Is Blue Light Affecting Your Overall Vision And Eye Health?
You may have heard it before - the dire warning that blue-tinted light emanating from your TV, computer monitor, laptop screen or smartphone can have detrimental effects on your eye health. Should you heed the warnings, or does it amount to little more than fear-mongering? The science behind blue light as it relates to vision and eye health is a bit more complex than you might think.
As always, it’s never wise to panic over what you happen to read online or in a news report. Rather, you should gather all the facts before making an informed decision on how best to move forward. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the nature of blue light, and whether it’s actually damaging your eye health.
FACTS ABOUT BLUE LIGHT
You may have noticed that the light emitted from traditional workplace fluorescent bulbs tends to have a much warmer tone than newly-adopted LED lights, and that’s due to their respective technologies. While LEDs are much cheaper and cost far less to operate, they also throw off an abundance of the blue light spectrum. Most tech devices in use today such as TVs, computer and smartphone screens are all big on blue, and that may be a problem when it comes to bodily health.
One thing is for certain - the jury is still out on whether blue light actually causes any direct health problems for the average person. At best, its effects are ancillary, and tend to be related to things like sleep patterns and circadian rhythm. You are exposed to an abundance of blue light during the day, especially if you go outside. Ironically, the sun throws off more blue light than anything your smartphone or laptop could hope to do, but that can actually be a good thing. Exposure to this kind of light during the day helps set up the body’s internal sleeping mechanism.
The problem is when exposure to blue light occurs after sundown. This is the time of day when your body is winding down in preparation for bedtime, and too much artificial exposure to blue light can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm. This kind of light can actually suppress the production of the melatonin hormone in the body, which helps regulate eye health and sleeping patterns. Less melatonin can lead to greater difficulty falling asleep at night, which in turn can create a host of health problems all by themselves.
Once again, there is no direct link between blue light and any adverse health effects, but too much exposure after sundown can trigger problems that can lead to things like heart disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and low energy. If your body isn’t getting an adequate amount of sleep, it can lead to a domino effect of health issues down the road.
But, can blue light actually harm your eyes? The short answer is “no,” at least for now. There are no long-term longitudinal studies to prove conclusively that blue light causes actual physical damage to any part of the eye, though some concerns have been raised in the recent past. Currently, all the data we have on blue light suggests that it can cause eye strain after prolonged periods of exposure, and nothing more. Studies have been conducted showing that blue light can damage cells in the eyes of laboratory animals, but there isn’t enough evidence to show a conclusive link.
After all, your eyes are exposed to any number of damaging lightwaves on a daily basis, particularly UV rays. Blue light operates in a similar way, and although it may potentially be damaging, the amount of exposure one receives from an LED screen or other blue light-emitting source is a fraction of what we are exposed to by our own sun on a daily basis.
It’s also good to remember that blue light actually has a number of health benefits attached to it. Exposure to blue light (at the right time of day) can ward off seasonal depression, boost cognitive function, improve memory and alertness, and even clear up skin conditions such as acne and plaque psoriasis.
HOW TO GUARD YOURSELF
If you find yourself having trouble getting to sleep, or suffering from low energy and other symptoms mentioned in this article, perhaps it’s best to isolate whether blue light is the cause or not. Thankfully, there are more than a few ways to protect yourself from its effects.
The first is to utilize the built-in options of your particular laptop, computer or smartphone to filter out blue light, particularly during the evening hours when you’re close to hitting the pillow. Most computer and smartphone operating systems have a blue light filter option in the settings menu which can cancel out blue light and cast the screen in a warmer tone, which can be far easier and more pleasant on the eyes. In fact, you may wish to keep the setting enabled at all times, especially if you aren’t a fan of the “cold” colour palette.
If you use a lot of LED lights in your home, whether energy-saving light bulbs or RGB bulbs, you also have a few options available to you. Most standard-issue LED bulbs are available in different colour tones, and you may wish to choose a warmer one to cut out the blue light. If you use RGB bulbs that allow you to choose any colour you want from the convenience of a smartphone app, you can set your bulbs to switch to another during the evening. Red, orange or amber tones are great choices for setting the evening ambiance, and banishing blue light from your surroundings.
And finally, if you wear glasses or sunglasses, you can always opt for lenses that block out blue light. This can be beneficial for office workers, programmers and coders who spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen, as well as night owls and graveyard shift workers. Alternatively, FL-41 tinted light sensitivity lenses can also be used. These lenses are easily recognized by their pink or amber-like colour tones, and are commonly prescribed for patients with light sensitivity or migraines.
When choosing lenses that block out the blue light spectrum, make sure to pair them with a stylish pair of designer lenses! After all, there’s no sin in looking fashionable and fantastic, while also protecting your own health. It’s the best of both worlds! Ocuwear has a bountiful assortment of stylish luxury frames from the world’s most renowned quality brands, and any one of them can be a fit for your next pair of lenses. You can even try before you buy, right from the convenience of your own living room, thanks to our website’s own handy Virtual Mirror option! Need assistance in choosing the right pair? We’re always available to help, so contact us today.