The Effect of Blue Light on your Eyes
The vast majority the population today uses some sort of a light-emitting device (LED) such as a computer, laptop, iPhone, android, workbook, television, etc. for many hours per day. Many of us have experienced eye related issues while using these devices and recent blue light research has helped to explain and prevent some of these problems.
All LEDs emit the full spectrum of visible light which can be broken down into the colors of the rainbow. Each color has a certain wavelength and different degree of energy. Blue light has the shortest wavelength and gives off the highest energy whereas red light has the longest wavelength and lowest energy.
While working on an LED device, your eyes use a process called accommodation in which small muscles within the eye work to focus the image properly. As high energy blue light enters the eye, it scatters more than any other color of light causing these eye muscles to spasm resulting in blurred vision, eye strain, tired eyes, and even headaches.
Why is the sky blue?
The sky is blue because the atmosphere scatters and absorbs blue light more than any other color of light given off from the sun. Blue light affects your body’s day/night cycle (circadian rhythm) by causing changes in melatonin levels, which induces sleep. Blue light disrupts the melatonin balance and circadian rhythm causing difficulty falling to sleep. Excessive blue light from LED’s before sleeping will “trick” your brain into thinking that it is day time. In effect, your brain cannot shut itself down causing insomnia and poor quality sleep resulting in fatigue the following day.
High-energy blue light can also affect the health of the eyes. The cornea (outer surface of the eye) allows blue light to pass directly into the eye to the light-sensitive retina and particularly the central vision portion of the retina call the macula. Studies have shown that blue light prematurely ages the macula and can increase the chances of developing macular degeneration which can be a visually devastating disease. Read more about macular degeneration here.
What to do about the Effects of Blue Light
Blue light is everywhere. It comes from the sun, light bulbs, and all LED’s. Avoidance of all blue light is virtually impossible but recent eyeglass lenses advancements can filter out the harmful blue light from LEDs and other environmental factors.
Products such as Blue Tech http://blutechlenses.com/ or Crizol Provncia http://www.crizalprevencia.com/ (which we offer at our clinic) have proven blue light protection which can be quite effective in reducing the effects of blue light.
Some LED devices also have blue light reducing applications which can reduce some of the blue light from the device but have not proven as effective as blue filtering eyeglass lenses. They also do not reduce blue light from other sources in your environment.
If you are experiencing any of the common symptoms of blue light exposure from you LED or other devices, your first step should be to see you eye doctor for a complete examination to rule out any other possible eye conditions. They can also offer you other suggestions to reduce eye problems at the computer and make you more productive while protecting your vision.
Here’s an earlier article about computer eyestrain here.