A few years ago blue light wasn’t the issue it is today. Because of the current “screen epidemic”, blue light has become your vision’s public enemy number 1. The amount of time we spend in front of screens has definitely increased. With the help of allaboutvision.com, here are a few things you may want to know about blue light and its effects:
Blue light is everywhere
Our main source of blue light comes from Sunlight, and it’s where we get the most exposure. There are however, multiple sources of man-made blue light including fluorescent, LED lighting and flat-screen TVs.
Computer screens, smartphones, laptops and other digital devices are the biggest offenders when it comes to the amount of blue light they give off. Although the amount of blue light these devices emit is still only a fraction of that emitted by the sun, the amount of time people spend using them and the proximity of these screens to the user’s face have many eye doctors concerned about possible long-term effects of blue light on eye health.
Your eyes don’t block blue light very well
The adult human eye is amazing and extremely effective at blocking UV rays from reaching the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eyeball. In fact, less than one percent of UV radiation from the sun reaches the retina, even if you aren’t wearing sunglasses.
Although your eyes do great at protecting you from UV radiation, sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV light are essential to protect these and other parts of the eye from damage and diseases such as cataracts. Remember, UV rays are strong and can cause damage even in small amounts.
On the other hand, virtually all visible blue light reaches the retina.
Blue light is the culprit for digital eye strain
Because blue light scatters more easily than other visible light, it is not as easily focused. When you’re looking at computer screens and other digital devices that emit significant amounts of blue light, this unfocused visual “noise” reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain.
Adjusting the brightness of your screen helps reduce eye strain. Consider changing your background color from bright white to cool gray.
Not all blue light is bad
Ok, so we’ve spent the last few minutes bashing blue light, therefore it couldn’t possibly be any good under any circumstances, right? Well, not so fast.
There have been multiple studies that show some blue light exposure is essential for good health. Research has shown that high-energy visible light boosts alertness, helps memory and cognitive function and elevates mood.
In fact, something called light therapy is used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons, with symptoms usually beginning in the fall and continuing through winter. The light sources for this therapy emit bright white light that contains a significant amount of HEV blue light rays.
Also, blue light is very important in regulating circadian rhythm — the body’s natural wakefulness and sleep cycle. Exposure to blue light during daytime hours helps maintain a healthful circadian rhythm. But too much blue light late at night can disrupt this cycle, potentially causing sleepless nights and daytime fatigue.
Blue Light And Protective Eyewear
If you are using your phone constantly — especially if you use it primarily for texting, e-mailing and web browsing — a convenient way to reduce your blue light exposure is to use a blue light filter.
If you wear glasses, consider lenses with a special coating designed to reflect and cut blue light penetration. This type of lens coating is referred to as a blue light filter coating. You can actually see the blue light being reflected off the lens. Because of the reduced amount of blue light entering the eyes, contrasts are improved by reducing screen brightness, flickering and eye fatigue to provide a strain-free visual experience while providing the best protection. If you don’t wear glasses consider updating your style and buy a prescription free pair of glasses with only the special blue light filter coating.
Tinted lenses are an option to help reduce both harsh office lighting and balance colors since they help filter out harmful blue and violet light emitted by many digital devices.
If you have presbyopia and routinely wear progressive lenses or bifocals, prescription computer glasses with single vision lenses give you the additional benefit of a much larger field of view for seeing your entire computer screen clearly. (Keep in mind, though, that this type of computer eyewear is exclusively for seeing objects within arm’s length and cannot be worn for driving or other distance vision needs.)
Also, a number of lens manufacturers have introduced special glare-reducing anti-reflective coatings that also block blue light from both natural sunlight and digital devices. You also may want to consider photochromic lenses which provide seamless protection from UV and blue light both indoors and out and also automatically darken in response to UV rays outdoors to increase comfort and reduce glare.
In conclusion, blue light has more of an impact on our vision than we thought, especially due to the new reality of spending hours on end in front of computer and smartphone screens. Thankfully, as technology advances, we’re able to discover and curb these effects to keep our vision healthy.
It’s important to see a quality, board certified eye care professional to get the best protection available. At Bocaview Optical, we have a wide variety of lenses available to suit your needs and protect your vision in addition to the latest in eye care technology.
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