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Effects of RF Radiation Emitted from Cellphones on Human Eye Function (Vision Acuity/Refraction)

Authors:

Abstract

We report on the effects of RF (radiofrequency) radiation emitted by cellphones, on the efficiency of human eyes as affected by the thermal effects of this low frequency electromagnetic radiation. A number of 68 volunteer students from the faculty of optometry at Al-Neelain University, Khartoum, Sudan, were randomly selected for the purpose of this study. The ages of tested students ranged between 18 and 25 years, none of which complain of sight complications (vision or refraction). A questionnaire combined with vision and refraction tests was applied. It was found that apart from which side of the head cellphone was used, the majority (80%) complain no problems with vision acuity test, but in the contrary approximately 90% showed to complain from defects in refraction for both eyes. It was concluded that defects in the refraction of human eyes could be attributed to thermal effects of RF radiation emitted from cellphone during phone calls. Reduction of call duration when using cellphone in direct contact with the head was recommended. Key words: Cellphone, RF radiation, human eye, vision acuity/refraction.
Journal of Electrical Engineering 3 (2015) 128-133
doi: 10.17265/2328-2223/2015.03.003
Effects of RF Radiation Emitted from Cellphones on
Human Eye Function (Vision Acuity/Refraction)
Siddig Tawer Kafi, Abdalfattah Mohammed Ahmed, Bashir Algaily Ismail, Enas Ali Nayel, Asma Rashied Awad
and Esraa Alzobair Alhassan
Department of Medical Physics& Biophysics, Faculty of Science and Technology, Al-Neelain University, Khartoum 11121, Sudan
Abstract: We report on the effects of RF (radiofrequency) radiation emitted by cellphones, on the efficiency of human eyes as affected
by the thermal effects of this low frequency electromagnetic radiation. A number of 68 volunteer students from the faculty of optometry
at Al-Neelain University, Khartoum, Sudan, were randomly selected for the purpose of this study. The ages of tested students ranged
between 18 and 25 years, none of which complain of sight complications (vision or refraction). A questionnaire combined with vision
and refraction tests was applied. It was found that apart from which side of the head cellphone was used, the majority (80%) complain
no problems with vision acuity test, but in the contrary approximately 90% showed to complain from defects in refraction for both eyes.
It was concluded that defects in the refraction of human eyes could be attributed to thermal effects of RF radiation emitted from
cellphone during phone calls. Reduction of call duration when using cellphone in direct contact with the head was recommended.
Key words: Cellphone, RF radiation, human eye, vision acuity/refraction.
1. Introduction
RF (radiofrequency) waves characterized by their
frequency, intensity of electric and magnetic fields,
direction and polarization, are non-ionizing radiation
with wavelengths longer than infrared radiation. They
are used for mobile communication, broadcasting,
radar, satellite communication, computer networks and
other applications.
Weak electromagnetic fields such as RF radiation
emitted from mobile phones interact with the human
body and affect the human tissues [1, 2]. Because the
nature of the interaction between biological tissue and
RF radiation is complex, the SAR (specific absorption
rate) defined as the rate of RF radiation power absorbed
per unit mass by any part of the body (in W/Kg), is used
to measure the energy dose of RF radiation absorbed.
SAR value depends on various factors such as: the
nature of field (low or high frequency); distance and
spatial orientation of the field relative to an object;
object’s geometry, and water content of tissues. SAR
Corresponding author: Siddig Tawer Kafi, Ph.D., assoc.
prof., research field: biophysics.
also varies according to the handset model, the
transmission system technology (analog or digital), the
distance between a user’s head and the handset antenna,
and the distance from nearest base station [3].
Effects of RF and MW (microwave) radiation on
biological tissues are mainly classified into thermal and
non-thermal effects. The tissue temperature increase
resulting from exposure to EMW (electromagnetic
waves) is referred to as “thermal effects”. Heat
generation depends on SAR value and power density of
the emitted radiation [4]. These effects may cause
disruption of cell function and development. A half
hour exposure to high frequency, low intensity field
within the SAR range of 1 W/kg to 4 W/kg body
weight can raise temperature up to the 1 °C in adult
healthy people [5, 6].
