The non-visual effect of light on living organisms

The circadian rhythm defines not only our biological rhythm but also the rhythm of the plant and animal kingdoms. A regulated succession of day and night creates this natural cycle. If this succession is influenced by artificial light sources, the natural equilibrium of sleeping and waking phases gets mixed up. In humans, this can lead to sleep deprivation, attention deficit disorders and depression. In plants and animals, growth, breeding behaviour and orientation are impacted.

Abnormalities are especially prevalent in cities and within the “nocturnal” risk group involved in the creative arts. However, such risk-patterns shift with the influence of new technologies such as LEDs. For example, lighting technicians were initially at a high risk of cancer through exposure to UV light. Nowadays, researchers are more interested in the high proportion of blue light in LED technology, which has been connected to sleep disturbances and the risk of retinal detachment, and is referred to as “Blue Light Hazard”.




Prof. Dr. Christian Köberl, Doctor of Astronomy and Philosophy, Professor for Impact Research and planetary Geology at the University of Vienna, and Director General of the Natural History Museum of Vienna

Engelbert Winkler, Psychologe, Kufstein
Dr. Sibylle Schroer, Leibniz-Institute for River Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Head of Research „Loss of the Night“
Dr. Annette Krop-Bensch, Chronobiologist Berlin

Etta Dannemann, Light Pollution a Global Discussion

Social Share