Does Blue Light Affect My Eyes

by Oct 16, 2019

There has been a growing interest in the effects of blue light on the health of the eyes, as demonstrated by developments in technology for glasses and lenses including blue-blocking coatings and filters.  The average amount of exposure to high energy blue light is increasing as people find themselves using digital screens, such as cellphones, tablets, and computers, more and more frequently.  Does exposure to blue light from our digital screens have an impact on our ocular health? Continue reading to learn more.

What is “Blue Light?”

Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum.  Of the light we can see, blue light has the shortest wavelength and therefore has the highest amount of energy.  These properties of blue light mean that high amounts of exposure may carry risks to our eyes. Our biggest source of blue light is natural sunlight, but recent studies have been concerned more about blue light exposure that comes from digital screens, like smartphones and tablets.  As society’s time using such screens has increased over the recent decades, some studies have suggested that higher exposure to blue light can be associated with increased risks. Some of these risks, such as an increased possibility for dryness, eye fatigue, and headaches, are associated more with the long hours spent looking at the screens rather than the high energy properties of blue light wavelengths.  However, studies have also suggested that more exposure to blue light can disturb sleep schedules by interrupting the body’s circadian rhythm. Other preliminary studies suggest that blue light can increase the risk for retinal damage, particularly in cases of macular degeneration, though many practitioners believe these studies do not provide significant data to support these conclusions.  

It’s important to remember that humans have always been exposed to blue light through exposure to sunlight, and blue light from screens is a much smaller percentage of our exposure to these high energy wavelengths.  And it should also be pointed out that not all exposure to blue light is bad.  Some studies suggest that blue light can improve mood and may have positive effects on cognition.  Just too much blue light can interfere with sleep cycles, too little blue light during the day can also have a negative effect on sleep rhythm and regulation.   Eye care providers are continuing to find the best balance of blue light exposure to provide the benefits without increasing risks to ocular health. 

 

Blue-Blocking Filters and Lenses

If you wish to protect your eyes from some of the potential risks associated with blue light, there are some solutions.  Lens manufactures have begun to produce blue-blocking filters and coatings that help reduce the amount of high energy wavelengths that reach the eye.  Some people whose jobs demand them to spend long hours staring at screens or computers find such lenses to be highly beneficial. These lenses can help reduce eye strain and discomfort associated with long-term exposure to blue light.  Blue-blocking lenses oftentimes have a yellow-ish tint to them, which helps them effectively block short wavelengths, while other manufacturers have creating blue blocking lenses that are completely clear. 

If you are interested in such lenses, ask your optician for help and recommendations so you can choose the right lens for you. 

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The optometrists and staff at  Nittany Eye Associates excel in the prescription of glasses for blue light and blue-blocking lenses. Our State College eye doctor and optometrists put the health of you and your family first.  Call us at (814) 234-2015 or schedule an appointment online.  Our eye doctors in State College provide the highest quality eye exams and eye care services in the State College, Matilda, Spring Mills, Tyrone, and Lock Haven PA areas.

 

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