1. Is blue light harmful?
First, blue light exists in nature. It is primarily emitted by the sun (ever heard of it?), which means that our bodies are prepared to absorb it to a certain extent. However, we are now surrounded by tons of new technologies (such as computer monitors, smartphone screens, flat-screen televisions, and LED lights) that are increasing our exposure to blue light.
And while our various screens emit blue light at a much lower intensity than our favourite ball of hot plasma, we spend more extensive periods of time in front of them at a much closer range. Such close contact can contribute to eye strain and fatigue and have detrimental effects on sleep.
2. Does blue light have an impact on sleep?
Natural blue light plays an important role in maintaining a beneficial sleep cycle. It also positively impacts our mood, memory, and cognitive function. On the other hand, unfettered exposure to artificial blue light from our electronic devices can make it more difficult to fall asleep and decrease sleep quality, which in turn can lead to sleepiness during the day.
3. Are blue light protection lenses effective?
Some small-scale studies suggest that wearing blue light glasses can help increase sleep quality and duration, and alleviate digital eye strain (which includes headaches, tiredness, and blurred vision). However, the Canadian Association of Optometrists continues to encourage people to cut down on blue light exposure at the source: more frequent breaks, shutting down electronic devices a few hours before bedtime, etc.
4. Are there other ways to prevent harm from blue light?
It is helpful to take regular breaks from staring at our screens. Optometrists commonly recommend the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes in front of a screen, take a 20-second break and shift your gaze to 20 feet away to relieve eye strain. A diet rich in leafy green vegetables and colourful fruits also helps maintain good eye health, which bolsters the body’s natural defenses against harmful blue light.
5. Should screens be avoided before bedtime?
It is widely recommended to avoid bright screens for two or three hours before settling in for a good night's sleep.
6. What is eye strain or eye fatigue?
Eye strain or eye fatigue, sometimes referred to as computer vision syndrome, is a range of issues caused by extensive exposure to electronic devices. Those symptoms include headaches, tiredness, and blurred vision.
7. What kind of glasses can help battle eye strain caused by computer screens?
Progressive lenses are made to optimize the quality of your vision across the board, whether you’re looking at the horizon, reading a book, or scanning your computer screen. If you often switch from one type of screen (a smartphone) to another (your computer) then anti-fatigue lenses may be right for you. This type of lens accommodates two visual zones and filters blue light.
For even more information related to blue light, consult our previous blog posts: