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Blue Light

Eye Safety
Jan 20, 2018 4:55:13AM
What is Blue light?

Blue Light is a color in the ‘visible light spectrum’ that can be seen by the human eye. Blue light has a very short wavelength, between 380nm and 500 nm, and so produces a higher amount of energy.


Studies suggest that, over time, exposure to the blue end of the light spectrum could cause serious long-term damage to your eyes.



Visible Light Spectrum

Where is Blue Light found?

Blue light is actually everywhere. When outside, light from the sun travels through the atmosphere. The shorter, high energy blue wavelengths collide with the air molecules causing blue light to scatter everywhere. This is what makes the sky look blue. In its natural form, your body uses blue light from the sun to regulate your natural sleep and wake cycles. This is known as your circadian rhythm. Blue light also helps boost alertness, heighten reaction times, elevate moods, and increase the feeling of well-being. Artificial sources of blue light include electronic devices such as cell phones and laptop computers, as well as energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs and LED lights.


Why should we be concerned about blue light exposure?

Blue light waves are the among the shortest, highest energy wavelengths in the visible light spectrum. Because they are shorter, these "Blue" or High Energy Visible (HEV) wavelengths flicker more easily than longer, weaker wavelengths. This kind of flickering creates a glare that can reduce visual contrast and affect sharpness and clarity.


This flickering and glaring may be one of the reasons for eyestrain, headaches, physical and mental fatigue caused by many hours sitting in front of a computer screen or other electronic device.


Our eyes' natural filters do not provide sufficient protection against blue light rays from the sun, let alone the blue light emanating from these devices or from blue light emitted from fluorescent-light tubes. Prolonged exposure to blue light may cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of vision.


Where are the increased blue light coming from?

The evolution in digital screen technology has advanced dramatically over the years, and many of today's electronic devices use LED back-light technology to help enhance screen brightness and clarity. These LEDs emit very strong blue light waves. Cell phones, computers, tablets and flat-screen televisions are just among a few of the devices that use this technology. Because of their wide-spread use and increasing popularity, we are gradually being exposed to more and more sources of blue light and for longer periods of time.



Blue Light Benefits Harms

Blue Light and Digital Eyestrain

Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours staring at digital screen, whether it's the computer at work, our personal cell phone, playing a video game, or just relaxing and watching TV. Digital eyestrain is a new term used to describe the conditions resulting from the use of today's popular electronic gadgets.


Digital eyestrain is a medical issue with serious symptoms that can affect learning and work productivity. Symptoms of digital eyestrain, or computer vision syndrome, include blurry vision, difficulty focusing, dry and irritated eyes, headaches, neck and back pain. Digital eyestrain has overtaken carpal-tunnel syndrome as the number one computer-related complaint.


Digital eyestrain does not just affect adults. Children are also at risk for eyestrain due to their growing use of digital devices. Children today have more digital tools at their disposal than ever before – tablets, smart phones, e-readers, videogames are just among a few. According to study, children spend more than 7 hours a day consuming electronic media. Before age 10, children's eyes are not fully developed. The crystalline lens and cornea are still largely transparent and overexposed to light, so too much exposure to blue light is not a good thing. Parents should supervise and limit the amount of screen time their children are permitted.


Nearly 70% of adults who report regular usage of media devices experienced some symptoms of digital eyestrain, but many did nothing to lessen their discomfort mainly due to lack of knowledge.



Blue Light Effects


How can you protect your eyes against the harmful rays of blue light?

The use of protective eyewear can play an important role in shielding your eyes against the effects of blue light.


For indoors, in low light or at night, protective ophthalmic lenses with a special coating designed to reflect and cut high energy blue light penetration are available. This type of lens coating is referred to as a blue light filter coating. Thanks to blue light filter coatings, the harmful portion of blue light is cut while allowing the good portion of blue light to pass through. You can actually see the protection at work as blue light is being reflected off the lens. Due to the reduced amount of blue light entering the eyes, contrasts are improved by reducing screen brightness, flickering and eye fatigue to provide a strain-free visual experience while providing the most complete protection.


Sunglasses, which are specially tinted or polarized to absorb the HEV blue rays, are perfect for outdoors during the day.


The best resource is to ask your Optician or Optometrist. He or she will be happy to answer all questions and concerns and ensure the maximum UV and blue light protection possible based on your individual needs.


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