Face ID & eye's retina

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by depacon, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. depacon macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2017
    I am very interested in what Face ID's infrared hardware can potentially do to the eye - retina, in particular? Very scarce info on the web so far but starting to appear.
  2. Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    You have a TV remote? Take that and point it at your eye. Push the power button multiple times. Feel anything? No? Good.
    The iPhone infrared hardware for FaceID is like that. If it were so bad, then Microsoft Kinect would be banned by the FCC for being a carcinogen.
  3. depacon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2017
    Very quick response!
    Is there any safety data showing that there is no harm to the retina/cornea/lens from long-term ocular exposure to emitted IR light (usually multiple times a day, including in the dark with the pupil wide open)? It bothers me a bit, unless there will be reassurances from the expert organizations, such as American Academy of Ophthalmology. That might be coming with time, as/if Face ID becomes more ubiquitous.
  4. Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    You don't need studies. It is a known fact that IR light has a longer wavelength than visible light, which means it's weaker than regular light. Is there a light turned on at your place? You looking at it? The FaceID IR is weaker than that. So it won't do anything. It's the same reason why your TV remote won't harm you and neither does a Kinect.

    If you really wanted to get weirdly scientific, there are apparently studies that say gentle IR light can protect the eye from getting damaged by bright light:

    Though I think you should be okay with just knowing it is weaker than visible light. :)
  5. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    I don't know about safety data, but there are thousands of years worth of empirical data. The sun and every other object you see everyday emits infrared light. Human retinas have been exposed to infrared light for thousands of years, and it's shown itself to be 100% lethal. Everyone who is exposed dies after about 80-100 years of cumulative exposure.
  6. depacon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2017
    Cute responses, folks. You might be right, but no hard data. Not reassuring.
    Expect AAO to chime in at some point.
  7. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    Are you similarly concerned about the camera flash?
  8. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    There were a handful of exceptions.
  9. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    How about all those cameras around with night vision that have been around everywhere for years now looking at all of us? Or the various proximity sensors on all kinds of phones that we've all been using for years now? Etc.
  10. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    It’s just light—nothing to worry about.
  11. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    Not saying that you’re wrong, but you can’t actually think that the fact that you don’t feel anything proves that no long term damage is being done. I don’t think that anyone has ever studied what shooting the beam from a remote directly into your eye dozens of times a day for years does.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 27, 2017 ---
    Again, not saying that I think it’s harmful, but ultra violet light, the stuff that causes skin cancer and burns out your retina during an eclipse, is also “just light” of a different wavelength. People need to come up with better arguments than these because the OP is right, there’s not really hard data, because people have never had much reason to repeatedly send IR light directly at their faces before.
  12. Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    I know, but if you look at my follow on post, keep in mind the wavelength of IR is longer than that of visible light.
    If your worried about long term damage being done by IR, you should be much more worried about the visible light you are exposed to every single day. Maybe there is possible long term damage from getting exposed to visible light? Not saying there isn't undiscovered problems, but given that IR is of a longer wavelength, it is possible if visible light were damaging in any way, IR might not actually be as damaging as it.
  13. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    You’re right. We never had a reason to intentionally bathe ourselves in infrared light. But we don’t need to because our bodies are bathed in IR light all day every day with no ill effects.
  14. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    True, and please understand that I’m really playing Devil’s Advocate here, but our eyes are also exposed to UV light from natural sources, and we know larger than normal, or focused amounts of that is harmful. So we’re now talking about larger than normal amounts of IR light, focused enough to penetrate sunglasses, according to Apple. Obviously the light from FaceID shouldn’t be that strong, but in labs and some industrial settings where IR light is used, eye protection must be worn because it does cause blindness. I’m just saying that the argument that it can’t cause harm because we’re exposed to it naturally doesn’t make sense. That becomes less relevant when we start inventing artificial ways to expose ourselves to things, which our bodies never evolved for. Now they even say that the normal light from screens disrupts our sleep, hence the night shift mode.

    Let’s just say that if it is harmful, we’re probably all going to find out in the years to come.
  15. GrumpyMom, Sep 27, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017

    GrumpyMom macrumors G3


    Sep 11, 2014
    I don't know if it actually causes any harm, but in my case iris scanning caused progressively lingering physical discomfort that eventually graduated to actual lingering pain and so I had to quit using iris scanning on my Samsung. I wear glasses so that might have been a factor. I don't know. I don't care at this point if there's peer reviewed evidence of harm. In my case it's moot. It hurts, so it's a no go for me--iris scanning, that is.

    I don't know if the way Apple is implementing facial scanning is going to be a problem because they're not scanning the iris for a match. If I want to, I can turn off the requirement that my eyes need to be open for the facial scan to take place. I'm not worried my family members or husband will try to unlock my phone when I'm sleeping. If a mugger attacks the last thing I give a damn about is the IPhone.

    When I first started using the iris scanner on my Note 7 there was a slight odd sensation sometimes, but no discomfort at first. I'm on an S8+ now. Over the course of about 20 scans the sensation graduated to lingering ache. The only other accounts I've read of other people experiencing the same were in a Daily Mail article some other forum member linked to in one of the threads a few months ago. The Daily Mail is a tabloid so I don't know how reliable their medical articles are.

    I'm just telling what happened to me, personally. I'm not making any medical claims one way or another and I don't intend to engage in any arguments here about the matter. My last eye checkup was fine.

    Edit: to correct where I kept using the term “retina scanning” instead of “iris scanning.” Doh! Sorry, it was a brain fart. Perhaps IR causes brain damage, too. ;)
  16. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    No. It’s not higher than normal. It’s like being illuminated by the camera flash LED in the middle of the day. It pales in comparison to natural light. Comparisons to UV are not comparable because UV is known to be harmful. IR is known to be safe. In fact, your own body is emitting IR right now, and always.
  17. Knowimagination macrumors 68020


    Apr 6, 2010
  18. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    What kind a "Hard data" are you expecting On a tech site? There are some fairly extensive answers in here. Otherwise, I'm sure other sites discuss this more in depth based on a feature that's not available to the public for extensive testing.
  19. Absrnd macrumors 6502a


    Apr 15, 2010
    Yes there is a lot of actual scientific data, you just want to jank our chains.
    you will die sooner from chemtrails and tinfoil poisoning :)
  20. cwosigns macrumors 68000


    Jul 8, 2008
    The cute responses are just science. Just sayin'.
  21. unobtainium macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2011
    No they’re not, lol. The IR we are bathed in daily from the sun is quite different from IR lasers blasted beamed onto your face/eyes. I assure you that does not happen naturally. If it did, Face ID wouldn’t work outdoors...

    There are no long term studies looking at the effects of beaming IR lasers on your face and eyes dozens of times a day for years.
  22. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Where exactly?
  23. Sunnyday2017 Suspended


    Nov 10, 2017
    I would take more credence in the above link over anyone here. Unless someone is actually knowledgeable. Perhaps a science professor or doctor that specializes in IR lasers blasting in our eyes over and over again during the day. This could be very serious or could be nothing at all, but I would strongly urge you to look at science over anyone here saying that it won’t hurt point blank .
  24. SparklyApple macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2013
    The retina has no pain receptors. It can completely detach and you won’t feel a thing (though you would go blind). Not disputing that infrared is harmless, but don’t assume there has to be pain for damage to be done to your eyes.

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