The majority of us know the importance of protecting our eyes from harmful ultra-violet light radiation. But did you know that there are other types of light that can also cause harm and damage to the eyes? You might have recently seen advertisements for blue-light blocking eyeglasses or blue blocking filters for digital device screen. But what exactly is blue light and why is it bad for my eyes? This week’s blog post answers this question!
What Is Blue Light?
To understand blue light, you first should have a general idea of what light is! So here’s a quick explanation!
Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Light travels in waves which emit energy. Different strengths and lengths of light waves create different types of light. These different waves are divided into different categories. More common known types of light are visible light and ultraviolet light. These types are just a few types of light that are in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Why Is Blue Light Bad For My Eyes?
As humans, we can only see visible light. Visible light is responsible for producing colours. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These colours all result from different wavelengths of visible light. Shorter light wavelengths emit more energy than longer wavelengths. Blue wavelengths of light are shorter because they fall at the end of the light wave spectrum. Because they are shorter wavelengths they emit more energy. It is this continuous exposure to the energy that is emitted by the blue light waves that can cause serious long-term damage to our eyes!
Where Is Blue Light Found?
Blue light is all over! Our sky is blue because of the blue wavelengths of light in our atmosphere! This natural source of blue light actually benefits our body. Our body uses this light to regulate our circadian rhythm. This is responsible for our sleep and wake cycles. Natural blue light also helps with our mood as well as increases alertness.
Artificial blue light is the type of light that can lead to eye problems. LED lit electronic devices emit strong artificial blue wavelengths of light. Most computers, phones, tv’s and tablets use this type of light technology. Digital devices which use LED are very prevalent in today’s society. Our eyes are constantly exposed to this harmful blue light.
What Are Some Problems Caused By Blue Light?
Digital Eye Strain & Blue Light
So many people spend much of the day glued to screens and digital devices. Digital devices are used at work and in homes. Even when relaxing watching tv or using our cell phones, we are using digital devices. Because of this, digital eyestrain and fatigue is a very real condition that occurs as a result of using everyday electronic devices and exposure to blue wavelengths of light.
Digital eyestrain causes many different symptoms. Blurry vision, dry eyes, problems focusings, and headaches are just a few common symptoms. When left untreated, these symptoms can lead to problems which not only cause discomfort but can also affect learning and productivity.
There is new evidence to support the theory that exposure to the blue wavelengths of light can accelerate the eye disease macular degeneration. Macular degeneration occurs when the center part of the retina, the macula starts to deteriorate. The macula is responsible for our fine central vision. Damage to this part of the eye can leave a permanent central blind spot.
How Do We Protect Our Eyes From Harmful Light?
There are new blue-light blocking lens coatings designed for eyeglass lenses and applied as a filter to digital device screens which help block out the harmful blue light. With children starting to use digital devices at early ages, everyone needs to take precautious measures to protect their eyes.
If you have questions about blue-light filtering eyeglass lenses, our experienced and knowledgeable group of opticians would love to help you out and discuss your options!
The article was written by Trina Vanaalst, licensed optician and contact lens practitioner