• Prairie Eye Care

Is Blue Light Bad For Your Eyes?

Thanks to our modern age technology, we now use our phones, computers, TVs, fluorescent bulbs, and other gadgets more than ever. While it’s undeniable that the internet age has many benefits, this overexposure to the light emitted from our devices is bad news for your eyes.


There’s been a lot of buzz over the past few years about the number of blue light waves we’re exposed to and their effects on our vision and overall health.


But is blue light bad for the eyes? In this article, we explore more about what blue light is and how it affects our vision and eye health.


What Is Blue Light?

The visible light we see from the sun comes in a broad spectrum of colors from low-energy light to high-energy violet light. Blue light falls near violet, being a short-wavelength and high-energy light.


It’s important to remember that with all the talk about the damaging effects of blue light on our eyes, most of the blue light we encounter comes from the sun (along with the other light wavelengths).


Our brains and eyes have evolved to use the sun’s blue light to indicate its daytime and time to be awake. Multiple studies support the finding that wavelengths of light, including blue light included, are good and even necessary for proper eye development, especially in eye development in children.


It’s a bit ironic then that the same blue light that is so crucial to our health and development can also contribute to eye damage and disease if we have too much of it.


Is Blue Light Damaging To Your Eyes?

In the days before phones, computers, and tablets, fluorescent and LED light, most of the blue light exposure came from the sun. While blue light from the sun provides benefits, over time, even this naturally occurring light source causes damage to and deterioration of the eyes.


The problem now is that most of us now get double doses of blue every day. In a sense, we’re turning on the sun for an extra 4-8 hours per day.


This is a problem for a few reasons. Too much blue light has been shown to increase the rate that our eyes are damaged, encounter eye strain symptoms, and eye fatigue. Too much blue light at night can also have a negative effect our

sleep-wake cycles.


Recall that blue light is part of the signal that it’s time to be awake. It’s also true that in the absence of light, your body releases hormones that tell you it’s time to start thinking about sleep.


But now that we spend our evenings in the presence of often nearly constant blue light sources, our circadian rhythm - the biological internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycles - gets thrown out of wack. And when this rhythm gets messed up, we tend to get less sleep and poor sleep.


There are mountains of evidence that expose the detrimental effects of not getting enough sleep, which can range from increased risk of heart disease, cancer, stress levels, and a shortened life span.


How To Minimize Eye Damage Fro Blue Light

Blue light exposure is unavoidable. We shouldn’t go about our lives meticulously trying to avoid every source of blue light out there, but there are simple techniques and tricks we can use to reduce our exposure and minimize the eye damage caused by blue light.


One of the most common tricks is using the 20-20-20 technique. To do this, take a 20-minute break every time you are using a digital device. Focus your eyes on an object that is at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.


Try to have your devices in front of your face, so your eyes are looking straight at it instead of angling up, down, or to the sides.


We know that sunglasses protect your eyes from damaging UV rays, but you may ask yourself: do sunglasses protect against blue light? The answer is yes.


When inside looking at a screen, consider getting a pair of blue light sunglasses, especially for those who work in front of a computer screen 8 hours a day then go home and spend more time in front of a screen.

The last tip is to see your eye doctor or optometrist regularly. They are the experts who can help you plan and strategize for reducing your blue light exposure. A comprehensive eye exam will tell you if there are any warning signs or already present damage and recommend how to remedy them and prevent further damage from occurring.


Don’t take chances with your vision and eye health. Call Prairie Eye Care to schedule your appointment today.

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