Avoid the Blue Light Blues
Updated: Feb 14, 2018
Blue light has been a hot topic in the eyecare industry lately, but what does it mean to you? Most people would agree that light is good for vision, because without it, well, we wouldn't see anything. But visible light actually contains the full spectrum of colors, each color having its own energy and wavelength. Blue light has a short wavelength which correlates to higher energy. As you know, wavelengths beyond visible blue light, called ultraviolet (UV) radiation, can cause damage to our eyes and skin. But new studies are showing that there may be adverse effects from too much exposure to high energy blue light.
Blue light is found everywhere. The greatest source is the sun. But blue light is also emitted by fluorescent lights, LEDs, and digital devices. Now that we’re spending so much time indoors in front of computer screens, phones, and tablets, our eyes are even closer to the source. Blue light also is more difficult for the eye to focus because it scatters more easily than other wavelengths. This can lead to eye strain if you’re stuck staring at a computer screen all day. New lab studies are also showing some evidence that blue light can cause damages to the light sensitive cells in your retina. This may lead to an increased risk of macular degeneration.
So why not block all blue light so our eyes are as safe as possible? There are some benefits to being exposed to the full visible spectrum. Blue light is important for regulating sleep cycles, boosting moods, and improving memory function. However, there are many options available to make sure you receive a healthy amount of blue light.
Blue Light Filters
Many smartphones these days have blue blocking filters built in, often on a timer. Ideally you want to limit your exposure to blue light at least an hour before bedtime. This helps maintain your circadian rhythm for a better night’s sleep. If your phone didn't come with a filter, there's an app for that! You can also download filters for your computer or tablet. The example pictured here is from the Blue Light for Eye Care app found in the Google Play Store.
If you don’t like the way phone filters change your display color, consider new lenses that reduce your blue light exposure. This can be achieved through anti-reflective coatings which decrease blue light by 20-30%. Some lens designs even have a clear filter built-in that also reduces blue light transmission. Adding Transitions® to your lenses can also increase blue light protection up to 85% when you’re outdoors.
For other ways to reduce your digital eyestrain, check out our previous article here.