We all want to know how much risk we are at from the potentially unhealthy side effects of grow lights.  

Did you know that different types of grow lights (including LED light) contain UV and blue light rays that are harmful to our eyes?

In this article, we’ll explore the ways that unprotected exposure to these lights can put us at risk of skin damage, as well as eye health issues like cataracts, degeneration, and more.

You may also like: The Best LED Grow Lights

What Types of Light Can Cause Us Harm?

The most harmful types of light for eyes include those with the shortest wavelengths. 

Blue light (found in electronic screens and LED lights), and UV radiation (found in incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs) are some of the worst types of light to expose your eyes too. And extended and unprotected exposure to them puts you at even more risk of harm.

Blue Light and Its Effects on the Eyes and Body

Blue light is going to be harmful to the human eye if you have too much unprotected exposure to it because it will cause eye strain. It’s linked with retinal injury. It can also lead to eye aging and age-related eye issues.

Blue light also affects your body since it can block the melatonin hormone that helps your sleep cycle. 

Blue light commonly comes from electronic screens. But, you also expose yourself to it when using LED lights that emit red and blue light.

UV Light and Its Effects on the Eyes and Body

UV is one of the most harmful types of light waves for your eyes, as well as your body. Growers like UV light on their plants because it can help reduce fungus and pests. 

UV-A light exists in grow lights, and as it turns out, this type of UV light is one of the most harmful and penetrates the deepest in the skin. 

Prolonged and unprotected exposure to UV rays can damage DNA in your skin cells, which makes you more vulnerable to skin cancer. This is because it forms free radicals and causes skin aging. No one wants to put themselves at risk of these effects.    

Did you know?

It’s also harmful to your eyes because it puts you at risk of:

LED Grow Light Safety Tips

LED Grow Light Safety Tips.

Wear Protective Grow Room Glasses

LED lighting usually don’t emit enough UV light to harm your eyes unless it’s a very strong light or you’re having light sensitivity issues. 

But for harmful light emitting from LED grow lights, I suggest wearing protective glasses that block out the specific light types your grow lights emit. 

I buy general LED glasses for my lights that emit red and blue light. However, when I use all-white LED lights, I choose HPS (warm lights) and MH glasses (cool lights).

You should also read: Can You Use Regular LED Lights For Grow Lights?

Hang Lights at Least 8 Feet off the Ground

Hang your lights higher (at least 8 ft. off the ground). The further they are from your skin and eyes, the less exposure you get. 

And the less likely they are to meet my eye level and damage my eyes. 

Wear Long-Sleeved Shirts

You can also protect your skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts. This creates a protective barrier between harmful light rays and your skin while near your grow lights. 

Use “View Mode” if You Have LED Lights

Some LED lights have a “view mode”, which lets you use a natural white light temporarily. This is safer for your eyes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions people have.

Are LED grow lights harmful to humans?

Yes, LED grow lights contain blue light and some UV light. Both are harmful to our bodies and eyes.

Do LED grow lights contain mercury?

No, the U.S. Department of Energy confirms that LED lights don’t contain any mercury. This used to be true of LED lights, but it’s no longer a concern.

Can LED grow lights cause cancer?

LED grow lights themselves can’t cause cancer. However, the UV light emitted from them can put us at risk of skin cancer because UV light makes free radicals in our skin. 

Are HPS lights bad for our eyes?

HPS lights – reddish grow lights – also contain small amounts of UV and blue light, meaning they can have harmful effects just like LED lights. 

They are intense lights, though, and that alone can make them damaging. They also get very hot and can burn you. 

Can you wear regular sunglasses to protect your eyes?

No, it’s not recommended. You need glasses that protect against blue visible light and UV light specifically.

In Summary

Unlike a regular incandescent bulb, LED grow lights contain blue light as well as UV light or ultraviolet light, which are both harmful to our skin and eye health over time.

To protect ourselves from cataracts, skin cancer vulnerability, and other health issues, we should shield ourselves with protective glasses, long-sleeves, and appropriate distances from our grow lights.

Further reading: What Distance Should My Grow Lights Be From Plants?