Blue light has become a common topic of discussion in the recent years. After all, more and more optometrists are bringing forward research to shed light on the harm it can cause.
However, you might be wondering what is blue light anyway? Where does it come from, and how can it affect our general health?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Though we are just starting to understand the long-term effects of it, it’s imperative to learn what experts already know about it. This can help an individual ensure optimum protection from blue light exposure and to prevent any damage from affecting the eyes.
Other than the sun, technological devices with screens are becoming a substantial source of blue light emission. Since the world is becoming increasingly digitized by the day, the concern regarding blue light also grows. Whether it’s for work or leisure, most of us look at screens at a close range for most of the day. As a result, we are exposing our eyes to large amounts of blue light more than ever before.
In this blog post, we’re going to discuss in detail things to know about the topic, such as facts and statistics. Additionally, we will discuss methods for protection from blue light exposure to ensure optimum eye health.
Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Blue Light and Where Does It Come From?
Before you learn about protection from blue light exposure, it’s imperative to know what it is and where it comes from.
The sun, a vital reason for life, radiates energy. This energy reaches the earth as solar radiation, a component of a large collection of energy referred to as the electromagnetic radiation.
Blue light is a part of this electromagnetic spectrum consisting of various wavelengths of energy stemming from a light source. These light wavelengths are made from electromagnetic radiation and travel around in waves.
- Radio waves
- Ultraviolet rays
- Visible light
- Gamma rays
All of these wavelengths differ from each other depending on the energy they contain. The longest out of them has the lowest energy, and the shortest has the most amount of energy. They are called radio waves and gamma rays respectively. Visible light falls between the two of them and measures somewhere between 380 to 700 nanometres depending on the type of light. This means it has a significantly high amount of energy.
We can’t see a majority of these wavelengths as they travel around space even if we can measure them. The only portion of the spectrum detectable to the naked human eye is visible light. It also entails a wide range of types with red having the longest wavelength and violet (a part of blue light) having the shortest wavelength.
We already know that shorter wavelengths have more energy. Since blue has one of the shortest wavelengths, it scatters easier than other forms of visible light. A cloudless sky also appears very blue because blue light easily bounces off the molecules in the atmosphere more than the rest of the light spectrum.
We Are Constantly Exposed to Blue Light
So, now that we know about blue light, where can we find it? The answer is everywhere.
The sun is a natural source of blue light and was the only one for the longest period in history. In fact, there was a time when humans only got exposure to blue light from daylight or candles. This changed when artificial light was invented.
Advancements in this field resulted in the development of fluorescent lights and LEDs.
LEDs emit light energy from liquid crystals in the filters and electrodes when voltage is applied to them. Most of us did not realize the importance of protection from blue light exposure until manufacturers realized that LEDs are capable of producing light and colour with great efficiency. It was deemed the perfect technology for tech devices, such as computer screens, laptops, phones, and even gaming consoles.
Though this did improve user experience, it also substantially increased our exposure to blue light. Today, most of us stare at screens that emit blue light in close proximity for prolonged periods. Not only do we use such devices at work, but we also use them to wind down by streaming Netflix or playing video games.
Unlike the natural source of blue light, artificial ones don’t decrease in strength and are around us at all times. As a result, we need protection from blue light exposure instead.
Stats Show That 100% of Blue Light Reaches the Back of The Eyes
Research and statistics confirm that almost 100 per cent of blue light can pass the cornea and the lens to the eyes. It is where the retina is located. In comparison, only 1 per cent of UV rays can reach there. This is due to the fact that blue light is a high-energy form of light.
Blue Light Can Damage Our Eyes
At this point, you might be thinking that though blue light is everywhere, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmful. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth.
An increasing number of researchers and experts are expressing concerns about damages caused by blue light. As a matter of fact, many optometrists think that exposure to it can cause harm to the cells in the retina.
We already know that blue light can easily penetrate the cornea and tends to reach where the retina is located. Many experts believe that this exposure to blue light can cause a lot of harm to our vision.
This leads us to our next point.
Exposure to Blue Light Can Result in Macular Degeneration
Though the natural filters in our eyes are responsible for safeguarding them from damaging rays, they aren’t capable of providing sufficient protection from blue light exposure. As a result, blue light can make its way to the retina to cause severe health issues, such as macular degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disorder that occurs when the macula in the eyes deteriorates. This is a small region located in the centre of the retina. It is a serious condition that can lead to issues, such as like blurred or distorted vision, reduction in sight, and complete vision loss.
However, that is not the only eye problem prolonged exposure to blue light can cause.
