Are you familiar with blue light? If your answer is no, it’s time to ‘get in the know.’ Blue light has become a hot topic in recent years as we’ve learned more about the damaging effects of staring at digital screens. All digital devices – from smartphones to computers, tablets, LEDs, and CFLs – emit something called “blue light,” which is a high energy, low wavelength light that can damage the eyes over time. Sure, there are other sources of blue light that we are exposed to, but not at the same intensely close proximity as our phones and computers. This is why it is so important to not only limit your exposure to digital screens, but understand what steps need to be taken to prevent damage.
What is Blue Light?
Before we go any further, let’s take a more in-depth look at what, exactly, blue light is. While the sun also emits blue-violet rays, artificial sources of blue light are extremely damaging. The human eye can only interpret wavelengths of light between 390 nm and 700 nm, and blue light has a wavelength of 380 nm to 500 nm. This means that it has one of the highest-energy, shortest wavelengths of any type of light. Blue light can create a glaring effect on the eyes, resulting in tired eyes, dry eye syndrome, blurred vision, headaches, and nearsightedness. Over time, blue light exposure can also lead to photochemical damage, which can increase your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Understanding the Dangers of Blue Light
One of the groups that are of particular concern when it comes to blue light damage is young children. As more and more parents turn to iPads and tablets as forms of entertainment for their children, they are putting them at an even greater risk of damaging their developing eyes. Although blue light in itself is not necessarily terribly, overexposure can lead to computer vision syndrome and retinal cell damage. With this in mind, it is, of course, unrealistic to suggest avoiding digital devices altogether. However, there are a handful of steps you can take to prevent long-term damage from blue light.
Tips for Preventing Long-term Damage from Blue Light
Some of the most effective ways to prevent blue light from causing lasting damage to your eyes includes:
● Limit screen time – If you work on your computer, chances are you spend a lot of time staring at a screen. When you aren’t working, we encourage you to reduce the amount of time spent on digital devices. While we all catch ourselves mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or news sources, making a conscious effort to give your eyes a break from the harmful blue light that comes along with this scrolling is a must.
● Download the blue light filter app – If you are using your device at night, try downloading a blue light filter app to reduce glare at night. This will help prevent eye fatigue and strain, working to keep your eyes healthy over time.
● Don’t look at your device right before bed – Studies have shown that overexposure to blue light can actually lead to insomnia and difficulty sleeping. Because of this, try turning off your device an hour before bedtime, or simply charging your phone in the other room so you aren’t tempted to look at it when in bed.
● Remember to blink – Our blink rate is significantly reduced when looking at digital screens, leading to dry eye syndrome. Put a sticky note with “blink” on it near your computer to remind yourself to blink and keep your eyes moist while spending time on the computer.
● Don’t skip your eye exam – The best way to prevent damage from blue light? Seeing your doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.
Seeing your First Eye Care McKinney eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam at least once per year will help ensure your vision remains healthy and clear. To learn more about the potential dangers of blue light, please contact us today and make an appointment with a specialist.