Posted on March 28th, 2017.
Americans stare at digital screens. A LOT. We also live and work under CFL lightbulbs and spend time outside in sunlight. All of these are sources of high-energy visible light, or blue light. So what is blue light exactly? It is a part of the visible light spectrum (between 400nm and 500 nm). It is a very short wavelength and produces a higher level of energy. As a result, overexposure to blue light has been linked to several problems.
Many studies have shown the correlation between blue light exposure and disruption of the sleep/wake cycle. Blue light has been proven to suppress the release of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for helping us fall asleep. The more time we spend on screens just before bed, the less good sleep we are going to get!
Blue light also contributes to digital eye strain. Because blue light is a lower wavelength, it is the most scattered of the visible spectrum rays. This makes it the hardest wavelength in which to focus. Combining blue light with the stress of focusing for so long while staring at a screen is a recipe for eye strain.
New studies are also revealing the occurrence of retinal damage due to long-term exposure to blue light rays. An American Optometric Association paper on “Light and Eye Damage” states, “shorter wavelengths of the visible spectrum (i.e. blue light) show the greatest effects…in the retinal pigment epithelium”. Although no study has directly linked blue light exposure to macular degeneration in humans, many researchers believe the possibility is strong.
Blue light is not going away. 87 % of Americans use a digital devices such as a phone, tablet, or screen over 2 hours per day and this is only going to increase. The long-term impact of cumulative blue light exposure on our eyes will affect us all. For this reason it is important to have blue light protection in your glasses. Did you know that a simple coating or tint can be added to your glasses that will block the damaging effect of blue light? Come see us and ask us about your options to reduce blue light exposure and digital eye strain.