Electronic devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets have become an essential part of our everyday life. However, the screens on these devices emit blue light that can contribute to eye fatigue and damage to the sensitive light-receptor cells in the eyes. There are a number of ways you can protect your eyes from excessive blue light exposure that can affect your vision.
Blue Light Has A Good Side and A Bad Side
Natural sunlight is composed of many different wavelengths of light, including red, yellow, green, blue and many shades that are in between. Together, all these forms make up the “white light” we normally see. Ultraviolet light is the strongest light, with the shortest wavelength. The dangers from ultraviolet light rays from the sun are well known, but many people do not know that the blue light that comes from electronic device screens can also cause troublesome symptoms, such as chronic eye fatigue, dryness of the eyes and damage to the delicate cells of the retina.
Working on Electronic Devices
Blue light is everywhere, and people are exposed to it from sunlight, fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, flat TV screens and electronic devices. The human eye is not as good at blocking blue light, as it is blocking UV light. As a result, much of the blue light passes through the lens and cornea directly to the retina at the back of the eyes.
Constant use of electronic devices permits continued exposure of the retina to blue light rays. While some blue light is necessary for staying alert, boosting memory and elevating mood, too much of it can have negative effects. Some evidence indicates it may increase the risk for age-related macular degeneration in later years. Blue light also regulates circadian rhythm and natural sleep-wake cycles, so too much of it can also disrupt normal sleep patterns.
Blue Light and Children’s Eyes
Protecting children’s eyes is even more important because of changes and development that occurs during the growing years. Today, children are exposed to blue light from electronic devices from a very early age. Some blue light is necessary for children’s normal growth and development. Insufficient blue light may play a part in increases in nearsightedness. However, too much blue light may have a detrimental effect on children’s eye health and vision, over time.
Preventing Problems From Blue Light Exposure
Proactive steps can help to protect your eyes from excessive blue light exposure from computer screens and other electronic devices. You can decrease the amount of time you or your children spend looking at screens. You can purchase a blue light filter that helps to decrease the amount of blue light emitted from devices.
If you work at a computer regularly, you can get computer glasses with yellow tinted lenses that block blue light. Anti-reflective lenses for your eyeglasses can also help to reduce glare and block blue light. Older individuals who are scheduled for cataract surgery can ask about intraocular lenses that can help to filter UV and blue light. Your eye doctor can provide more information on the best ways to protect your eyes from blue light.
Avoiding excessive exposure to blue light from electronic devices can be a challenge. If your work requires constant use of computers, take steps to minimize eye fatigue and dry eye problems by implementing eye health measures on a daily basis. Monitor your children’s exposure to blue light and make sure both they, and you, take regular breaks from electronic devices. These ongoing actions can help to protect vision over the long term.
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