You may have heard of blue light being emitted from your smartphone or computer, but what exactly is blue light? Is it really as bad for our eyes as everyone makes it seem? There are several colors that can be seen by the human eye in the visible light spectrum, and blue light is one of them. Also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light, the wavelengths of this light are shorter, meaning they produce more energy. Because of this, our eyes cannot properly filter this light, allowing some of it to reach our retinas.
There are many sources of blue light, sunlight being one of them. Other common sources include:
Phones and computer screens
Fluorescent and LED light bulbs
While blue light typically gets a bad rap, there are some benefits to it in small doses. Recent research has found that moderate blue light exposure can improve our health by:
Regulating circadian rhythm
Boosting your mood
While some exposure can be beneficial, the reality is that most of us are over-exposed to blue light. In today’s digital era, we spend the majority of our time on our computers, phones, and tablets. These devices emit between 400 to 490 nanometers of blue light and, according to research, blue light with nanometers between 415 and 455 is the most harmful.
This means that spending too much time on these devices can be detrimental to our eye health and lead to serious consequences. Over-exposure to blue light can lead to retina damage, which can lead to digital eye strain and more serious issues like macular degeneration and cataracts. A few symptoms to look out for include:
Lack of concentration
There are several ways you can reduce your exposure to blue light:
Apply screen filters to your devices: There are numerous blue light screen filters available for phones, computer monitors, tablets, and more. These are affordable and an easy way to protect your eyes if you need to look at screens for long periods of time.
Practice the 20-20-20 rule: Experts suggest for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Wear sunglasses: Because sunlight is one of the major sources of blue light, avoid looking directly at the sun and be sure to wear sunglasses with UV protection year-round.
Decrease screen time: Try to reduce the amount of time you spend in front of screens, especially 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Wear blue light lens glasses: Whether or not you require a prescription, purchasing a pair of glasses or contacts with blue light filtering lenses are great options for those who need to spend most of their day on computers and smartphones.
Receiving annual comprehensive eye examinations is crucial to ensure your retinas are not becoming damaged by blue light. Be sure to schedule your next exam with Kopolow & Girisgen, Doctors of Optometry by texting GLASSES to 21000 or filling out our contact form.
Additionally, all of our locations are staffed with knowledgeable and friendly team members who can help you find the perfect pair of blue light filtering glasses or contacts for you and your family.