We’re becoming increasingly reliant on our digital devices—devices we're all well-aware emit blue light—to manage our daily lives, which makes blue light overexposure pretty much inevitable. Not exactly a good thing. Too much blue light in our system interferes with sleep cycles, causes headaches, triggers digital eye strain, and can eventually lead to a condition called macular degeneration which is an eye disease that puts you at high risk for vision loss. Here, we'll explain what blue light is, why you keep hearing about it, and what you can do to prevent symptoms.
On blue light
The visible light spectrum is made up of electromagnetic particles detectable by the human eye. These wavelengths travel in various sizes; a shorter wave produces higher energy while a more significant wave produces less. Blue light is a shorter wavelength and emits powerful bursts of energy that can be harmful to your vision.
From the sun
Not all blue light is bad, though: in fact, blue light comes to us naturally from the sun's rays, and long before the advent of technology, its presence in our systems actually helped us to regulate our sleep-wake cycle (known as our circadian rhythm). But, given that the sun isn't the only source of blue light we're exposed to anymore, it's as if we're overdosing on blue light, which is why incorporating blue light-blocking lenses into our daily lives can be of use.
Do I *really* need blue light-blocking lenses?
More and more, people are purchasing glasses with the added blue light filter. Studies show that these lenses are proving effective for those who regularly spend time in front of screens. The science is simple: a blue light lens is applied to your regular prescription lenses. It absorbs and scatters considerable amounts of blue light in different directions, rather than it directly entering the eye. If you find it difficult to sleep, experience frequent headaches, or constantly have tired, itchy eyes then you may benefit from daily use of blue light-blocking lenses. They're fashionable too: blue light lenses, fortunately, fit with many different styles of glasses and, unlike outdated computer or digital lenses, these don’t have such an obvious yellow tint to them.
On the subject of sleep
Lacking sleep? That’s likely because you spend too much time on your screens. Blue light causes melatonin levels, a hormone produced by our bodies, to spike which disrupts your sleep as melatonin's role is to regulate your circadian rhythm. But blue light overexposure messes with melatonin secretion, tricking you into thinking it’s daytime when in reality, you’re trying to fall asleep. And we all know the kind of trouble that fatigue can cause: diminished focus, irritability, headaches, and so much more.
What you can do
In addition to getting your hands on blue light blocking lenses, you can reduce the harmful of effects of blue light by:
• Exposing yourself to as much natural light as possible during the daytime to ensure your body receives a substantial dose of "healthy" blue light which in order to keep your circadian rhythm in check.
• Stop using any bright, electronic devices approximately an hour before bedtime. That's a tough one, we know, so if this really isn't something you're willing to commit to, switch to your device’s night mode function, a setting most modern devices possess designed to lessen harmful blue light exposure.
Your eye health is essential! Take care of it, and you'll be rewarded right now and in days to come.