BLUE LIGHT EXPOSURE: WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOUR EYES

Administrator


Because of fluorescent and LED lights are everywhere and since everyone has a gadget (or two or more), more people are getting exposed to larger amounts of blue light. We shine the light on this topic by answering some basic questions about it.

 

What is blue light? From a technical standpoint, "Blue light generally is defined as visible light ranging from 380 to 500 nm... visible blue light is the portion of the visible light spectrum with the shortest wavelengths and highest energy..."[1] Another definition from BlueLightExposed explains it in more understandable terms: "Blue light is a colour in the 'visible lightspectrum' that can be seen by the human eye."[2] 

 

How do we get exposed to blue light? It is everywhere, and the main source is sunlight.  But there are other manmade sources such as TV screen, laptop, computer, smartphones, digital tablets, electronic devices, fluorescent and LED lighting.[3]

 

While outdoor exposure to the sun is its most frequent source, the amount of time that is spent in front of gadgets and devices that emit bluelight has raised concerns about long-term effects.

 

What are the positive effects of blue light?

  • Environmentally friendly blue light is known to elevate mood, boost alertness and help memory and cognitive functions.[4]

 

What are the negative effects of blue light?  

  • Studies show that too much blue light can "damage light-sensitive cells in the retina"[5] which increases the risk of macular degeneration later in life.
  • The constant flickering and glaring from the shorter high energy visible (HEV) wavelengths of blue light can lead to eyestrain, headaches, physical and mental fatigue, conditions that happen from prolonged usage of electronic devices.[6]
  • Too much blue light at night impacts on the body's biological clock and can lead to less sleep.[7] Studies at Harvard and the University of Toronto confirmed that blue light is a "potent suppressor of melatonin", the sleep hormone that regulates circadian rhythms.

 

How can eyes be protected from the harmful effects of blue light?

  • Frequent users of phones and electronic devices can use a blue light filter which can regulate the amount of blue light that reaches the eyes.[8]
  • Computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses[9] or blue-blocking glasses[10] can be used for those who stay in front of digital or electronic screens for longer periods of time.
  • For outdoor protection from blue light, wear wide-brimmed hats and check out melanin-pigmented polarized lens.[11]

 

[1] Heiting, G. [2017, November]. Blue light: It's both bad and good for you. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

 

[2] Bluelightexposed.com [2016, January]. #Bluelightexposed. Retrieved from http://www.bluelightexposed.com/#bluelightexposed

 

[3] Bluelightexposed.com [2016, January]. #Bluelightexposed. Retrieved from http://www.bluelightexposed.com/#where-is-blue-light-found

 

[4] Heiting, G. [2017, November]. Blue light: It's both bad and good for you. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

 

[5] Heiting, G. [2017, November]. Blue light: It's both bad and good for you. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

 

[6] Bluelightexposed.com [2016, January]. #Bluelightexposed. Retrieved from http://www.bluelightexposed.com/#where-is-blue-light-found

 

[7] Harvard Medical School. [2018, August]. Blue light has a dark side. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

 

[8] Heiting, G. [2017, November]. Blue light: It's both bad and good for you. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

 

[9] Heiting, G. [2017, November]. Blue light: It's both bad and good for you. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

 

[10] Harvard Medical School. [2018, August]. Blue light has a dark side. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

 

[11] Bedinghaus, T. [2019, June]. Effects of Blue Light Exposure on Your Eyes. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/blue-light-exposure-3421985