Treatments include medications that stop new blood vessels from forming in the eye as well as laser therapies that destroy abnormal blood vessels.
For this study, the team decided to focus on retinal, a form of vitamin A found in the retina that coverts light into metabolic energy.
Photoreceptor cells, known more commonly as rods and cones, use retinal to covert light into signals that are sent to the brain.
'The human eye reflects UV light (such as from the sun) very well but it allows blue light to enter and the retinal can absorb blue light very well,' lead author Dr Ajith Karunarathne, an assistant professor in the UT department of chemistry and biochemistry, told Daily Mail Online.
Dr Karunarathne noted that blue light alone or retinal that hadn't absorbed blue light did not have any effect on the cells.
He added that there was no activity when retinal was exposed to other light colors such as green, red or yellow.
The team did find a molecule, a vitamin E derivative known as alpha tocopherol, that can stop the cells from dying.
'When you damage the photoreceptor cells, they’re damaged for good, so the vitamin E derivative currently just mitigates damage,' said Dr Karunarathne.
'We're currently screening for more molecules to see if they can quench this damaging reaction.'
He explained that as we get older, the ability to prevent attacks from retinal that has absorbed blue light became weaker, which leads to macular degeneration.
Dr Karunarathne says some of the ways we can protect ourselves include wearing sunglasses that can filter both UV and blue light, using blue light filters on our phones, and not looking at cell phones or tablets in the dark.