Did you know handheld devices and flat screens contain large amounts of blue light, causing eye strain and damage? As technological devices become mainstream and overflow tech markets, more research is being done to determine the effects of prolonged exposure to blue light. Here’s what you need to know about blue light and your vision.
What Is Blue Light?
The combination of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light become the white light we see, but each unique color has an energy and wavelength of its own. While red rays have longer wavelengths and less energy, blue rays have shorter wavelengths and more energy. White light, commonly found in a variety of electronics, contains a large blue component. When the eyes look at white light, then, they’re absorbing blue rays too.
While the largest source of blue light comes from the sun, we also absorb plenty of fluorescent light from CFL light bulbs, LED light, flat screen LED televisions, computer monitors, smartphones, and tablet screens. According to one study, children’s eyes absorb more blue light from digital screens than adults. Long-term exposure to blue light screens, and proximity to screens, has serious effects on eye health and vision.
Blue Light and Eye Health
While there are several important advantages to absorbing blue light, such as boosted alertness, improved cognitive function, and circadian rhythm regulation, absorbing too much blue light has detrimental effects. After blue light passes through the cornea and lens, it reaches the cornea – but too much exposure to this form of light in the retina causes problems in the form of:
Digital eyestrain – Too much blue light from digital devices decreases contrast and leads to eyestrain. When eyes are strained (or you’re sitting in poorly lit areas), eyes may become sore and irritated, leading to problems focusing.
Retina damage – Retina cells can become damaged when the eye is exposed to too much blue light, causing vision problems like age-related macular degeneration.
Vision Therapy Can Help
If you’re experiencing difficulties focusing on the computer screen, consider using vision therapy to detect if larger vision problems are at play. Poor eye tracking, for example, may be the underlying cause for visual eyestrain in front of the computer, only made worse by prolonged exposure to screens with harsh glare.
By working with a vision therapist, you can proactively address underlying vision problems and work to improve them. Proper training can improve the function of the eye muscles, allowing the eyes to better tolerate and focus the light from computer screens. With improved eye function, symptoms of eye fatigue, blur, and double vision decrease. Patients also find they don’t experience as many headaches and make fewer errors while reading, writing, and typing.
It’s important to pay attention to your symptoms to determine if you may be living with a vision problem. You can find more information about common vision problems here and how to address them with a professional.
There are many things you can do to protect your eyes from too much blue-light exposure. To make sure you maintain good eye health, use the following tactics.
Limit Screen Time
Give yourself and your eyes a break from digital screens. Decreasing the amount of time spent in front of computers, smartphones, and tablets may be a quick cure to irritated eyes and feelings of fatigue.
Download filters on digital devices to decrease the amount of blue light given off from smartphones, tablets, and computer screens. This helps protect the retina from too much exposure to blue light.
Computer glasses and anti-reflective glasses are great options for battling blue light’s negative effects. Computer glasses block blue light with yellow-tinted lenses, helping increase contrast so your eyes aren’t so strained. Anti-reflective lenses block blue light from digital devices and from the sun. In addition, they help reduce glare.
Intraocular lenses replace cloudy lenses during cataract surgery. Lenses protect eyes from ultraviolet light and some blue light. Different lenses will produce different results, so speak with your doctor about the best lens options.
Stay Healthy, Stay Happy
Knowing how blue light affects your vision is the first step in making healthier decisions and building better habits. If you suspect more serious vision problems are at play, schedule a consultation with one of our doctors today. We’ll help you get to the root of your difficulties and create a vision plan tailored to your unique goals.