What is blue light?
If you have used a cell phone, computer, tablet, or television, then you have been taking in blue light. Blue light is one of the colors in the light spectrum; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Obviously, you get the most light exposure from the sun, but screens make a significant impact.
Research has shown that blue light can have positive effects on an individual. This includes boosting alertness, helping memory recall, raising your mood, and improving your attention span. However, as with everything, there is also a bad side to blue light.
Each color in the light spectrum has a different wavelength and energy. Blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy than the other colors. Research has found a link between blue light wavelength and eye damage. Therefore, having screens such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops so close to one’s eyes can heighten the risk of eye disease. Similarly, the light can stimulate your brain and slow the production of melatonin, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
Blue light is hard to avoid, so you should be looking for ways to protect your eyes on a daily basis. Your Sight Matters compiled a list of tips that work to keep your eyes healthy in a world of screens emitting blue light.
- Limit screen time outside of work. If you have a job that requires you to work on a computer all day, there is not much you can do to prevent that exposure. However, once you get home, you can try to limit the amount of time you spend with screens. Instead, you can read a book, take a walk, or enjoy another activity that does not require screen use.
- Download a blue light filter app. It can be difficult to give up all your screens once you get home– it’s your time to relax, and sometimes, that means scrolling through your social media until you fall asleep. If that is often the case for you, you can protect yourself by downloading a filter app for your devices. There are plenty of options on the app store that will put a filter on your screen and reduce the amount of light output.
- Keep devices away before bedtime. As mentioned above, blue light can cause restlessness and insomnia. Therefore, it is best to refrain from using your devices right before you are trying to go to bed. A tip might be to charge your devices in another room so you are not tempted to scroll or surf while you’re supposed to be sleeping.
- Remember to blink. Focusing on your screens causes you to blink less. This can cause dry eye, discomfort, and irritation. Set up reminders to blink or keep a post-it note on your computer screen to remind yourself to blink. Your eyes will thank you!
- Receive regular eye exams. Nothing beats seeing a professional who can correctly treat any issues related to your eyes. You should set up an appointment with your ophthalmologist to see if you can be prescribed blue light glasses to help with the eye strain of living in a digital world.
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