Light Bulbs Save Energy But Raise Vision Fears (2007-06-01)
by William Kelleher, TimesUnion.com
I'm in total agreement with Paulette Ryder's letter of May 24 that a law mandating the replacement of energy-inefficient incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent lights should not be passed. I have a very personal reason. Within the past month I was diagnosed with macular degeneration of my eyes. I'm a prime candidate, being almost 80 years old and having blue eyes.
About three years ago, I started to replace the light bulbs in all of the reading and writing areas in my home with fluorescent lights to conserve energy. I noted an increase in eye irritation but concluded it was the result of aging and had little to do with fluorescent lights vs. incandescent lights. My regular eye doctor could not correct my eye problems by changing the lenses in my glasses, so I was referred to a specialist who made the diagnosis of macular degeneration.
Treatment was started. On my second visit on May 27, I asked the specialist if it could have been caused by fluorescent light? His reply: "I wish I could give you an answer; I can't because there have been no medical studies to show an increase incident of macular degeneration caused by fluorescent lighting vs. incandescent lighting."
The specialist recommended that I switch back to softer incandescent lights, which I plan to do. However, if a law is passed mandating fluorescent lights, it could very well lead to a severe reduction in the quality of my life in my remaining years.