I have a genetic disorder called Ocular Albinism, which primarily affects my eyes and vision. For the last 20-plus years I’ve been working with health professionals to limit the stress on my eyes, to preserve and protect my eyesight. I make every possible effort to limit any damage to my eyes that could eventually lead to total blindness.
Until now, my family, friends, schools, and employers have been advised of my needs. They have all worked with me to protect my eyesight. Accommodations have been made, such as protective screens to put in front of a computer screen to limit the blue spectrum wavelengths to soften the negative impacts. Most people appreciate how terrifying it is to contemplate a future without eyesight and they do everything possible to help me prolong my vision.
It is not until now that I’ve felt absolutely helpless when it comes to protecting my eyesight.
As soon as the new outdoor LED lighting began to appear on the streets of St. Marys, I became nervous — and physically uncomfortable. I’ve been cautioned by specialists to avoid, or limit, any exposure to blue spectrum light (which is found in LED lights) so my concerns were brought to the attention of the Director of Operations for the Town of St. Marys in January.
At that time, I was encouraged to just stay indoors once the street lights turn on after dark. I thought that was a pretty outrageous suggestion but resolved to stay inside just to avoid that blue spectrum, excessively bright light.
Unfortunately, now that the lights surround my house, I don’t even feel safe in my own home. Every room is flooded with the bright light of the new LED streetlights.
The light is very uncomfortable for those of us with diseased or damaged eyes. I am already experiencing the detrimental effects of the new streetlights and I am worried about what the future holds — especially because no one at the municipal level seems to be concerned about the impact these lights have on my health or, in fact, the affect it has on everyone’s health.
Scientific research has shown that lights within the blue spectrum are harmful to many vulnerable groups of people, not just those of us with weak or compromised ocular health. But take my own eyesight out of the equation, ignore the damage being caused to my vision if you must, ignore the blue light spectrum issue entirely — but please consider the scientific research that shows excessive night-time light is dangerous for everyone.
The new LED streetlights you see all over town are creating excessive light that trespasses into many homes each and every night. Indoor light pollution affects the entire population and should not be taken lightly.
Please, do your research. Learn how to protect yourself. Town employees and elected officials need to be concerned about saving money — but they should also be concerned about our health, and our right to be safe in our own homes.
Excessive light affects us all. Let’s make sure we live in a town led by people who want to make our health a priority.
Emma E. Hicks