Extended Exposure to Blue Light Can Lead to Cataracts
Individuals who don’t apply methods of protection from blue light exposure have more issues to worry about. Many researchers believe that constant exposure to it can contribute to other serious problems, such as cataracts, eye cancers, etc.
As a matter of fact, further research tells us that blue light can trigger ROS production in the mitochondria in the lens epithelial cells. This can induce the development of cataracts.
Digital Eye Strain Can Be Caused by Extended Exposure to Blue Light
Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, is a group of eye disorders and conditions that can affect vision. These usually occur when the eyes are stressed.
This stress usually stems from staring at screens for extended periods. When an individual has prolonged exposure to the blue light screens emit, it stresses their eyes and causes discomfort. It can become hard for them to focus on the task at hand. The period of time before such symptoms start can even be as short as two hours.
Other symptoms of the disorder include:
- Blurry vision
- Double vision
- Dry eyes
- Itchy or reddened eyes
- An ache in the back of the neck as well as shoulders
Blue Light Exposure Can Result in Sleep Irregularities and Insomnia
Many believe that prolonged exposure to blue light only causes damage to the eyes. However, lack of protection from blue light exposure can also result in other issues like sleep irregularities.
Our body has a natural sleep-wake cycle known as the circadian rhythm, which is closely connected to melatonin. This is a hormone usually secreted by the pineal gland during the night to ensure the sleep-cycle works optimally.
However, the sleep hormone is usually only produced and released into the bloodstream when the brain is stimulated by darkness. As a result, melatonin helps regulate and synchronize the circadian rhythm.
You might be wondering how blue light is related to it.
One of the widely known facts about blue light is that it inhibits melatonin production. If you think about it, since darkness can stimulate the production of it, light can suppress it. This is why the hormone levels start increasing around sunset.
Blue light has one of the shortest wavelengths and can especially reduce the production of melatonin. As a matter of fact, the blue light of the sun is what keeps us alert during the day. However, this source begins waning as the day comes to an end. This process ensures our sleep-wake cycle functions smoothly.
Unfortunately, the increased exposure to blue light, especially at night, keeps the melatonin levels suppressed in the body. This can cause disruptions to sleeping patterns and even result in insomnia.
Prolonged Blue Light Exposure Can Cause the Blues
It’s a widely known fact that suppression of melatonin can induce mood disorder symptoms as well as depression. Though blue light from the sun can have many benefits, exposure to artificial sources of it at night can take a toll on an individual’s mental health.
That’s because the circadian rhythm of our body is also in charge of regulating various brain and behavioural processes. Instead of just being responsible for our sleep-wake cycles, it also regulates hormones and plays a role in neurotransmission. As a result, having no protection from blue light exposure can lead to symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.
There Are Various Methods That Can Filter and Block Blue Light Exposure
It’s imperative that individuals use proper methods of protection from blue light exposure to prevent problems.
Out of them, the most popular ones are blue light filters and blue light glasses. After all, limiting the usage of tech devices isn’t just feasible anymore. We need them for work, to accomplish daily tasks, and even to for entertainment.
These blockers are cutting-edge technological devices manufactured to prevent shorter wavelengths (such as blue light) from entering the eyes and causing damage.
Blue Light Glasses
You have probably seen blue light glasses before at a pharmacy or an optometrist’s office. These are devices manufactured with state-of-the-art eye-protection technology, such as special coats and tints to filter, reduce, and block blue light. They do this by enhancing a screen’s contrast.
Though further research is needed, blue light glasses have shown benefits in various studies. In fact, a recent study concluded that individuals who used blue light glasses developed generally better eye health within a month. Moreover, wearing such glasses can be beneficial when exposed to blue light for extended periods.
Blue Light Filters
Similar to blue light glasses, these are technologically advanced blockers that prevent blue light emission from LEDs and other screens from reaching the eyes. They are especially beneficial because they can be applied to the device directly. As a result, individuals are less likely to forget them. These are also far more effective than night options available on devices.
That said, it’s imperative you buy top-quality blockers because poorly manufactured ones can turn screens yellow and fail to prevent major harm.
When it comes to premium medically-rated blue light blockers, we recommend Ocushield® products.
At MyBlueProtector.com, we offer state-of-the-art blue light screen protectors and anti-blue light glasses to keep your eyes safe. We are the official supplier of Ocushield products designed to help protect your eyes from harm. These are also FDA-registered and MHRA-approved, which can ensure you our quality standards
Our top products include blue light filters for computer screens, anti-blue light glasses for adults light screen protectors for Nintendo Switches, etc.
Contact our team for more details.