Can infrared light damage your eyes?

Can infrared light damage your eyes? For someone buying an infrared sauna this is a legitimate question. Luckily we have answers for you.

What research has shown

There are quite a few studies out there that have measured the effects of infrared light on the eyes. Some of these studies have measured the effect that infrared light has on a part of the eyes called the lens. The lens of your eye collects light that enters your eye and focuses that light on another part of your eye called the retina. This action then allows your brain to interpret what you are looking at and allows you to identify different objects.So you could think of your lens as a “projector” and your retina as the “screen” that shows you what is on the projector.

In one study, researchers were able to show that when they put an infrared bulb within 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) from rabbits, they noticed a change in the molecular structure of the lens in the eyes of the rabbits. These changes were associated with a higher risk of cataracts. There are other reports that have suggested this as well.

However, it is important to note that in most of those studies, the infrared light use was very high. In fact, in the rabbit study above, it is important to note that 20 cm or 8 inches from the infrared light source is incredibly close. And thus, these results show what could happen in extreme exposure to infrared light.

What does “extreme exposure” mean?

It could mean:

  • You are too close to the light
  • You are exposed to the light for long periods (30 minutes and over)
  • You don’t use infrared light eye protection especially if you have sensitive eyes or a history cataracts

What does this mean for you as a infrared sauna user?

You can still enjoy your infrared sauna and the all of its’ health benefits.

However, like anything else that is good for you, moderation is always the key to staying safe.

If you have a history of eye problems and especially cataracts-personally or in your family-you might want to take extra precautions when you use an infrared sauna. Twenty minutes in an infrared sauna is usually enough to stimulate the health benefits you need from your sauna and help you relax.

Avoid staying in your sauna for longer than necessary. Over-exposure to infrared light over a long period of time could lead to eye problems later. Where needed, wear infrared safety glasses, infrared light eye protection or put a towel over your eyes while you enjoy your sauna.

Can infrared light damage your eyes? It can. But as we stated above, taking the right precautions will protect you. Use the right eye protection while in your sauna and you will be fine.

If you are in doubt about whether you should use an infrared sauna because of your health history, you can always speak to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) to make sure it is safe for you.