Due to the drastic growth of wireless telecom and the
wide use of cellphones worldwide, there has been
important need for research effort to answer the
question of safety and health effects of this emerging
technology. During calls the most probable parts in
human head that would be affected by exposure to
RF/MW radiation are the ear, eye and brain. From
D
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Effects of RF Radiation Emitted from Cellphones on Human Eye Function (Vision Acuity/Refraction)
129
previous studies concerning the effect of RF/MW
emitted from cellphones, Kojima et al. [7] studied the
thermal effects on rabbit’s eyes exposed to microwave.
One of the rabbit eyes was exposed to 2.45 GHz for
20-60 min (180 W/kg). The results showed meiosis,
conjunctiva congestion, corneal edema, increased light
scattering of anterior shallow cortex in papillary area of
lens. Loughran et al. [8] investigated the effects on
human sleep. They indicated that mobile phone
exposure prior to sleep may promote rapid eye
movement and modify the sleep electroencephalogram
in the first non-rapid eye movement sleep period. Due
to Yao and his group electromagnetic noise could
increase cultured HLECs (human lens epithelial cells)
upon exposure to 1.8 GHz [9]. In addition, Demiral et
al. [10] in 2012 studied the effect of EM radiation
emitted by 3G (third generation) mobile phones on
anti-oxidation and oxidative stress parameters in eye
tissue and blood of rats. Buccella and coworkers [11]
studied the effects of different RF sources on the SAR
(specific absorption rate) and maximum temperature
increase in the human eye using a new model of the
human head and compared with an anatomical model
of the visible human.
The main objective of this work was to study the
effects of RF emitted from cellphones on human eye
function, specifically vision acuity and refraction.
Extended call periods may increase the temperature of
the user’s eye tissues and influence its natural
functioning.
2. Methodology
A questionnaire included age, sex, period of time
using the phone, side of head mostly used during calls,
and the type of phone used, was designed and filled by
68 adult volunteers who were randomly selected for the
purpose of this study. Their ages ranged between 18
and 25 years, and they all complain no historical eye
disease. The cell phones used during the period of this
study were of the type 3G. The minimum calls duration
per day ranges from one minute to one hour for the
selected volunteers.
This scientific study is a double-blind and randomized
to ensure that the study conducted without bias.
Vision acuity and refractive error tests were
conducted for all volunteers. Vision acuity was done in
each eye separately. It was determined by the size of
letters.
Refractive error test determines how lenses focus
light perfectly. Retinoscopy technique was used to
obtain an objective measurement of the refractive error
of the eye. The refractive error determined according to
the movement of light with lenses axis
(vertical/horizontal). The examiner uses to shine light
into the eye and observed the reflection off the retina. If
it is in the same direction as the axis, this had two
probabilities: normal or hyperopia and they were
distinguished by 1.5 lenses. If it is normal with the axis,
then reflection value equals zero. For the hyperopia it
is corrected by positive lens with certain value chosen
from a “trail set” which contained several correction
lenses with different values. If the movement of light
with the lens axis was against then it would be
diagnosed as myopia and this is corrected by negative
lens value (i.e., -0.5). Data were then collected and
tabulated. Excel computer program version (2010) was
used for the analysis of the obtainable data.
3. Results and Discussion
Results obtained during this work are summarized in
Figs. 1-5 below. They show the output of both vision
and refraction tests. Generally most of the cellphone
users use cellphones in contact to the right side of the
head, which means that this side is exposed during
calls more than the left side. Apart from this 80% were
found to be of normal vision for both eyes, while only
11.7% complain abnormality of vision acuity for both
eyes as shown in Fig.1. In the contrary approximately
90% of the cellphone users showed defects in the
refraction test for both eyes, and only 3% complain
defects in a single eye while the rest showed normal
refraction.
