In a bid to avoid being overwhelmed by a flood of bright neon lights in the streets, many cities are switching to “smart lighting” to reduce the risk of eye strain, dizziness, nausea and other ailments caused by the flickering light.
The trend is now popular in more than 50 countries, with many in Africa, Asia and Europe.
Neon lights are often connected to smart home technologies, such as Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue Light, and others.
The move is a way to save energy, but not to replace existing lighting systems.
They are also safer, according to Dr. Darryl D. Anderson, a former research fellow at the American Academy of Neurology.
The light emitted by the bulb is much less dangerous than traditional light bulbs, he said.
“When you’re sitting in a chair, you’re going to be more exposed to the heat of your body,” Anderson said.
However, some research has found that the risk from using a bulb in a crowded area is about twice that of using a traditional light.
“The most common problem is nausea, dizzyness, fatigue, and possibly even death,” Anderson told Live Science.
If a person is unable to move, it can cause a sudden loss of consciousness.
The researchers said they tested the safety of the new technology on the first of their two randomized trials.
Participants wore a head-mounted device with an LED projector and were instructed to look at the light for 30 seconds.
The devices were not attached to the face or head of the participants, but the devices were placed near the eyes and the wearer had to look away from them.
The device emitted a dim light with a wavelength of 495 nanometers (nm), and it had a brightness of 2.2 lumens per square meter (about 1,000 cd/m2).
Participants were not told the colors of the light and were not instructed to turn it off when it was not in use.
The bulbs had a power draw of 15 watts per bulb and lasted for about three minutes.
The lights were connected to a battery that lasted for 20 minutes and the researchers were able to measure the amount of light emitted.
Researchers found that participants in the two groups showed no differences in eye strain or other eye-related conditions, and no significant differences were found between the two.
In contrast, there was an increased risk of a blood clot, and the intensity of the neon light was greater for the participants who had a lower baseline level of eye discomfort, such that they could not move or stand up.
They also found that when the lights were turned off, there were more eye problems, such the inability to stand, and that there were significant changes in the amount and type of inflammation, such inflammation that can be seen in the eye.
These findings suggest that the light emitted from a smart light bulb may be a safer alternative to traditional lights, Anderson said, although further research is needed to confirm the results.
[Infographic: Why You Need to Consider Smart Lighting]