How would you view a man who’s stockpiled a lifetime supply of old-fashioned lightbulbs because he believes low-energy bulbs could lead to blindness?
You might well dismiss him as dotty. But the man in question, John Marshall, is no crank. In fact, he’s one of Britain’s most eminent eye experts, the professor of ophthalmology at the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology. So concerned is he that he has boxes stacked with old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs at home.
‘I bulk bought incandescent lightbulbs before the Government made it illegal to import them,’ he says. ‘I can’t give you an exact number, but I have enough to see me out.’
Nor is he alone in his concerns about modern lightbulbs. Another eminent British professor, John Hawk, an expert in skin disease, is warning they may cause sunburn-like damage, premature aging and even skin cancer.
He doesn’t have any low-energy bulbs in his house, explaining: ‘I have lots of old-style bulbs I bought in bulk when they were available.’
Sustained exposure to ultraviolet light wavelengths from CFLs increases the risk of two seriously debilitating eye conditions, macular degeneration and cataracts, the professor claims.
With macular degeneration, the macula, which is at the centre of the retina, becomes damaged with age. A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye. These are two of the leading causes of blindness in Britain.
‘If you are in a country with high levels of ultraviolet light, your eyes will age faster,’ he says. ‘This is why the incidence of cataracts is earlier and greater nearer the equator, where sunlight is at its strongest, so there is more light across all spectrums. CFLs may have a similar effect.
‘The exposure can also significantly increase your risk of macular degeneration. The biggest risk factor for this is age, as it commonly starts to affect people from 60 to 80.
‘You will almost certainly exacerbate that risk with low-energy lightbulbs,’ adds the professor, who last month warned his colleagues of the dangers at Optrafair, a national education forum for opticians.
Global warming hysteria kills.