There are many different things that can affect the health of our eyes, from the UV rays to damage caused by pollution and allergic reactions to environmental pollutants. However, our significant increase in the use of digital devices over the last few decades has meant that there is a new threat to our vision, and it comes in the form of overexposure to blue light.
Why is blue light so dangerous for our eyes?
All light contains a variety of colors, and within each color, a spectrum of different shades. Each of these colored rays of light contains different amounts of energy.
Red light has the longest wavelength and the weakest amount of energy, while blue light has the shortest wavelength and packs the most amount of energy possible into each ray. These high-energy waves put our eyes under considerably more strain than any other color, and prolonged exposure can lead to eye strain and associated problems.
Blue light is everywhere around us and being outdoors during the day is where we are predominantly exposed to it. However, there are also many man-made sources of blue light, such as our televisions, computers, and cell phone screens.
The amount of time we spend looking at them, and the close proximity to which we have these devices to our face, means that there are some concerns about the effects of blue light exposure on our eyes, and eventually, our body.
Effects of blue light exposure
Prolonged exposure to blue light has been shown to have a number of effects including:
- Sleep disorders including insomnia
- Mood swings
Studies have also shown that blue light exposure can also lead to the patient developing more serious health problems, including obesity, depression, and macular degeneration, an optical condition that can cause serious vision impairment.
Protecting your eyes from blue light exposure
To help keep your eyes as healthy and strain-free as possible, it is important to take steps to protect your eyes from overexposure to blue light. Here are some of our top tips how.
Limit your screen time
Probably the most obvious thing that you can do to help give your eyes a break from the stress caused by blue light is to limit your screen time as much as possible.
Of course, this may be easier said than done if your work involves spending large amounts of time looking at a screen, be it a computer, a laptop or a mobile device. Nevertheless, regular breaks are recommended, even if it just looking away for a few minutes every half hour.
When it comes to being at home, it is easy to immerse yourself into a digital world. However, it is just as important that you don’t spend all evening every evening staring at your tablet or phone. You can download apps that are designed specifically to limit your screen time.
Turn down the brightness
Virtually all devices enable you to customize the brightness of your screen. Doing so will reduce the amount of blue light that your device produces.
Use a blue light filter
These are available as apps, many of them free, and will put a filter on the screen to help reduce glare when you use your device at night. Doing so will help to reduce the strain on your eyes and your eye fatigue.
These filters work by interrupting the short wavelengths of blue light by interspersing them with longer ones. This dilutes the effect of the blue light on your eyes.
You probably haven’t noticed, but when we stare at a screen we actually blink a lot less often than we would do if we were looking around normally. However, when we blink less our eyes become dry, scratchy and often quite sore. A well-lubricated eye is a healthy eye, so remind yourself to blink when you are using your screen.
Don’t use your phone just before bed
Studies have shown that overexposure to blue light is responsible for many cases of insomnia and night-time restlessness. Therefore, by minimizing your exposure to a screen before bed, you may fall asleep faster and achieve a better quality of sleep. Switch off at least 90 minutes before you plan to go to sleep.
Visit your eye doctor regularly
Your eye doctor has the education, training, and experience to be able to comprehensively assess the health of your eyes. If there is a problem developing, your eye specialist will be able to identify it quickly and recommend the best course of action to prevent the issue from becoming worse. Your eye doctor will also be able to give you guidance on what you can do at home to reduce any problems that you are experiencing that may be caused by overexposure to blue light.
If you would like further advice on the best way to protect your eyes from overexposure to blue light, our dedicated and experienced team would be happy to help. Call the offices of Sonny Goel, MD today at (410) 888-2020.