Effec
t
130
Fig. 1 % o
f
eyes. LE: left
Fig. 2 % of
LE and RE a
s
Refractio
n
in the tissu
e
radiation d
u
Fig. 3 % of
11.70%
1.40%
1.50%
percentage of users
s of RF Rad
f
normal and
eye and RE:
r
normal and a
s
in Fig. 1.
defects c
e
s of the eye,
ring phone c
normal and a
80.80
%
2.90%
Visi
7.3
0
89.70%
1.50%
Refra
c
0.00%
20.00%
40.00%
60.00%
80.00%
100.00%
percentage
of
users
R
ation Emitte
abnormal vis
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ight eye.
normal refra
uld be due
due to ther
alls. As a co
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efraction
from Cellp
on acuity for
tion for both
to deform
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al effects o
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normal
problemin
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problemin
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problem
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both
eyes,
a
tion
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shift
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t
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n
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cal
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ma
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a
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E
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e
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he axis of
n
ormality.
hen we co
s, it came
inable for r
ority compl
a
& b) show
t side users.
d
(b) for the r
i
sistency bet
obtainable
t
he head as F
i
res confirm
the left or ri
s could be
m
ped fro
m
t
h
em of the h
e eye whic
lead to in
es, but so
nd eye
sequently ri
tinues using
subject to t
rmation in
r
efraction.
E for left an
1.80
%
0%
m
inLE probl
e
esideo
Ri
g
Le
f
ction (Visio
n
he eye occ
sider the sid
ut that al
fraction apa
in refraction
s detailed v
Fig. 4. (a): g
i
i
ght eye. Val
u
een left and
or the volunt
i
g. 5 (a & b)
s
defects in th
ght side of t
attributed to
e cellphone
man body.
is closer to
reasing the
e of this h
y heat tr
e its tempe
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oth eyes an
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%
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e
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g
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f
tsideusers
Acuity/Refr
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ost the sam
t from the s
defects in b
lues of refr
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es are fluctu
right eye. T
ers who use
hows. But g
refraction
e head for p
transfer of
as RF by t
hat is to say
t
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l
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at energy
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ature. As lo
n
e both left
a
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hence alter
p
ectively.
e
d
a
ction)
to refractio
used durin
e
result wa
s
de used. Th
th eyes. Fig
ction for th
r the left ey
ating with n
e same resul
the left sid
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or those wh
o
hone calling
heat energ
e regulator
the exposur
lphone used
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nd right ey
R
F leading t
o
ng their axi
n
g
s
e
.
e
e
o
t
e
h
o
.
y
y
e
,
s
e
d
r
e
o
s
Effec
t
Fig. 4 Deta
i
percentage of users
percentage of users
t f
s of RF Rad
i
led valuesof r
e
1
4
0.00%
5.00%
10.00%
15.00%
20.00%
25.00%
30.00%
35.00%
percentage
of
users
1
6
0.00%
5.00%
10.00%
15.00%
20.00%
25.00%
percentage
of
users
0.00%
5.00%
10.00%
15.00%
20.00%
25.00%
30.00%
35.00%
percen
t
ageo
f
users
ation Emitte
fraction test
4
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29.10%
3.6
0
0.25 0.5 0.
7
6
.40%
14.50%
5.4
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30.80
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from Cellp
or right side u
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7
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2
Refraction
v
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%
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v
(b)
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1.25 0
Refraction
v
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e
1
%
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3.60
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2
5 0.5 0.75
v
alues
LE
%
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5.50%
1.8
0
v
alues
RE
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15.40
%
0.25 0.5
v
alues
LE
ction (Visio
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11.25
1
0
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%
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Acuity/Refr
1.80%
1
.5 3
1.80%
1.25
a
ction) 131
Effec
t
132
Fig. 5 Detai
l
4. Conclu
s
The infl
u
b
ased on t
h
studied. A
l
marginal, re
regardless
o
right or lef
t
volunteers
a
clarify the
c
radiation fr
o
This study
cellphones
o
future study
phone gen
e
function if
a
minimum S
A
duration is
s
Acknowle
The aut
h
optometry
support of t
h
Referenc
e
[1] Blank,
B
iologi
c
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a
t f
s of RF Rad
l
ed values of r
e
s
ions
ence of cel
e thermal
though vis
fraction defe
f which sid
). Wider sp
a
re needed
orrelation b
m cellphon
was restr
nly, therefo
is needed to
ration and
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ny. Choosin
g
R value in
trongly reco
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ement
ors would
at Al-Neel
a
h
is work.
