intensity optical radiation across the infrared, ultraviolet, and visible spectrums. On this note, there are different risks associated with different light wavelengths.

When it comes to LED lights, the risk depends on the color and intensity of the specific LED light you use. That said, LED lights with higher blue and UV diodes can cause more harm than all-white lights.

The good thing is most LED lights are reviewed to ensure they are safe for use before distribution. The intensities are assessed to ascertain they are on safe levels to function well without posing health risks.

The Effect of HPS Lights on Eyes

HPS lights are a great alternative to LED lights and are considered some of the most economical options on the market. They distribute large amounts of lumens with low power consumption, therefore suitable for long periods of use [3].

The light emitted from HPS lights contains a limited amount of UV light and blue light. These lights have a limited amount of shorter wavelength light, making them safer for the eyes than other types of grow light.

However, HPS lights can also be intense and prolonged exposure can cause harm. These lights concentrate an area with a yellow glow, yet the human eye needs a broad spectrum to see clearly.

The cones in the eyes function to detect yellow and orange light, while the rods function to detect blue hints. With HPS lights, there is an imbalance since the cones detect too much yellow light leaving the rods underutilized.

On the same note, distinguishing shapes and movement becomes quite challenging as these are detected by rods. In addition to limited vision, using HPS lights can bring about a strobe effect.

The strobe effect happens during the cycling of the AC voltage, whereby the bulb dims slightly and becomes brighter simultaneously. In normal lighting circumstances, the eye naturally adjusts, but under HPS lights, it takes quite some time for the eye to adjust.

Therefore, prolonged exposure to HPS lights can affect your vision and cause harm over time. The effects may not be prominent, but it is important to protect your eyes when working around HPS lights.

How To Protect The Eyes When Using Grow Lights

The benefits of using grow lights in growing chambers cannot be overlooked, but it is important to consider that they could damage your eyes. The best you can do is not stare directly into the light to prevent potential damage to your eyes.

Another option would be to wear glasses when attending to your plants in the grow tents. Here is how glasses can help protect your eyes.

How Glasses in Grow Room Can Help

Grow room glasses can come in handy to correct color and display a more balanced light. They help to reduce eye strain and improve vision in situations where the balance is off [4].

Grow room glasses are designed to compensate for a specific spectrum for a more natural view. However, it is important to note that grow lights in growing chambers have different frequencies, and using glasses can only help balance the light and not alter it to daylight.

These glasses come with the additional benefit of clarity. With the balance of light in the grow tent, you can inspect plants better and pick up on issues such as discoloration, signs of distress, etc.

If you are not ready to invest in growing room glasses, you can use regular sunglasses. They can help to reduce the intensity of the light hitting your eyes. Sunglasses can be a great option, especially if you are growing on a small scale.

The Bottom Line

Grow lights are useful and have proven to be beneficial in growing plants indoors. However, we cannot ignore the effects they can bring on the eyes, especially if you spend a lot of time tending to your grow tent.

Therefore, it is important to take a few steps to protect your eyes from potential damage caused by the intensive lights. The tips above can come in handy and help you balance your health as a grower while providing the best conditions for your plants to thrive.

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