Have you been suffering from eye strain, dry or red eyes lately? While the causes of these conditions can be varied, very often they are caused by gazing at a screen the whole day and being exposed to the harmful blue light that is emitted from them.
What exactly is blue light?
Light that comes from the sun consists of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet rays of light. These rays are all combined and together form the white light that we see each day.
Each color light ray has its own wavelength and energy. For instance, red-colored rays will contain lower amounts of energy but have longer wavelengths. Blue rays, by contrast, contain large amounts of energy but shorter wavelengths.
Although the light we see appears white, it often has a major blue component, especially if it emanates from a screen. This blue light exposes your eyes to a much greater quantity of wavelength and energy from the blue part of the color spectrum.
Is prolonged exposure to blue light harmful?
Scientific research has revealed that being exposed to blue light from screens (i.e. computer, TV, tablet and smartphone screens) may cause damage not only to your eyes, but can also affect your overall health and wellbeing.
Even though the amount of blue light that you are exposed to from screens is not huge, over time it can negatively affect you in surprising ways.
The problem with blue light from screens is not the quantity, but how close we tend to sit to the screens and how long we like to spend in front of them.
If you consider that the length of the average working day is 8 hours, the majority of that time is spent in front of a screen. In addition, once most people have finished their working day, they enjoy relaxing in front of the television and checking their smartphones, browsing social media, etc.
A huge proportion of our days is therefore spent being exposed to blue light and it is normally not possible to reduce our daily screen time.
Another scary fact is that recent studies have shown that children’s eyes absorb even greater levels of blue light from screens and, because they are the first generation to spend so much time in front of screens, the long-term health effects are not yet known.
How does blue light affect my eyes?
When we are exposed to blue light from screens, these light rays are passed through the eye’s lens and cornea, and later the retina.
As a general rule of thumb, the shorter the wavelength of the light ray, the more harmful it can be. For instance, ultraviolet light (which has the shortest wavelength of all) is well known to be incredibly harmful and dangerous to humans.
Ultraviolet light can burn the skin and, if exposed over a long period of time, cause cancer. It can also do the same to your eyes, which are one of the body’s most sensitive organs.
Our corneas are particularly susceptible to the effects of blue and ultraviolet rays. In many instances, prolonged exposure can lead to a wide range of eye conditions, such as welder’s cornea and snow blindness, to name but a few.
Blue light may also accelerate the formation of cataracts, increasing the need for surgery and affecting the vision.
Although blue light is not as dangerous as ultraviolet light, ophthalmologists still recommend treating it with caution as blue light is very close to ultraviolet on the wavelength spectrum.
Prolonged exposure to blue light can result in problems with vision, dry eyes, eye strain and premature aging of the eyes.
If you work in front of a computer screen for several hours a day, you could be suffering from digital eyestrain, even if you don’t currently have any symptoms.
The main cause of digital eyestrain is because blue light causes a decrease in contrast in the colors on the screen. This leads to dry eyes, painful or irritated yes, fatigue and a decrease in optimal eye function.
Anyone suffering from problems in focusing their eyes or sore eyes could be affected by blue light.
In extreme cases, blue light from screens can cause damage to the retina. As a result, you could develop problems with your eyesight and, later on in life, age-related macular degeneration.
Is there anything that can be done about the effects of blue light?
While reducing your screen time each day is obviously the first prize, most people cannot do this effectively.
The good news is that a good quality pair of blue light blocking glasses can help a great deal in mitigating the harmful effects of blue light from screens.
If you are looking for a great recommendation for a good quality pair of blue light blocking glasses, consider Ocushield.
These glasses work by blocking the harmful blue light and can really help you to ease eye strain by increasing the contrast on your screen.
In addition to blue light blocking glasses, you could also try and take regular breaks from your screen to give your eyes a rest.
Blue light can result in eye injury and can cause other health conditions. However, if you are mindful of its effects and take steps to decrease your exposure by wearing blue light blocking glasses, you should be just fine.