Visible light is much more complex than you imagine. There’s natural sunlight outdoors, overhead lights indoors, and even light emitted from our digital devices are all forms of light that can affect your eyes. Though many of us are aware of sunlight and the hazards UV light can pose, what about the other sources of light such as blue light?
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is quite high in intensity along the visible light spectrum and is just below UV radiation levels. Blue light has a wavelength of between approximately 380nm and 500nm; making it one of the shortest, high-energy wavelengths. The short high energy waves of ultraviolet and blue light can cause various changes to the body. Though in moderation some exposure can be beneficial, too much exposure can cause sunburn or increase your risk for developing certain health conditions such as skin cancer, cataracts, or macular degeneration.
Where Does Blue Light Come From?
Blue light can be found everywhere, though the sun is the main source of natural blue light, there are many man-made sources such as fluorescent lights and LED lighting. However, the most notable source of man-made blue light is from digital display screens from smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions. Though these devices may only emit a fraction of rays compared to the sun, the amount of time spent looking at these devices and in such proximity, has been a cause for concern for many healthcare professionals.
Dangers of Blue Light
Though sunglasses provide some protection from UV rays, blue light can pass through the cornea and lens into the retina. This exposure can damage light-sensitive cells within the retina and with prolonged may cause retinal damage leading to an increased risk of developing macular degeneration and permanent vision loss.
Over 40% of adults within the US work in a job that requires prolonged use of a computer or tablet. Due to the high flicker rate of blue light wavelengths, the glare these devices create deteriorates visual contrast, sharpness, and clarity. This is the reason why most people commonly feel an eye strain after using these devices for long hours.
For this reason, we recommend using blue light protective eyewear.
Blue Light Protective Lenses and Filters
If you use digital devices frequently or for work, purchasing a blue light filter can be an easy way to reduce your exposure. These filters are available for smartphones, tablets, and computer screens and are often available at any location where electronic devices are sold.
Some devices may even have settings built in to the device to reduce the amount of blue light emitted without affecting the visibility of the display. Consider also lowering the brightness to prevent eye strain which can be especially important if you are viewing your device at night or in a darkened room.
Blue light protective lenses can also help to better guard your vision from the dangers of everyday blue light exposure. These special-purpose glasses are available without a prescription and can be routinely worn anytime you would use an electronic device or when working on your computer.
For those who already have prescription lenses, prescription blue light glasses can also be purchased to optimize vision use. Additionally, patients can also consider adding a blue light protective coating to lenses to a blue light protective coating to their current lenses.
For more information on blue light and how to protect your eyes, please contact our office at (626) 698-5336.