Blue Light and Your Eyes
- Posted on: May 11 2020
THE WEEKLY VIEW
Mountain View Eye Center’s Weekly Blog
Blue Light and Your Eyes
Blue light has been receiving a lot of attention lately. You may have seen ads for blue light filtering eye wear online, or perhaps you have heard about blue light protection from your eye doctor or optician. But what does the term “blue light” actually mean, and how does it affect your body? In this blog, we’ll explain what blue light is, what we know about its effects on our eyes, and what you can do to keep yourself healthy.
What is blue light?
The term “blue light” refers to a range of light on the color spectrum that is visible to the human eye, specifically from 380-500nm. Blue light is the reason the sky looks blue, due to its shorter wavelengths and the scattering of light by tiny molecules of air in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The sun emits more blue light than any other source.
Most of the blue light exposure we receive is from the sun. Our bodies use this light to regulate our daily sleep and wake cycles, also known as our circadian rhythm. However not all of our blue light exposure is from the sun. Digital devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones emit blue light as well. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans aged 60 and older spend more than half of their daily leisure time in front of screens-over 4 hours a day. This daily exposure leads to headaches, dry eyes, and blurry vision, which are all symptoms of digital eye strain.
Prolonged exposure to digital devices can lead to sleep imbalance and digital eye strain.
Research is being done to determine the relationship between blue light and retinal damage. According to the American Optometric Association, exposure to blue light may be a risk factor for the onset of macular degeneration-a deterioration of the part of the retina which provides sharp, central vision. While there is no definitive answer about whether or not blue light is damaging our eyes, we do know that frequent and prolonged use of screens can affect our circadian rhythm, leading to sleep imbalances. According to the Vision Council, nearly 80 percent of adults say they use digital devices in the hour just before going to sleep.
What can I do to protect myself?
The best way to keep your eyes safe is with the proper eyewear. When outdoors, wear good quality sunglasses. The opticians at Mountain View Optical recommend polarized sunglasses which help to block both blue light and UV rays, and also eliminate glare. All of the sun wear sold at Mountain View Optical blocks 100% of UV rays.
When using screens, our opticians recommend Anti-Fatigue lenses with a blue light filter. Anti-Fatigue lenses are designed to eliminate eye strain by minimizing the amount of work that is done by your eye while looking at images up close. These lenses slightly magnify images at arm’s length and closer, giving you clearer vision and doing the accommodative work your eyes may be struggling to do.
Blue light filters come in the form of a coating that is applied to your lenses. This coating has a slight yellowish tint which helps to prevent blue light from reaching your eye. In addition, this coating reduces glare, enhancing comfort when looking at a brightly backlit screen. Blue light blocking coatings also contain a built-in layer of extra durable scratch protection, and are oleophobic and hydrophobic, making them easier to clean.
It’s easy to see why eyewear is essential to the health and comfort of your eyes in this digital age. The opticians at Mountain View Optical are up to date on the latest in eyewear technology and trends, and their expertise is just a phone call away.
For more information about your eyewear options, or to schedule an exam, call (907) 328-2920
Mountain View Eye Center
2555 Phillips Field Road
Fairbanks, AK 99709
Written by: Gina Stafford COA, LDO, ABOC
Pew Research Center, Americans 60 and older are spending more time in front of their screens than a decade ago, Written by Gretchen Livingston (2019)
American Optometric Association, Protecting your eyes from solar radiation
Vision Council, The Vision Council Shines Light on Protecting Eyesight – and Health – in a Multi-Screen Era (2019)
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