Blue Light & What it does to Your Eyes
The white light we see from the sun is actually made up of different color lights, all having different wavelengths and energies. Blue light has short wavelengths and high energy, a large component of the white light we see. Aside from the sun, the most common sources of blue light that we’re exposed to comes from fluorescent light, LED light, LED televisions, computer screens, smart phones, and tablets. The amount of blue light we’re exposed to by the screens of the different devices we use is small when compared to the amount of blue light the sun gives off. However, the use of such screens cause some worry due to how long we spend looking at them and how close to our eyes they are when they’re in use.
Benefits of blue light
According to PreventBlindness.org, there are some benefits to absorbing blue light. These include increasing mental alertness, boosting mood, aiding in memory recollection, and providing an overall increase in cognitive functions. Along with those benefits, blue light also regulates the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. This is true as long as the blue light exposure isn’t happening at night. During the day, the light helps you to stay awake and then fall asleep at an appropriate hour. If you’re sitting up late at night on your smartphone however, you’re going to throw off your circadian rhythm and have trouble falling asleep. Light is also good for developing children to be exposed to. Sunlight especially aids in eye and vision development.
Bad effect of blue light
Too much blue light, particularly from screens, can cause both short-term and long-term negative effects. Because blue light is able to shoot straight through to the retina, exposure can lead to harmful conditions. As PreventBlindess.org points out, two of these conditions include digital eyestrain and retina damage. Symptoms of digital eyestrain are usually felt in the short-term after spending more than two hours on a computer, tablet, or phone. Your eyes may feel dry, tired, sore, or sensitive. Retina damage on the other hand happens over time and can cause more serious vision problems.
Even though we know that spending so much time on these devices is causing deterioration to our eyes, we can’t help the fact that our jobs or education depend on it. People are starting to get smart about the time they spend on their computers, but if less time is not an option, products like computer glasses are helping big time. Glasses designed by companies like Pixel are meant to block out the blue light that radiates from our smartphone, laptop, and tablet screens. The idea is that you can still get the work that you have done, but without reaping the harmful effects of the blue light. The computer glasses will also help you get a night of restful sleep if you need to be on the computer later on in the night. You can also wear a contact lens with a blue light filter from contactlenses.co.uk.
On average, people are spending over 10 hours of their day being exposed to blue light, with a concentrated portion of that time being from screens. People who reach this amount of time on their smart devices run the risk of developing macular degeneration down the road. Because our eyes aren’t good at filtering blue light, too much exposure can damage the cells in our retinas long-term. It’s not certain how much blue light is too much blue light, but there’s definitely been a spike in symptoms and eye complications since technology became so apparent in our lives. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry because macular degeneration can lead to permanent vision loss in extreme cases.
While not all blue light is bad, too much of anything is no good. Computer glasses work to filter out about 50% of the blue light your eyes are exposed to, blocking the strongest wavelengths and ultimately protecting your eyes.