They may seem like a good idea when choosing how to brighten up your house, but experts have warned LED lights could be causing far more harm than good.

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) issued a report saying LED lights can irreversibly damage the retina and wreak havoc with natural sleep rhythms.

According to the Daily Mail, the establishment run by the French government warned that strong LED lights are "photo-toxic".

A 400-page report they released highlighted the permanent destruction of retinal cells, a common stepping stone to blindness.


ANSES called for officials to further restrict the maximum exposure a person should have to lights that emanate "blue light".

However, the research concludes LED lights in phone, tablet and laptop screens do not have the same impact, says Francine Behar-Cohen, an ophthalmologist. However, the powerful bulbs in car headlights may.

The report clarified the difference between acute exposure to intense LED light and "chronic exposure" to less powerful sources.

Even though it's not as dangerous, chronic exposure has the potential to worsen your vision and "accelerate the ageing of retinal tissue", the report says.

READ MORE: Nanogirl Michelle Dickinson: Is your phone blinding you?

The appeal of LED technology has taken over in the last decade because of the long-lasting, energy efficient and inexpensive benefits.

The Daily Mail reports that in the opinion of lighting experts, the share will remain rising and reach 60 per cent by the end of 2020.

Only one fifth of the electricity required for an incandescent bulb to achieve the same brightness is required for LED light.


Increasingly, LED lights are being used in offices, headlights, torches, toys, homes and street lighting.

Ophthalmologist Behar-Cohen explained phone, tablet and laptop screens pose a lower threat because of their low luminosity.

ANSES recommends avoiding using LED screens in dark environments. Photo / Getty Images
ANSES recommends avoiding using LED screens in dark environments. Photo / Getty Images

However, they can still "disturb biological rhythms, and thus sleep patterns," when used in a dark environment.

Messing with your circadian rhythm also wreaks havoc wih metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer said Dina Attia, a researcher and project manager at ANSES.

The report also said the stroboscopic effect in some LED lights caused by small variations in electric currents can cause "headaches, visual fatigue and a higher risk of accidents".

ANSES detailed that children are particularly at threat of such concerns because their crystalline lenses aren't fully developed.

The recommendation is to use "warm white" LED lights in domestic settings, to constrain exposure to LEDs with lots of blue light and to not use LED screens in the dark.

Manufacturers should "limit the luminous intensity of vehicle headlights", advised ANSES.

The report also questioned the adequacy of filters and sunglasses which are supposedly "anti-blue light".