Exposure to invisible light called blue light could be damaging our eyes and cause other health problems. This post explains what’s happening and what we can do about it.
As shown in the illustration above, the human eye is only able to perceive one part of the light spectrum, called visible light, which is that part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is seen as colors: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. There are other kinds of light, which our eyes are unable to perceive, but are just as real. One of them is called blue light, which is invisible due to having a very short wavelength, which also produces a higher amount of energy than visible light. The shorter the wavelength; the higher the energy. Studies suggest that exposure to the blue end of the light spectrum can cause serious long-term damage to our eyes.
Since blue lightwaves are the among the shortest and have the highest energy, they flicker more easily than longer, weaker wavelengths. This flickering creates a glare that can reduce our ability to see contrasts, sharpness and clarity and might cause eyestrain, headaches, physical and mental fatigue. This exposure can come from sun rays, but also from looking at a computer screen or other electronic device for too many hours, or from light emitted by fluorescent-light tubes. Prolonged exposure to blue light might cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of vision. (Source: bluelightexposed.com)
The exact amount of the damage to our eyes caused by blue light is unknown, but it can also disrupt and reduce the quantity and quality of sleep which is essential for our body to rejuvenate and heal itself. Blue light can stimulate the circadian clock (our internal biological clock) and our brain. It can also inhibit melatonin secretion and enhance adrenocortical hormone production, which destroys our hormonal balance. (Source: preventblindness.org)
“Almost all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina. This light may affect vision and could prematurely age the eyes. Early research shows that too much exposure to blue light could lead to parts of the eye experiencing:
Digital eyestrain – fatigue, dry eyes or bad lighting. Your body’s sitting position in front of the computer can also result in eyestrain. eyestrain symptoms include: sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing.
Retina damage – Studies suggest that continued exposure to blue light over time could lead to damaged retinal cells which can result in vision problems like macular degeneration. (Source: preventblindness.org)
Children may be at higher risk for blue light retinal damage than adults. The juvenile lens absorbs less short-wavelength light than the adult lens, allowing more blue light to reach a child’s retina. (Source: aoa.org)
Compared to older generations, children will have greater exposure to blue light during their lifetime due to the incorporation of electronic devices into daily life from birth onwards.
Here are some steps we can take to protect our eyes: (Source: fortune.com)
- For Apple products, switch on the “night shift” option.
- For non-Apple products, change the screen colors to “warmer tones”.
- Wear glasses designed to filter blue light from screens and sunlight. Some contact brands now have this option available.
- Take regular breaks from looking at your devices to give your eyes a break. Try looking off, ideally into nature, at a distant point, to allow your eyes and eye muscles to rest.
- For projects that require extensive screen time, split the project into multiple parts with shorter duration.
- Do not look directly at the sun or high-powered LED headlights, bulbs or flashlights. Avoid using military-grade or very powerful hand-held lights.
- Use an anti-blue light screen cover on your blue light emitting devices.
- Minimize the use of your blue light devices at night.
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Author: Expat Gal
Expat Gal has been blessed to have known God as long as she can remember. She was raised Catholic and was baptized, made her First Communion and was confirmed in the Catholic faith. At 21, she left the Catholic faith to become a non-denominational Christian as she began to question some Catholic doctrine. One of her life’s highlights was her family’s lake baptism in 2013. In late March 2015, she received a strong Word from the Lord that your “family is no longer safe here” so she and her family permanently relocated outside the U.S. Her goal is to serve the Lord in any capacity He calls her to serve in.
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