With the increased use of hand held devices, many people are wondering exactly how blue light effects our eyes. Here are the Top 5 Questions we get about blue light.
Question 1: What is blue light?
Answer: Electromagnetic waves exist all around us. They vary in length and power. Most are not visible to the human eye. Blue light, however, is one of the most powerful visible lights, transmitting in short, fast waves, just slightly longer than that of UV light. The most blue light we are exposed to comes from the sun, but the back light in all of our devices that we spend so much time using at close ranges emits blue light as well.
Question 2: Is blue light bad for my eyes?
Answer: Initially, optometrists were concerned that the close range and long term use of blue light transmitting devices would be harmful to the eyes, but studies have shown that the actual amount of blue light transmitted by devices in comparison to the natural blue light we get from the sun was far less in amount. The real concern for our eyes and use of digital devices comes more from the strain put on our eyes while using our phones and computers. Eye strain has become more and more of an issue for people, resulting in dry, achy, tired eyes that struggle to focus. If you are going to be on a device a lot throughout the day, try practicing the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes you spend looking at your screen, look away at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. That will allow your eyes a much needed break from the screen.
Question 3: Does blue light affect my sleep?
Answer: Yes! Throughout human history, our bodies have been trained to recognize blue light (because the sun was the only source of it) as an indicator that it was time to be awake. We have learned to have more energy and be more attentive with the exposure to blue light. When the sun would set and blue light would decrease, our bodies learned that it was time to rest. Old habits die hard! Our bodies simply are not used to artificial blue light and still think it is time to be awake even though the light isn’t necessarily coming from the sun. Studies have shown that the use of a digital device that transmits blue light before bed time actually sends a subconscious message to your body that it isn’t time for sleep and so your body holds off on releasing melatonin, a necessary chemical that prepares you for sleep. It ends up taking longer to fall asleep and the quality of sleep was shown to be worse when using a device right before bed.
Question 4: Should I be wearing blue light blocking glasses while using my device?
Answer: Yes! Even though the blue light from your device itself isn’t damaging your eyes, blue light blocking or computer glasses will still help to relieve some of the strain experienced while using your device. It is easy to add a blue light blocking coating to your lenses on your glasses when you purchase them. Ask us about your options for blue light blocking lenses next time you are in the office. We will gladly find an option that is right for you.
Question 5: What can I do to reduce the effects of blue light on my eyes?
Answer: It is always best to wear UV blocking sunglasses when you are outside to help protect your eyes. While using your computer or phone for extended amounts of time, wear your blue light blocking glasses and practice the 20-20-20 rule. Make sure to stop using your device at least an hour before bed to allow for your eyes to relax, adjust, and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
If you have additional questions about blue light, give us a call! We would love to help you find the answers you seek. 435.359.2020