The Buzz About Blue Light
5 Fast Facts About Blue Light and Your Eye Health
Blue light is a part of the visible light spectrum, meaning it has higher energy and a shorter wave length than non-visible light sources. Technology use has brought more awareness to blue light; however, blue light is all around us. In fact, the sun is actually the primary source of blue light. Time spent outdoors during daylight is when we are most often exposed to blue light. As technology continues to play a large part in our everyday life, other items including LED lights, computer screens, TV’s, smartphones and other digital devices also emit blue light. The amount of blue light emitted by these man-made devices is considerably less than our exposure from the sun. The real concern for your eye health is the amount of time we spend using these devices, often at a close range. As the average digital device usage rate continues to climb, so does the possible long-term effect of blue light on your eye health. Below DMG Ophthalmologists share some facts you should know about blue light.
- Blue Light is not all bad. In fact, exposure to moderate blue light is essential to maintain good health.
- Blue light can help boost alertness, memory and mood. Blue Light Therapy has even been used to help combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
- Blue light plays an important role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. (It is important to note that exposure to blue light during the day has a positive impact on maintaining a regular sleep cycle, but too much blue light exposure at night can be disruptive. Because of this, it is important to allow time to unplug from your TV or electronic device prior to bedtime.)
2. Prolonged technology use can cause digital eye strain, which is directly linked to blue light exposure. Digital eye strain may cause symptoms such as blurred vision, neck and head aches and dry or red eye discomfort.
- You can combat digital eye strain by following the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes and look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Artificial tears can help alleviate dry eyes caused by digital eye strain.
3. Blue light exposure may increase the risk of developing macular degeneration. Blue light can penetrate deep into the eye, travel into the retina and with excessive or prolonged exposure, may damage cells. The damaged cells may cause changes to the eye which can lead to the development of conditions including macular degeneration and possible vision loss.
4. You can protect yourself by using filters or protective eyewear if needed. If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer or mobile device, certain filters or protective lenses may help.
- Blue light filters are available for electronic devices including smartphones, tablets and computers, and help reduce the amount of blue light exposure being emitted by electronic devices.
- Computer glasses may be helpful and are available with both prescription and non-prescription lenses.
- Several lens manufacturers offer glare-reducing anti-reflective coatings for glasses wearers to help block blue light from both sunlight and other devices.
5. Skip the special supplements!
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there has been no proven benefit that using special eye health supplements and vitamins provide any protection against blue light damage.
Speak with a DMG Ophthalmologist to learn more about blue light and what type of protective measures may be best for you today. You can schedule an appointment online at www.dupagemedicalgroup.com/services/ophthalmology/.