For most people, the amount of exposure to blue light has increased exponentially over the past few decades due to our growing reliance on phones, tablets, and computers.  For this reason, blue light and its potential effects on ocular health have become an area of interest, both for patients and eye care professionals alike. As we learn more about the effects of blue light on our eyes, some surprising realizations have been discovered.  To learn more about blue light and the potentially adverse effects it may have on your ocular health, continue reading.  


Background on Blue Light

In the spectrum of light, blue light is the shortest wavelength, meaning it also has the highest amount of energy.  These properties of blue light increase the risk associated with high amounts of exposure. Blue light is emitted from nearly all of our digital screens, from televisions to smartphones, but it is found in much higher quantities in natural sunlight.  Scientists have been concerned about the effects on ocular health of blue light associated with digital screens because of the drastic increase in exposure as well as the close proximity of the source. Some of the increased risks associated with blue light exposure accompany the long-term use of digital screens, such as dryness, or even eye fatigue and headaches.  Studies have also shown that increasing your time looking at blue light can interfere with your body’s natural circadian rhythm, which disrupts your sleep cycle and can have overall negative effects on your health. Recently, some research has suggested that by causing damage to cells in the retina, blue light exposure can increase the chance of developing an ocular condition known as macular degeneration, which is a potentially sight-threatening disease. However, many professionals believe there is not enough evidence to confirm that the blue light exposure associated with digital screens is enough to significantly increase the risk macular degeneration.


Reducing Your Risk

There have been several recent solutions to the potential problem that is posed by increased blue light exposure.  Many lens manufacturers have created blue-blocking lenses that filter out the high energy wavelengths emitted by digital screens.  Some blue-blocking lenses use a coating to achieve this filtering effect, and therefore have a slightly yellow tint. Other blue-blockers have a filtering property mixed into the lens material, keeping the lenses completely clear.  Blue-blocking lenses may be particularly useful for professionals who are required to spend long hours using digital screens; the lenses may help avoid uncomfortable symptoms such as eye strain and fatigue, and can prevent sleep cycle disruption.


Is All Blue Light Bad?

While there may be some risks associated with high amounts of blue light exposure, there are some benefits to blue light.  There is plenty of evidence that suggests that blue light can improve cognitive function and even boost your mood. Just as too much blue light exposure can ruin the sleep cycle, too little blue light exposure during the day can also disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm.  While there is benefit in preventing your eyes from over-exposure to blue light, don’t think that blue light is all bad.


Our eye doctors at Innovative Vision Care in Belton, Missouri excel in the presriptionof blue light blocking devices and have the knowledge to help you in your day to day life with your smartphone and other devices. If you think you may be subject to a large amount of blue light, our optometrists can help.  Call us at 816.331.9590 or request an appointment online today.

ocular migraine visual migraine sparkler
General visual disturbances can be a sign of several different conditions.  Most frequently, they are the result of a harmless phenomenon known as ocular or visual migraines.  Ocular migraines are characterized by temporary visual disturbances, commonly including a central blind spot.  While the symptoms of an ocular migraine can be alarming and may appear very suddenly, they classically resolve in thirty minutes or less and are nothing to be worried about.  Continue reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and prevention of ocular migraines. 

no-line bifocals progressive lenses sitting on reflection
Presbyopia, a condition that causes blurry near vision in middle and old age, can be a frustrating, or even embarrassing, process to adapt to.  However, it is a process that millions of people have gone through, and many options exist to make reading easier. Reading glasses can be an easy, cost-effective option, but it can be frustrating to frequently be putting on and taking off glasses.  Lined bifocals are an option that can be worn all the time, but many people find the line distracting or cosmetically annoying. Fortunately, an option exists that allows clear vision at many distances that can be worn fulltime. Progressive lenses, also called no-line bifocals, can discreetly correct for distance vision, intermediate vision, and near vision without a cosmetically distracting line.  If you have experienced presbyopia and are looking for an efficient option, continue reading to learn more about progressive lenses.

computer vision syndrome
Our society’s use of digital screens, including cellphones, computer screens, and tablets, has drastically increased in the past decade.  Many people who regularly use digital screens for an extended period of time can agree that increased screen time leads to computer-related eye problems.  Symptoms such as eye strain, headaches, dryness and irritation, and even double vision may suggest the presence of a condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS.  Whether computer vision syndrome is a mild inconvenience or a significant burden in your day-to-day life, there are ways to protect your eyes from the symptoms of this condition.  

