Avoidance of Blue Light Might Be A Good Anti-Aging Strategy Interview with:

Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz Professor Emeritus, Department of Integrative Biology Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 97331

Dr. Giebultowicz

Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz
Professor Emeritus,
Department of Integrative Biology
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331  What is the background for this study?  Where is blue light commonly found?

Response: Our study in short-lived model organism Drosophila revealed that cumulative, long-term exposure to blue light impacts brain function, accelerates the aging process and significantly shortens lifespan compared to flies maintained in constant darkness or in white light with blue wavelengths blocked.

Blue light is predominantly produced by the light-emitting diodes (LEDs); it appears white due to the addition of yellow fluorescent powder which is activated by blue light. LEDs has become a main source of  display screens (phones, laptops, desktops, TV),  and ambient lights. Indeed, humans have become awash in LEDs for most of their waking hours.  What are the main findings?

Response: Our work shows that chronic exposure to blue light can reduce energy production  in mitochondria and this is detrimental to cellular heath.   We show that aging flies are more susceptible to phototoxic effects of blue light. Exposure to the same length and intensity of light decrease lifespan and increase neurodegeneration more significantly in old then in young flies. This is because aging leads to light-independent accumulation of cellular damage, so cells of aged organism are more vulnerable to blue light stressor. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Blue light have detrimental effects on eyes, and our study show that long term exposure  is damaging to other cells, such as skin and neurons. We suggest that humans may want to  reduce exposure to blue light by wearing amber-tinted glasses and setting device screens to nighttime, starting in early evening.  Such precautions may be especially important for older individuals. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Energy producing pathways are highly conserved  between flies and humans. Our study on flies suggest that future research involving humans is needed to establish the extent to which human cells may be damaged by prolonged exposure to blue light. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: To understand the mechanism of  blue light effects, we used a fairly strong light in flies. Humans are  exposed to less intense light, so cellular damage may be less  dramatic. Yet, our study suggest that avoidance of excessive blue light may be a good anti-aging strategy.


Yujuan Song, Jun Yang, Alexander D. Law, David A. Hendrix, Doris Kretzschmar, Matthew Robinson, Jadwiga M. Giebultowicz. Age-dependent effects of blue light exposure on lifespan, neurodegeneration, and mitochondria physiology in Drosophila melanogaster. npj Aging, 2022; 8: 11 DOI: 10.1038/s41514-022-00092-z

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Last Updated on July 30, 2022 by Marie Benz MD FAAD