Do you know that exposure to blue light can affect your health? Do you know it is one of the leading causes of the deterioration of eyesight?
The more exposed you are to blue light the more your eyes suffer for it. Not many people know what blue light is or how potentially damaging it is to them So, let’s start from there. What exactly is blue light, where does it come from, and why do we all need to limit our exposure to it.
What is blue light?
Blue light is one of the colours in the visible light spectrum. The other colours in the spectrum include red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, and violet.
It is estimated that we spend above 11 hours per day staring at blue light-emitting screens. Our phones are always within reach, and these gadgets emit lots of blue light. Laptop and desktop screens are also notable culprits.
Blue light has a short wavelength, which translates to a high frequency and consequently, high energy. Because of this energy, blue light can pass through the eye to the retina, causing damage to the delicate tissues of the eyes.
It interferes with our sleep and causes defects in healthy sleep physiology. Studies have shown that people who are exposed to blue light 2 hours before bedtime tend to have poorer sleeping experience than people with reduced exposure.
Where does blue light come from?
Blue light is all around us and comes from almost everything that emits light, with sunlight being the major source.
Other sources include smartphones, tablet screens, LED TV, fluorescent light, and computer screens, among others. The proximity and hours of screen time on phones and gadgets raises a huge concern over the long term effects of blue light on the eyes and health in general.
Effects of blue light
Blue light exposure can lead to several health complications. Some of the effects of blue light include:
It is difficult for your eyes to cope with blue light. When there is excessive exposure, it may result in eye strain. The symptoms include blurred vision and headache.
2. Macular degeneration
This is a disease that affects the retina, resulting in the loss of central vision. Your eyes become susceptible to macular degeneration and other eye defects such as cataracts when they are exposed to blue light.
When the eyes are stressed, it results in headaches. Some people are more sensitive to light than others, and when such persons are exposed to blue light, it may lead to painful migraines.
4. Blurry vision
Exposure to blue light tends to result in having blurry vision over time. This is because the eye is stressed and does more work due to exposure to blue light.
5. Dry eyes
Moisture in the eyes is restored by frequent blinking and when you don’t blink, tears get evaporated from your eyes. Blue light distorts the rate at which you blink. It’s usual for a person exposed to blue light to experience a significant reduction in blink rate, causing one to blink less, resulting in dry eyes.
Light, in general, affects the quality of your sleep. But the effects of blue light on the eyes contribute to several sleep disorders including Insomnia. At night, the body releases the melatonin hormone to aid falling asleep. However, the presence of blue light leads to a disruption in the release of this hormone, making it difficult for you to sleep.
It was discovered in a study that people who sleep for less than 6 hours a day have a greater tendency of gaining weight than people who sleep more. Quality sleep positively impacts your general wellbeing and helps you to maintain a healthy weight. Exposure to blue light affects the amount and quality of sleep you get, which increases the risk of obesity.
How to limit exposure to blue light
There are ways to ensure you protect your eyes from the effects of blue light exposure. The following should help
1. Wear blue light protection glasses
There are glasses with protection capabilities that help to block or absorb incoming blue light and stop it from getting to the eye. One effective way to limit exposure to this light is to adopt the use of such glasses. An important advantage of these glasses is that you won’t have to worry about fixing blue light filters on individual gadgets once you have them on.
2. Use blue light-filtering screen protectors
There are screen guards you can use on your phone screens to prevent the blue light from getting to your eyes. Phone screens are designed to emit blue light because they are energy-efficient and cost-effective. But with a blue light filter screen protector, you can safely protect your eyes without having to worry about emissions off your phone screen.
3. Use blue light filter applications and software
There are software and applications that can help adjust screen display and reduce blue light levels. Some of these types of software include Iris, Flux, Redshift among others. For mobile apps, you can consider using Night Shift blue light filter, Twilight, EasyEyes, or Blue Light Filter Pro.
4. Deliberate blinking
Studies suggest that blue light exposure reduces our blink rate from 12 per minute to 6 per minute. When you blink, the moisture in your eyes increases, so it is important to always initiate frequent blinking to avoid getting dry eyes.
5. Limit screen time
You may not always be able to completely avoid using your gadgets, but as much as you can, try to limit the frequency and usage time. And this could be a very difficult thing to do because everything is online and you need any of these gadgets to access the internet. Still, make a conscious effort to take breaks, and sometimes avoid using them.
6. Dim your screen
The brighter the screen, the more the emission of blue light. When in dark environments, dimming your screen will help reduce the amount of blue light exposure. You should do this especially if you find yourself spending long hours on your computer or phone without blue light glasses.
7. Use low blue light bulbs
While light helps in areas like the much-needed alertness during the day, it hurts our sleep and health at night. To help limit the effect of blue light exposure from light bulbs, replace your light bulbs with low energy, low light alternatives.
8. Keep your phone away for at least two hours before bedtime
Adopting the habit of staying away from screens at least two hours before you sleep can greatly improve the quality of sleep. It would give your body the time it needs to release melatonin without interference from blue light.
A final note
Blue light should be a major concern because long term exposure can inflict serious damage to your eyes and health. The suggested measures above should be taken to limit exposure as much as possible.
Blue light is all around us and we cannot completely escape from it, but we can certainly try to limit our exposure to it.