Elon Musk’s girlfriend had eye surgery for depression. Is it nutty?

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Claire Elise Boucher, 31, known professionally as Grimes, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer and visual artist. His music incorporates elements of various styles, including dream pop, R&B, electronic music and hip hop. Since 2018, Boucher has been in contact with technology entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Grimes recently became the star of a new ad campaign from Adidas. By announcing this new collaboration, Grimes took Instagram July 15 to talk about his training regimen. In addition to taking supplements such as NAD +, Acetyl L-carnitine, and magnesium to maximize mitochondrial function, she does a 1 to 2 hour daily sword fighting session with a trainer. After 45 minutes of stretching, she heads to her studio where “my mind and body are functioning at peak levels, with a neuroplastic target between 57.5 and 71.5 AphC (which is my favorite range for my blood group)”. This is followed by a 20-25 minute screaming session followed by honey tea to “maximize vocal skills”.

That’s enough for most people to say, “Huh? But it’s the following quote that really gets your head scratching:

“I also removed all of the blue light from my vision with an experimental surgery that stripped the top film off my eyeball and replaced it with an ultra-flexible orange polymer that my friend and I made in the lab last winter. as a way to cure seasonal depression.

If Grimes were I laugh or if she really had experimental surgery, it brought some interesting questions to mind: What harm is caused by blue light? Are there any consequences of removing blue light from a person’s vision? Is there any evidence that removing blue light can treat seasonal affective disorder? We went to the scientific literature to see what the evidence supports.

Can blue light be harmful?

Research has long suggested that various wavelengths of light can damage the skin and eyes. Ultraviolet light (180-400 nm) can cause erythema, skin cancer, corneal photokeratitis, and cataract formation in the lens. Infrared radiation (2-50m) can cause thermal damage to the cornea and lens and lead to opacity. Although the anterior ocular structures are most affected by UV and IR, they are very effective in blocking these rays from the light-sensitive retina.

On the other hand, virtually all blue light (400-480 nm) passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina.

Blue light is everywhere. The main source, of course, is sunlight, however, there are a growing number of man-made sources. These include fluorescent and LED lighting, computer and television screens, as well as smartphones and tablets.

Research has shown that blue light can damage the retina in both acute and chronic exposure. Exposure to blue light has been implicated as a risk factor for the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A photochemical reaction of blue light with a chromophore, most likely lipofuscin, can lead to the release of reactive cytotoxic oxygen species (ROS), known to contribute to the development of AMD.

Interestingly, as we age, our initially clear lens color slowly changes to a yellowish / brownish color. This acts as a natural “blue light filter”, although it does tend to make blue colors appear faded or “washed out”.

Does blue light from artificial sources interfere with our vision? So far, research says no. Hagan, et al. measured irradiance from various sources (computers, laptops, tablets and smartphone screens) and compared them to international exposure limits as well as the exposure likely to be received by looking at a blue sky. They found that “none of the sources assessed came close to exposure limits, even for extended viewing times.” In addition, in 2018, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Risks to Health, the Environment and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) concluded: “that there is no evidence of direct adverse effects on human health. health of LEDs in normal use (lighting and screens) by the general population in good health.

This is not to say that excessive exposure to blue light is harmless. There is ample evidence that prolonged exposure to blue light in screens can cause digital eye strain. Symptoms of eye strain include:

  • Sore, tired, burning, or itchy eyes.
  • Watery or dry eyes.
  • Blurred or double vision.
  • Headache.
  • Pain in the neck, shoulders or back.
  • Increased sensitivity to light.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling like you can’t keep your eyes open.

Additionally, blue light is known to affect circadian rhythms. During the day, it boosts attention, reaction time and mood, but at night too much blue light can interfere with our sleep. That’s why sleep experts recommend avoiding looking at bright screens, starting two to three hours before bed.

Would blocking blue light cause problems?

Blue light plays an important role in color distinction and scotopic vision (night or low light). S-cone and rod photoreceptor cells, which are responsible for these functions, are extremely sensitive in blue and blue-green light environments. As mentioned above, blue light is also an important factor in circadian rhythms. How would blocking blue light (permanently or intermittently) affect these functions?

Many researchers have studied this question. Two groups (Lawrenson, et al., And Leung, et al.) Examined the effect of eyeglass lenses blocking blue light on visual performance, macular health, and circadian rhythm in a normal population. Leung found that “blue light filtering eyeglass lenses can partially filter high-energy short-wavelength light without dramatically degrading visual performance and quality of sleep.” Lawrenson’s article, a 2017 literature review, concluded that there was not enough “high-quality evidence to support the use of BB [blue-blocking] spectacle lenses for the general population to improve visual performance or quality of sleep, relieve eye strain or maintain macular health. “

Another group of studies looked at patients who had cataract surgery. The diseased lens was replaced by an intraocular lens (IOL) capable of filtering ultraviolet (UJVFIOL) or blue light (BFIOL). BFIOLs are also called yellow or orange tinted intraocular lenses.

These types of lenses have been developed to decrease the incidence of color distortion after cataract repair. IOL recipients often notice a blue tint in their vision after surgery, called cyanopsia. In addition, the lens developers hoped to reduce or eliminate the effect of blue light on the retina and thus reduce the risk of AMD. Other benefits offered included improved contrast sensitivity and reduced glare.

Downes’ review of the literature concluded that there is good evidence that a BFIOL “does not impair visual acuity, photopic, scotopic, or color vision, nor does it affect the wake cycle. In addition, there are specific and theoretical advantages associated with the implantation of a BFIOL, in particular an improvement in glare performance but above all protection of the retina against short wavelength light.

A 2018 Cochrane review by Downie, Busija and Keller had a more measured conclusion. They felt reasonably confident that there was no significant difference in distance vision between BFIOLs and clear lenses one year after the operation. However, they felt that there was not enough evidence on contrast sensitivity and color discrimination. Additionally, no decision could be made as to whether BFIOLs protected against AMD as there were no subjects on either side who developed AMD during the trial periods.

Does Eliminating Blue Light Improve Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Exposure to bright light is a well-established treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). But this white light is a broad spectrum of visible light. But is there an optimal combination of wavelengths for the treatment of SAD? Several studies have examined the effect of white light versus blue light versus red light on symptoms of SAD. In general, these studies show that blue light was as efficient as white light and that both were more efficient than red light. A study by Gordijin et al. found that “low intensity blue enriched light can be as effective as standard bright light treatment.” They went on to say, “The possibility of improving light therapy for patients with SAD by applying shorter duration light or at lower light intensities is very relevant in optimizing treatment.”

A PubMed search could not find any studies evaluating the treatment of SAD with blocked blue light. Do any of you have experience in this area?

Michele R. Berman, MD, and Mark S. Boguski, MD, PhD, are a team of physicians who have trained and taught at some of the nation’s top medical schools, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Washington University. in Saint-Louis. Their mission is both journalistic and educational: to report on common illnesses affecting unusual people and to summarize the evidence-based medicine behind the headlines.

Last updated on August 01, 2019



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