diabetic retinopathy and picture of gummy treat with blue spoon
Diabetes is becoming increasingly prevalent in the American population.  As more people are diagnosed with the disease, more are facing the sight-threatening risk of diabetic retinopathy.  Diabetic retinopathy, which affects the retina, or the light-detecting tissue in the back of the eye, is one of the leading causes of blindness in our country.  Though the disease has the potential to be very dangerous and blinding, proper diagnoses, treatment, and management of diabetic retinopathy significantly reduces the risks of vision loss.  By working with your eye care provider, primary care doctor, and endocrinologist, cases of diabetic retinopathy can be treated, or even prevented.

presbyopia reading glasses
Just like every other part of the body, the eyes go through natural aging changes.  Presbyopia is the term given to the aging process that affects the eye’s focusing system, making objects up close blurry.  Presbyopia affects everyone, and usually begins occurring sometime in your 40’s. While this change in your vision can be unexpected and frustrating, it is important to remember that presbyopia is a painless and normal process.  Luckily, there are many options to help us adapt to presbyopia. Read on to learn more about what causes presbyopia, and how eye care professionals recommend it be treated.
astigmatism glasses contact lenses
The optical system of the eye is responsible for how light focuses on the retina.  If the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing properly, objects may appear blurry or out of focus.  This problem is known as refractive error, and millions of people are affected by it. While there are many misconceptions about it, astigmatism is simply a form of refractive error.  Just like nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism can be easily fixed by glasses or contact lenses. Continue reading to learn more about astigmatism, and to debunk many of the usual misconceptions about this common form of refractive error.  

cataract surgery
Cataracts are one the most common causes of decreased vision.  They occur when the normally clear lens that rests behind the iris, or the colored part of the eye, becomes cloudy with age.  The clouding of this lens is a normal process that occurs with age, and may occur at different rates in different people. Luckily, when cataracts become significant enough to begin affecting vision or activities of daily life, there is a very effective treatment option.  Cataract extraction surgery is one of the most common and routine medical procedures performed in America and can provide significant and nearly immediate visual improvement. If cataracts are affecting your vision or daily life, read on to learn about the option of cataract surgery.
eyelid twitching myokymia
Nearly everyone has experienced a twitching eyelid at some point in their lives.  An eyelid twitch can be an annoying experience, but luckily it is almost always a harmless occurrence and is rarely noticeable to anyone else.  Eyelid twitching, known medically as myokomia, is a spasm of the eyelid muscles and may have several different causes and triggers. Identifying and understanding the cause of your twitching eyelid can help prevent this annoying experience from reoccurring.  Continue reading to learn more about common underlying causes of myokomia and how to avoid future instances of eyelid twitching.
Refractive surgery options, such as LASIK, are appealing to many people who have been wearing glasses or contact lenses for most of their lives.  It is important to remember that several options for refractive surgery exist, and different factors play a role in which option best suits you and your eyes.  For some people, the desired result can be achieved without undergoing surgery at all. Continue reading for a guide on traditional refractive surgeries, as well as an overview on some other corrective options.

corneal abrasions
Accidents happen.  Even if we are extremely careful and take all the necessary precautions, injuries can still occur; eye injuries are no exception.  From metallic foreign bodies to chemical burns, the front of the eye is particular susceptible to damage during unexpected injuries.  One of the most common forms of injuries to the front of the eye is a scratch to the outermost surface, known as a corneal abrasion. When a corneal abrasion occurs, the epithelium, or the thin protective layer of the cornea, is broken, causing many uncomfortable symptoms.  Luckily, simple corneal abrasions are usually quick and uncomplicated in their resolution. Read on to learn about how to deal with a scratched ocular surface.
flashes and floaters
Have you ever noticed small spots or strings float across your vision, or noticed a flash of light off to the side?  Occasionally we can experience these visual phenomenon as a result of normal changing occurring within the eye. While they can be alarming, annoying, or distracting, they are typically harmless symptoms.  However, in rare occurrences, flashes and floaters may be symptoms of a more serious ocular condition, such as a retinal tear or detachment. The best way to determine whether flashes or floaters are a benign symptom or a sign of a harmful condition is to visit your eye doctor, who can determine whether or not your ocular health is at risk.

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