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.