Blue Light and Eye Health

Blue light

What is Blue Light?

Blue light lenses are specially crafted lenses that contain filters that block out much of the artificial blue light that is produced by digital devices like computers, smartphones and tablets. Natural blue light is actually good for balancing our sleep-wake cycle, boosting our mood and enhancing our cognitive abilities so that we can function better day to day. However, too much blue light, especially from artificial sources, can have the opposite effect. Many people who fail to use blue light lenses can go on to develop digital eye strain, which produces symptoms like eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches and more. Blue light lenses are recommended for anyone who spends a lot of time working on a digital device.

How Blue Light Affects Your Sleep

Researchers have found that blue light, which is present in sunlight, can mess with our sleep. During the day, it's good because it tells our brains to stay awake. However, at night, exposure to blue light, like from screens, messes with the production of melatonin—a key chemical that helps us wind down and feel sleepy. Too much screen time with blue light in the evening can lead to less melatonin and disrupt your sleep. Studies show that exposure to blue light at night makes it harder to fall asleep and reduces the deep sleep phase, leaving you feeling less rested in the morning compared to activities without blue light, like reading a book.

Long-Term Effects of Too Much Blue Light

Besides sleep issues, some experts worry that too much exposure to blue light might harm our eyes. Blue light can potentially damage the retina, and the amount of damage depends on factors like the type of light, how intense it is, and how long you're exposed. While it's not entirely clear how much harm screens can cause compared to other sources like lightbulbs and sunlight, it's still important to protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses and a hat. Some people also prefer using alternative lights at home that don't emit as much blue light.

Tips for Healthy Vision

To keep your eyes healthy in the digital age, make sure you're at a good distance from screens, like having your computer screen at arm's length. Take breaks by looking at something far away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to give your eyes a break. If you're concerned, there are glasses with special lenses that can help filter out blue light during prolonged screen time.

If you're worried about your exposure to blue light, talk to Dr. Hoffman. There are different solutions available to help protect your eyes from the potential downsides of too much blue light.

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