The Effects of Blue Light

In our digital age, it is hard to get away from the screens, the smart phones and the computers.  A lot of our phones will tell us the average screen time on the smart phone in a day.  I was surprised when I had one person tell me that their AVERAGE was over 9 hours per day.  So, what is this doing to our eyes?

Blue light is just like it sounds.  It is the blue light rays on the visible light spectrum.  The main source of this blue light is the sun.  Not all blue light is bad.  During the day, certain wave lengths of blue light trigger an increase in our attention, energy, mood, and reaction time.  It is a signal that we should be up and about.  This is good when we are up, but all of the artificial blue light from our phones, screens, and LED lights confuse the body when it is time to sleep.  It causes a decrease in melatonin, decreasing the quality of sleep we get.   

Besides the negative health effects of loss of quality sleep, what else does blue light do, and what does it do to your eyes?

On the electromagnetic spectrum, blue light is very close to UV rays in wave length and can damage the eyes in a similar way. Our screens may not emit light as bright as sunlight, but the proximity to our eyes is concerning. Blue light penetrates the eyes at a deeper level than UV, and can cause similar eye diseases like macular degeneration. This high energy level blue light is shown to penetrate the cornea and lens and cause oxidation and deterioration to the retina.

So what can you do to protect your eyes?

In this day and age, you can't eliminate the digital devices and the screen time. If you can reduce the amount of time, that would be helpful, but eliminating them is impossible. Here are some things you can do....

--Avoid looking at screens within an hour of two of bed time.

--Change your light bulbs in your house to a warmer light instead of the bright florescent white.

--If you spend a lot of time on the computer, you should use a screen or a pair of glasses that have an anti-reflective coat and a blue blocking filter.

--If you wear glasses, consider a blue-blocking lens.

Protect your eyes.....You only get one set!