What is Blue Light?
We are fortunate to live in an advanced age, at the turn of the 21st century. Electronic devices are always with us in our world today and make our every day interactions with our environment easier and safe. Although there are many positive effects we enjoy from these devices in our everyday lives, but a more dangerous side exists to all of this progress and convenience.
Blue light, also known as high energy visible light, is emitted by numerous electronic LED devices, and is a worrisome threat to eye health which was previously unknown and irrelevant in the past. Computers, tablets, e-readers, smartphones and other electronic devices with visual displays all can cause tired eyes, digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome.
Blue light contributes to digital eye strain
Because short-wavelength, high energy blue light scatters more easily than other visible light, it is not as easily focused. When you’re looking at computer screens and other digital devices that emit significant amounts of blue light, this unfocused visual “noise” reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain.
What is digital eye strain?
Digital eye strain is the physical discomfort felt after two or more hours in front of a digital screen and is associated with the close to mid-range distance of digital screens, including desktop and laptop computers, tablets, e-readers and smartphones. Digital eye strain symptoms include: dry, irritated eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, neck and back pain and headaches.
Prolonged periods of use appear to exacerbate symptoms of eye strain as 96 percent of Americans who experience digital eye strain spend two or more hours each day using devices. A combination of factors foster the onset of digital eye strain, including the proximity of the screen, the frequency and duration of use and the degree of exposure to high-energy visible (HEV) or blue light emitted by video screens.
How Can We Protect Our Eyes?
The optical industry has developed lens technology to alleviate vision problems and protect eyes from blue light, glare and other environmental stressors.
Computer Glasses and BluTech Lenses
Commonly referred to as computer glasses, this eyewear has lenses that are constructed specifically for the mid-distance range at which users typically view a digital screen, and they can be purchased with or without a prescription. The lenses and filters are customized to reduce blurriness and pixilation, decrease brightness, block blue light, and minimize glare while working in front of a screen—or multiple screens.
Computer glasses are likely equipped with specialty lenses, such as BluTech and Crizal Prevencia, that are meant to reduce or eliminate many of the harmful side effects linked to increased time in front of computers and other electronic devices. This is done by selectively filtering out blue light, which improves visual comfort and reduces eyestrain. Simultaneously, these lenses allow non-harmful light to pass through, permitting the clearest vision possible.
Recharge is another sophisticated choice to help minimize the harmful effects of blue light. HOYA is the advanced eye care company that manufactures these lenses, which reflect nearly 30% of harmful blue light away from the eye.
Between the filtering effect of BluTech/Crizal Prevencia and the reflective properties of the Recharge coating, a great percentage of otherwise extremely harmful blue light never reaches the eye. This is an important element in the long term health of your eyes.
Blue Light Filters
If you are using your phone constantly — especially if you use it primarily for texting, e-mailing and web browsing — a convenient way to reduce your blue light exposure is to use a blue light filter. These filters are available for smart phones, tablets, and computer screens and prevent significant amounts of blue light emitted from these devices from reaching your eyes without affecting the visibility of the display.
Melatonin helps us sleep & blue light causes a reduction in melatonin production, so we can’t sleep! Therefore, it is good to avoid digital screens one hour before sleeping, especially in children.
For more on blue light protection, digital eye strain and how to protect yourself, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor at Athens Eye Care in Athens, Georgia.
Blue Light Danger
Anchor 1: There’s yet another concern today about the amount of time that we spend on our smartphones, our tablets, computers, and other devices that you may use. A new report says that the light that they emit could damage your eyes. Medical reporter Liz Bowness joins us now to explain why. Liz?
Liz: Hey guys! Good evening! These are pretty much something we all have to use, but now a review of several studies by a team that we talked to at the Cincinnati Eye Institute shows the color of the light from the screens could mess with your eyesight.
Girl: I spend time on my laptop, my phone, my iPad.
Liz: Those hours on your phone or handheld device, raising new concerns these days for those who use them, and those who see the impact of them on our eyes.
Eye Doctor: Often, these emit much higher sources of blue light.
Liz: Dr. Kevin Corcoran says that blue light appears to damage the retina, or the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye.
Eye Doctor: Well, actually, as the light comes to the front, part of the blue light can be absorbed in the cornea and the lens, but in a younger person, the lens doesn’t contain pigments to absorb the UV light or the blue light, so we’re concerned about protecting the youth, either with filtration devices, non-glare lenses, blue absorbing lenses, that will serve the patient from a life-time of exposure that has potential hazards.
Liz: So, here’s what’s interesting: if you use your blue light device to Google, “average screen time per day,” the numbers will amaze you! The average child, now, spends 5-7 hours in screen time, the average teen, about nine, and an adult, up to ten hours, between the time here on the computer, on your phone, on your iPad, and maybe on the TV when you go home!
Eye Doctor: It’s kind of impossible, it seems like, because technology is all over the place.
Liz: To work against this affect, give your eyes a break, every 20 minutes, from blue light, and add a few sight-saving foods. Bright yellow and dark green vegetables topped the list of sight-saving foods. Now we have a full article, with more information on this blue light, if you’d like to learn more about it. It’s at local12.com. You know, I’m so pathetic! I carry two of these, just to start for the day! We aren’t sure yet, what the cut-off time actually is, yet, for safe use, when it comes to these devices, and that blue light danger.
Anchor 2: Thank you, Liz. I left my phone back in my office today, didn’t I?
Anchor 1: Congratulations!
Anchor 2: So that’s 10 minutes that I can get better!