5 Reasons Why Blue Light Protection Is Important
5 Reasons Why Blue Light Protection Is Important
Studies have shown that 60% of people spend the majority of their time staring at a digital device. Although there are many positive outcomes from using these devices in our everyday lives, there is a more dangerous factor that every device user should be aware of: blue light.
What Is Blue Light?
Sunlight contains visible and invisible ultraviolet light rays. Visible light rays come in different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue that have varying wavelengths and emit varying amounts of energy.
Warmer color light rays such as red have relatively long wavelengths and contain less energy. Cooler colors with short wavelengths have more energy. Rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and more energy.
This strong and high energy has the potential to damage the eyes over a long period of time and that’s what makes blue light dangerous.
What Is the Source of Blue Light?
The largest source of blue light is sunlight. In addition, there are many other sources such as computers, tablets, e-readers, smartphones, and other electronic devices with visual displays.
Although the blue light exposure you receive from screens is small compared to the amount of exposure from the sun, there are concerns over the long-term effects of screen exposure due to the close proximity of the screens and the length of time spent looking at them.
Why Do You Need Protection from Blue Light?
Here are 5 reasons why you need to protect your eyes from blue light.
The Eye Cannot Block Blue Light:
Human eyes are not capable of blocking the blue light. Nearly all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens which then reaches the retina - the cells that convert light for the brain to process into images.
Continued exposure to blue light over time damages retinal cells.
This causes vision problems and increases the risk of macular degeneration, which can lead to permanent vision loss.
Up to 9% of people will experience macular degeneration, which is the most common reason for blindness in adults in the western world.
Blue Light Contributes to Digital Eye Strain:
Computer screens and digital devices emit a lot of blue light. This strong visual light reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain.
People experience eye strain in different ways. Short term symptoms can include:
- Dry eyes
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty focusing
- Fatigue & headaches
- Age-related eye disorders
- Reduced visual performance
- Poor glare recovery
- Retinal and macular damage
Blue Light Affects Sleep:
Blue light has such a profound impact on your sleep simply because it directly affects your body's production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. This hormone is responsible for making you feel sleepy and blue light suppresses the production of melatonin. This is why sunlight wakes you up naturally in the morning and you tend to feel sleepier when it gets dark. Even though your digital screens are a smaller light source compared to natural sunlight, it still has a significant effect on your sleep cycle because of the close proximity of the screens and the length of time spent looking at them.
Blue Light Affects Mental Health
Continuous exposure to blue light at night completely alters the circadian rhythm, maintaining an alert state even at night, favoring insomnia, increasing the production of hormones like adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, and cortisol - all of these related to mental illness like depression and anxiety.
To avoid the production of these hormones and to keep the mind healthy, it is necessary to minimize the time spent behind screens to avoid long periods of exposure of the eye to blue light.
Blue Light Is Linked to Increased Risk of Diseases:
A Harvard study found that shifting the circadian rhythm through light manipulation decreased people’s blood sugar and leptin levels, a hormone that interacts with metabolism to regulate fat storage and glucose metabolism. Here comes the suspected connection between blue light and both diabetes and obesity.
The Barcelona Institute of Global Health has also been researching blue light health effects, finding links between breast and prostate cancer and exposure to blue light during the night. Though it was not a definitive causal relationship, it’s interesting to notice this association. As these cancers are often based on hormone disruption, the circadian rhythm throws off hormone production and secretion, this is how the link is often explained.
How to Protect Yourself Against Blue Light Eye Damage?
Here are some tips to protect yourself against blue light eye damage:
Use Anti Blue Glasses
Investing in a pair of anti-blue glasses for the time you spend looking at a screen can be a good start. Your eyes will be protected and you will be able to use screens for an increased time. Other benefits are having less eye strain and better sleep.
Use Screen Protectors
Screen protectors can be easily added to your smartphone, tablet, or computer screen. They work to reduce the amount of blue light from these devices that reach your eyes while protecting your screens from scratches.
Enable Blue Light Filter or Night Mode on Your Devices
Phone makers are starting to take into account the levels of blue light emitted from their devices. A simple adjustment to your phone settings can filter the blue light coming out of your screen.
Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands
By setting a few boundaries around your screen usage, you will be well on your way to good eye health.
Last but not least, reducing your screen time can give you immediate results and higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in your life.