Why Eye Protection in the Growroom is Essential

By Kent Gruetzmacher
Published: February 13, 2023
Key Takeaways

Different wavelengths of light are extremely important for plant growth but can affect humans in very negative ways. If you spend time in a growroom, wearing protective eyewear is essential.

Different wavelengths of light are extremely important for plant growth but can affect humans in very negative ways. If you spend time in a growroom, wearing protective eyewear is essential.

When growing cannabis, it’s important to note that environmental conditions which are good for plants are not necessarily good for people. This is particularly true for sunlight, as cannabis plants thrive in extremely sunny climates. Needless to say, spending a majority of the day in the direct sunlight would be bad for anyone’s health.

Without proper protection, consistent exposure to grow lights has the potential to damage your eyes. Similar to the sun, prolonged exposure to grow lights can distort your vision and cause permanent damage to your eyes. Whether you are a hobbyist grower or commercial producer, eye protection in the growroom is highly recommend.


Why are Grow Lights Bad for Your Eyes?

From natural sunlight to artificial sources, all light travels by way of wavelengths. To help us better understand how light wavelengths interact with the cosmos, scientists categorize them by way of the light spectrum.

Visible light occurs in the middle of the light spectrum, while invisible sources like gamma rays and radio waves exist on the extreme ends. Within the visible light spectrum, cannabis plants use different colors of light for photosynthesis during different phases of growth. Most often, blue light is used for vegetative growth and red light for flowering.

While prolonged exposure to certain color lights like blue light can be problematic on its own, there is also ultraviolet (UV) light to consider. As the Eye Hortilux website explains, “UV light is extremely important for plant growth… The plant responds to the stress and sunburn from UV wavelengths by creating its own sunscreen in the form of trichomes. The more trichome production the higher the chemical levels.”

The Dangers of Ultraviolet (UV) Light

Manufacturers intentionally engineer grow lights to stimulate trichome development in cannabis with UV radiation. However, the amount of UV radiation people and plants can handle is quite different, and prolonged exposure to UV light for people manifests itself in both sunburn and eye damage.


Scientists categorize UV radiation with three classifications:

  • UVA (315-400nm)
  • UVB (280-315nm)
  • UVC (180-280nm)

Each type of UV radiation has the potential to damage your vision. Both UVA and UVB are commonly emitted by grow lights. Each type of UV radiation poses its own dangers relative to how light wavelengths interact with your cornea and retina.

The Dangers of Blue Light

Blue light is also known to have negative consequences on human physiology. Because cellphone and computer screens also emit blue light, there has been a good deal of research on the topic.


One of the biggest dangers of blue light has to do with how exposure to these wavelengths can interrupt rhythms in the human body. Studies show blue light actually blocks your production of melatonin, which has the potential to throw your sleep patterns out of whack.

Like UV radiation, blue light can also directly damage your vision. As the cornea does not block most blue light waves, they penetrate deep into the eye and damage cells.


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Potential Health Risks of Grow Lights

protective eyewear for the growroomAlways wear protective eyewear that shields UV radiation in the growroom.

While staring directly into a grow light is obviously a bad idea, physical ailments that arise from grow lights come about in a more subversive fashion than you might expect. While light waves emitted onto your garden canopy are not nearly as strong as the light source itself, they can still prove quite dangerous. Harmful UV light and blue light can slowly impact your eyes over periods of prolonged exposure in the growroom.

Potential health risks from regular exposure to grow lights include:

  • Vision loss
  • Dizziness
  • Migraine headaches
  • Seeing spots
  • Macular degeneration
  • Cataracts

Not only do physical issues arise from grow lights in small increments, but you might not even know you have a problem with your eyes for a very long time. In fact, certain ailments like cataracts and macular degeneration are known to take 10 to 15 years to manifest.

Considerations for HPS Lights

If you have ever grown cannabis with HPS lights, you are well aware they put off a strong yellow glow. Light waves from HPS lights are colored this way because they are engineered specifically towards the red-light spectrum, which works well for flowering cannabis.

Like all grow lights, HPS lights put off dangerous amounts of UV radiation. However, their strong yellow coloration causes further problems with people’s vision. Because HPS lights heavily saturate your growroom with certain light spectrums, they can cause parts of your eyes to work overtime and experience fatigue.

If you use HPS lights in your growroom, it is recommended you purchase protective glasses designed specifically for the yellow and red spectrum.

Considerations for LED Lights

There are a wide variety of LED lights on the market today, and most LEDs pose similar risks for your vision. While LEDs are known for putting-off UV radiation to stimulate plant growth, they also pose risks concerning blue light.

LED lights that are engineered with blue diodes present more dangers with blue light than other LEDs. As previously discussed, blue light can not only interrupt your sleep, but it can also damage cells within your eyes.

If you grow with LEDs, you should purchase protective glasses that block light in the blue end of the spectrum.

If you have ever developed a headache from spending too much time in the growroom, it’s likely you’ve felt the effects of UV radiation or blue light. Even if you have not experienced any acute symptoms when working under grow lights, you should purchase eye protection.

Mimicking Mother Nature, people grow cannabis indoors under extremely intense lights. Whether it be an HPS or LED light, grow lights do their best to match the strength of the sun as found in the natural world. While strong artificial light is great for growing big cannabis plants and dense buds, this same light can also be damaging to the human body.

To ensure you get the protection you need from grow lights, its best to purchase glasses designed specifically for this purpose. In doing so, you can ensure that you give yourself the same care and attention as your cannabis plants.


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Written by Kent Gruetzmacher | Writer, Owner of KCG Content

Profile Picture of Kent Gruetzmacher

Kent Gruetzmacher MFA is a Colorado-based writer and owner of the writing and marketing firm KCG Content. Kent has been working in the cannabis and hydroponics space for over a decade. Beginning in California in 2009, he has held positions in cultivation, operations, marketing, and business development. Looking specifically to writing, Kent has worked with many of the leading publications and marketing agencies in the cannabis space. His writing has been recognized by such icons as Steve D’Angelo and Rick Simpson.

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