Are LED Grow Lights Harmful On Human Eyes?

In case you are associated with indoor growing, it’s impossible that you don’t deal with LED grow lights. On a regular basis, you’ve to go and check the plants out under the light.

But the million-dollar question is- are LED grow lights harmful on human Eyes? Are they causing any serious damage to your health anyway?

We’ve got to tell you the answer in this post. Stay tuned.

What Material Does LED Light Contain?

To understand its effect on humans, you’ve to understand the material that it’s made of. Originally, there are some potentially harmful materials present in LED grow lights, Mercury being one of them. But that turns to a bio-hazard only if you get to clean a broken LED bulb in person.

However, the ratio of mercury is not so harmful to an ordinary person. But in case you are a pregnant woman or a child, you’re not advised to clean up a broken LED light by hands.

The good part is, recent productions of LED grow lights are being safer than the previous lots.

Effects of LED Grow Lights on Human Eyes

Lights should have a direct effect on the human eye, and no exception for LED lights. So, let’s discuss the effect of LED grow lights on human eyes anyway-

The three factors that you’ve to understand there are-

  1. Light intensity
  2. Light wavelength and
  3. Light duration.


First of all, bright and intense light causes temporary damage to human sight. Take a simple example of this- if you look for a long time at a shiny and bright table lamp, your vision will be temporarily in a dilemma. Similarly, if you work under intense grow light for long, it will affect that-wise.

Grow lights mimic the brightness of the sun. For this reason, they are ideal for indoor gardening, especially if you are growing plants that require intense lighting. Unfortunately, staring at bright lights can damage your eyes, particularly your retina.


When it comes to wavelengths, most of them are not badly effective. But beware of the LED lights that emit UV lights, as they are harmful to the eyes and skin.

Some types of light are a lot more harmful to the human eye. Even small amounts can cause damage to the eyes. However, which light is more harmful depends on its wavelength.

Essentially, the shorter the wavelength, the greater the harm to the human eye. Thus, the wavelengths of light we need to worry about the most are blue light and UV light.

Artificial grow lights contain varying degrees of blue and UV light. That said, the type and amount of harm a LED light delivers will depend on its color and intensity. LED grow lamps with UV and blue light diodes, as well as those that emit extremely bright light, can cause the most injury to the eye.


Prolonged exposure to grow lights that emit shorter wavelengths of light, such as blue and UV light, has been linked to retinal damage. While the cornea filters UVB, this also means that your cornea takes the hit.

UVB may cause corneal inflammation, also known as keratitis. That said, make sure that your time spent under the light is minimal. During the light cycle, spend as little time as possible under the LED lights in your grow tent.

Eye Problems Linked to Damaging UV Radiation

Here are possible risks to your eyes you are exposing yourself to:

Macular Degeneration

Intense light can overstimulate the retinas, causing its light-sensing cells to send chemical signals that could, later on, injure the back of the eyes. With that said, prolonged exposure to bright lights can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Tumor Formation

Ultraviolet exposure can cause conjunctival melanoma, a rare type of eye cancer. That’s according to a recent study by The University of Manchester.

The outer tissues of the eyes are the most vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV light emitted by artificial lights. These tissues include those from the eyelid and the conjunctivaㅡthe thin membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids.


Light sensitivity can be another temporary effect of prolonged exposure to LED lights. This condition is known as photokeratitis, which is most often experienced by welders. Symptoms can last for one or two days.

In less than severe cases, people who develop photokeratitis suffer from “teary eyes.” They also experience a very uncomfortable sensation, as if there’s something stuck in their eyes.

Cellular Damage

Furthermore, UV light can cause cellular damage to the tissues directly involved in the visual process of the eyes, particularly the cornea and lens. Your eyes have a natural mechanism to compensate for the damage caused by UV rays. However, when they are unable to cope with the extent of damage, tissue damage starts to occur.

Effects of LED Grow Lights on Human Health

Apart from the effect of LEDs on the eyes, there are other health factors to consider as well. Have a look-

Spending more than a few hours under the grow LED lights can affect your night-time sleep. This is the same reason why doctors forbid you to stay on mobile phones while you’re sleeping.

Being too close to LED grow lights may cause you a skin burn. So, maintain a decent distance from them.

In case of accidental electrical incidents, they might cause sparks or ignitions. So, ensure a safe electric connection and voltage control into your grow room.

Smart Tips to Protect Your Eyes and Health from LED Grow Lights

Fortunately, preventing potential eye and health problems caused by LED grow lights is fairly simple. You don’t have to choose between their benefits and your own safety. All you need to do is follow these simple tips and suggestions:

1. Wear horticultural eyewear.

To protect your eyes, wear protective glasses designed for use with LED lights. Grow room glasses are inexpensive yet highly effective protective gear for your eyes. Unlike sunglasses, these specialized glasses won’t infringe on your vision, allowing you to view your plants naturally.

2. Keep the lights high.

Hang your LED grow lights at least eight feet off the ground. Whenever possible, keep a distance of at least three feet between you and the lighting fixture.

3. Don’t stare at the light.

This is especially true if you’re using LED grow lights with a lot of blue and UV diodes. The best way to protect yourself against powerful and damaging light intensity is to avoid staring at it directly.

Bottom Line

LED lights are, however, way more safe for you comparing to other high-intensity grow lights. There are still some cautions and risks, which can be well-avoided if handled with care. So, keep a sharp eye on those factors to stay safe completely!