It seems as though most of our daily activities involve some sort of electronic device. Whether you are using a computer, cell phone, tablet, or even a smartwatch, our lives seem to be managed by technology to some degree. While these innovations can be extremely helpful in keeping us organized and streamlining our communication, the blue light they emit can have a negative impact on visual health if the proper precautions are not taken.
is Blue Light?
Blue light has a wavelength of between approximately 380nm and 500nm making it one of the shortest high-energy wavelengths. The natural filters of our eyes do not provide sufficient protection against blue light rays from the sun (natural blue light), let alone the blue light emanating from your electronic devices or from blue light emitted from fluorescent-light tubes (artificial blue light). Prolonged exposure to blue light may cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of vision.
Blue light is quite high in intensity along the visible light spectrum. It is just below the UV radiation, which we know can be incredibly harmful. Being so close to UV on the spectrum, many experts believe that blue light can almost have similar harmful effects on the human eye. It may not be as intense as UV itself but the long-term exposure is questionable.
Computer Use Syndrome
43% of adults work in a job that requires prolonged use of a computer or tablet. Excessive exposure in the long term could increase the risk of losing central vision, which is also known as macular degeneration. Due to the high flicker rate of blue light wavelengths, they create a glare that deteriorates visual contrast, sharpness, and clarity. This is also the reason why most people
commonly feel eye strain after using these devices for long hours. Eye experts advise limiting the use of blue-light emitting devices, but in today’s society, they can be hard to avoid entirely. For this reason, we recommend using blue-light protective eyewear.
Blue Light Protective Lenses
In natural occurrences, blue light is everywhere. Fortunately, blue light protective lenses can help to better guard your vision against the dangers of everyday exposure that can be harmful to you. We encourage our patients to consider adding a blue light protective coating to their lenses to help filter some of the blue light that is emitted from electronic devices. In fact, we even recommend these lenses for those who don’t need glasses to see clearly. In those cases, we would simply apply a blue light coating to a lens without a prescription, and these lenses would be worn anytime you would use an electronic device or when working on your computer. This is especially important for children who may be using devices, as this added protection can help prevent vision damage at an early age.
In addition to adding an extra layer of protection to your optical lenses, you can also alter the settings on your devices to limit your exposure to blue light. Most modern cell phones have the option to apply a blue light filter to shift the emissions to a warmer red light at night. Dimming your screen brightness can also help prevent eye strain. This is especially important if you are viewing your device at night or in a dark room.
For more information about blue light exposure or to schedule an exam to get your blue light protective lenses, contact Curtis R. Anderson O.D. today.