e
s
M. (Ed.).
al Interactio
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k
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t
ageo
f
users
ation Emitte
fraction test
ular phones
ffects of R
on defects
ts were fou
e
o
f
the hea
d
ctrum and
for compre
tween ther
es and hum
cted to 3
e adding 4G
igure out th
the effects
good quali
addition to
m
mended.
ike to than
in Universi
1995. Electr
o
s and Mec
k
250, Columb
i
3
0.80%
15.40
%
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from Cellp
or left side us
on human
F radiation
recorded
d to be domi
was used
arger numb
ensive stud
al effects o
n sight de
generatio
generation i
relation bet
on human
y cellphone
reduction o
the facult
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magnetic F
h
anisms. Ame
i
a University.
%
7.70%
0.75 1
ones on Hu
e
rs. (a): left ey
eyes
was
w
ere
nant
(
i.e.,
e
r of
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to
f
RF
fe
cts.
n
of
n
the
w
een
eye
w
ith
f
call
y
of
n
ical
i
elds:
rican
[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]
[9]
[10
]
7.70%
1.25 0
Refraction
v
(b) R
E
an Eye Fun
e; (b): right e
y
Balbani, A.
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Effects of RF Radiation Emitted from Cellphones on Human Eye Function (Vision Acuity/Refraction)
133
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[11] Buccela, C., De Santis, V., and Feliziani, M. 2007.
“Prediction of Temperature Increase in Human Eyes Due
to RF Sources.” IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic
Compatibility 49: 825-33.
... Researcher found that mobile phone radiation can damage the blood-brain barrier (Karinen et al., 2008). In 2015, a study was done to demonstrate the effects of radio frequency radiation emitted from cell phones on human eye function and found significant changes in visual acuity (Visual acuity, Refraction) (Kafi et al.,2015) Opacity of the crystalline lens is defined as cataract, which is the leading cause of visual impairment worldwide still now. Smoking, diabetes and consistent exposure to UVB light have been identified as the risk factors for cataract. ...
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A numerical study is proposed to investigate the effects of different RF sources on the specific absorption rate (SAR) and maximum temperature increase in the human eye at different frequencies. In particular, a new model of the human head is presented and compared with an anatomical model of the visible human. The high resolution (0.5 mm) of the proposed model allows to consider more eye tissues than previous studies distinguishing the sclera from the retina and choroid. New values of blood perfusion and metabolic rate of these tissues are derived. A plane-wave field is considered as far-field exposure, while realistic models of mobile phone and dipole antennas are used as primary sources for near-field exposure. The obtained results show that the distributions of the SAR and temperature increase depend on the frequency, position, and kind of sources. Finally, attention is paid to the maximum temperature increase in the lens for the SAR values prescribed by the Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. To this aim, a scaling approach is proposed, and significant values of temperature increase are found (about C for general public exposure and about 1.5 degC for occupational exposure) for the most critical cases of near-field exposures.
Effects of Third Generation Mobile Phone-Emitted Electromagnetic Radiation on oxidative Stress Parameters in Eye Tissue and Blood of RatsPrediction of Temperature Increase in Human Eyes Due to RF Sources
  • B Firat
  • P G Buccela
  • C De Santis
  • V Feliziani
B., and Firat, P. G. 2012. "Effects of Third Generation Mobile Phone-Emitted Electromagnetic Radiation on oxidative Stress Parameters in Eye Tissue and Blood of Rats." Cutan Ocul Toxicol 31: 89-94. [11] Buccela, C., De Santis, V., and Feliziani, M. 2007. "Prediction of Temperature Increase in Human Eyes Due to RF Sources." IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility 49: 825-33.