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Is Blue Light Protection All Hype?
We’ve heard of blue light and the dangers of using our screens for long periods of time, but what exactly is bad about it and what are some ways to reduce exposure to digital screens when they are very much a part of modern life? While we often relate blue light to our phones or computers, the largest source of it is the sun. Fluorescent and LED light bulbs also give off blue light. But because of the increased time we spend in front of screens and our physical proximity to them, this has raised concerns in the healthcare community about the long-term effects digital screens have on our eyes.
So what is blue light?
The non-scientific definition is that it’s a color on the spectrum of visible light. Each color has a different wavelength and energy level. Blue light has shorter wavelengths, thus higher energy than other colors, which potentially could cause damage to the sensitive cells of the retina. Blue light is also important in regulating our circadian rhythm, which is the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. Exposure to blue light during the daytime hours is a great way to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, but too much at night can disrupt sleep.
Protecting Your Eyes from Blue Light
While completely avoiding digital screens is next to impossible, there are some ways to reduce exposure to blue light.
Reduce screen time. While this may be the obvious choice, it can be very effective. Use the 20-20-20 rule to take breaks when watching tv or working on the computer by focusing on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Set time limits on your devices to decrease the amount of time spent in front of the screen.
Avoid using screens before bed. Give yourself at least 2 hours of no screen time before bed and/or use your devices with a “night mode” setting with warmer tones.
Use a filter. Screen filters can help reduce the amount of blue light your devices give off. You can purchase these in-store or online, or even download an app directly on your device. Newer devices may have a built-in feature such as Eye Comfort Shield on Samsung devices and Night Shift on Apple devices.
Blue light blocking lenses. Computer glasses sometimes have yellow-tinted lenses that help reduce the digital eye strain by increasing contrast and filtering out blue light. There are even options for blue-light filtering contact lenses out on the market today, such as TOTAL30® and DAILIES TOTAL1® for Astigmatism contact lenses. Lenses with specific anti-reflective coatings may also help by reducing glare, increasing contrast and reducing blue light exposure. Adding Transitions® to your lenses can also be a great way to increase blue light protection.
If you've been experiencing eye fatigue or haven't taken advantage of ways to protect your eyes from digital eye strain, we can help! This month, we've designed a sale to get you some affordable sight-saving glasses for all your screen time. You can get full details by stopping by the office!