Ever think about light and what it’s made of? All types of visible light, be it from your computer screen, ceiling lamp or the sun, emit rays that have various effects. Most people are aware of the dangers of UV rays from sun exposure and the importance of sunscreen and sunglasses. But what many aren’t aware of is that light shines with a range of different coloured rays that have different amounts of energy, and some pose more of a threat than others. In this article, our Citrus Heights eye doctor discusses blue light.
Basics of Blue Light
In brief, light rays have different wavelengths, and the longer the wavelength, the less energy it has. Conversely, the shorter the wavelength – the higher the amount of energy. Blue light is one of the shortest, highest energy wavelengths of visible light.
What else is essential to know about blue light? Here are six primary points:
1. You can’t escape blue light; it’s everywhere.
The sun is the main source of natural blue light, but there are numerous artificial sources of blue light, such as LED and fluorescent light, flat-screen TVs, computer monitors, and the screens of all digital devices. While the amount of blue light emitted by these devices is small in comparison to what’s emitted by the sun, the amount of time people spend looking at these devices has raised a red flag for eye care professionals around the world. Eye doctors are concerned about the long-term effects of artificial blue light.
2. Blue light can endanger your future eye health.
Studies have shown that overexposure to blue light can damage retinal cells, leading to changes that increase your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Over time, macular degeneration can lead to vision loss.
3. Blue light glasses help your eyes block blue light.
While the human eye has some built-in protection against UV radiation reaching the retina at the back of your eyeball, it doesn’t block blue light well. Almost all visible blue light can pass smoothly through your cornea and lens, getting all the way to the retina. Blue light glasses offer an efficient way to prevent overexposure to this radiation. We offer specialty eyewear including blue light glasses at our Citrus Heights optical shop; stop by anytime to learn more.
4. Blue light can cause digital eye strain.
Blue light cannot be focused as easily as other visible light, because it scatters more readily. When you gaze at a digital screen, you subject your eyes to a lot of unfocused visual “noise,” which reduces visual contrast, and can cause the uncomfortable symptoms of digital eye strain. Blue light glasses (with yellow-tinted lenses) can prevent this disruptive condition and enhance comfort when you’re using a computer or device for long periods.
5. Cataract surgery can increase the risk of blue light on your eyes.
When the natural lens of your eye is removed during cataract surgery, it will be replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). For optimal eye health, this artificial lens should provide blue light protection. Be sure to discuss the type of IOL that your eye surgeon will use. After surgery, you may benefit from wearing blue light glasses crafted with a special filter in the lenses – especially if you spend a lot of time on the computer.
6. Blue light can also be good for you.
As we discuss all the ways to limit your exposure to blue light, our Citrus Heights eye doctor points out that you also need blue light for good health! Scientific studies have shown it boosts moods, energizes your body, and helps with memory and cognitive function. It also plays a crucial role in regulating circadian rhythm, which is your wake-sleep cycle. On that note, while normal exposure to blue light during the daytime helps you to fall asleep at night, too much blue light late at night will prevent you from slipping peacefully into sleep.
Don’t let blue light disturb your visual comfort during the day or get in the way of a good night’s sleep! Visit our Citrus Heights eye care centre to learn how blue light glasses can help.