Blue Light

Blue Light

Blue Light

Blue light is something we are exposed to every day. From being outside to working, it is something we simply cannot escape. Although the largest source of blue light exposure is sunlight, we are also exposed to it many other ways. In fact, when you stare at a screen for hours at a time, whether it is a computer screen, TV screen, or your smartphone, you are being exposed to it. Which can be an issue since our eyes are not very good at blocking blue light.

On one hand, blue light exposure is essential for good health. On the other hand, too much exposure can have long-term negative effects on eye health. Because too much blue light exposure may increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, and also contributes to digital eye strain, it is important to consider how blue light not only affects the eyes, but also how to protect your eyes from too much exposure.

Blue Light Is Needed For Good Health, But Too Much Can Have An Impact On Eye Health…

What Is Blue Light?

Sunlight is made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. When combined, this spectrum of colored light rays creates the white light we see, known as sunlight. Each type of light has a different energy, and wavelength. Rays on the red end have longer wavelengths and less energy. And, on the other end, blue rays have shorter wavelengths and more energy. Light that looks white can have a large blue component, which can expose our eyes to a higher amount of wavelength from the blue end of the spectrum.

Blue light, which is the visible part of sunlight, reaches deeper into the eyes. Its cumulative effect can cause damage to the retina because sunlight is not the only source of blue light exposure. We all know that it is important to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays; but we also need to consider the harmful effects of blue light rays. Almost all blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina. This light may affect vision and could prematurely age the eyes.

Blue Light Can Contribute To Digital Eye Strain…

Digital Devices & Your Eyes

Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours staring at computer screens and/or other digital devices. Research indicates that too much exposure to blue light can lead 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 we look 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 describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged use of digital devices. Symptoms can include, headaches; tired, stressed, or burning eyes; loss of focus; blurred or double vision; and even neck and shoulder pain. Digital devices can be computer screens, smartphones, tablets, and similar devices. According to the American Optometric Association (2016), “Digital eye strain affects approximately 90 percent of people who spend three or more hours per day with a digital device” (Para. 1).

As an example, we wake up and check our smartphones, we go to work and turn our computers on, we go home we use our tablets or smartphones or both, and then we turn on our TVs. You see digital eye strain is not something we even think about. But the trouble with digital eyestrain is that it may come with headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck pain, and double vision among other things (American Optometric Association, 2016). 

Protecting Your Eyes

Digital eye strain is easy to treat and can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. A routine comprehensive eye exam is the most important thing you can do to prevent and treat problems associated with prolonged computer exposure. If you do wear glasses or contacts, it is important to make sure your prescription is correct. For anyone who has experienced digital eye strain as a result of prolonged computer use, computer glasses can help relieve the symptoms.

Computer glasses are a great solution for reducing both digital eye strain and the potentially damaging effects that increased digital use can have on vision. At Murata Eyecare Optometry, we believe that eye health and vision care are important factors for living a healthy lifestyle. If you need help finding the right protective eyewear for the outdoors as well as the indoors call us at (805) 522-7007.