What is Blue Light?
Emitted from the sun, blue light is naturally occurring in the world around us. On the spectrum of visible light (light that humans can see), blue light has the highest energy and the shortest wavelength.
It is also sometimes known as blue-violet or violet light, which is where ultraviolet (UV) light rays that are just beyond our perception get their name. Much like ultraviolet light, blue light has both dangers and benefits to our health, particularly to our eyes.
What are the Potential Dangers of Blue Light?
Research is still being done to determine the long-term effects of blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light emission, however it is known is that blue light is a cause of computer vision syndrome (CVS) and sleep disruptions.
The high energy and shorter wavelengths of blue or HEV light emit a less consistent flow of light, creating a glare or flickering that can cause eye strain. Because sharpness and visual contrast are affected by this, the eyes have to work harder to see clearly. After extended periods of time this can result in headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and mental and physical fatigue.
Natural blue light in the atmosphere is known to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm (which controls your sleep cycles), to boost your mood and level of alertness and to improve memory and cognitive function.
However, prolonged exposure to artificial sources of blue light has been shown to reverse these positive effects by disrupting the circadian rhythm. This affects sleep, and can cause an increased risk of depression. Studies show using a digital device before bedtime can negatively impact the amount and quality of your sleep.
Researchers at Harvard University have shown that over time, prolonged exposure to blue light can cause damage to the retina at the back of your eye, which may lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and possibly other serious health and vision problems. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss and low vision.
The Effects of Digital Eye Strain
- 70% of millennials report symptoms of dry eye and digital eyes strain (vs 57% of baby boomers)
- 50% of new contact lens wearers cease usage of lenses within the first 3 years
- Contact lens wearers are 4x more likely to experience dry eye disease
- 45% of prospective new contact lens wearers have blurred vision (potential sign of computer vision syndrome)
76% of eye care professionals report a recent increase in dry eye among 18-34-year-olds.
Increased device use tops the list!
- Blink rate is decreased by 40% when performing a visual task
- Incomplete blinks are highly correlated with device use
Symptoms of digital eye strain include:
- Blurred or double vision
- Sore eyes
- Dry or watery eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Neck, shoulder or back pain
In addition to these symptoms, emerging research shows that blue light from digital devices causes sleep disturbances by interfering with the REM cycle of sleep.
As people move from their computer to their tablet to their phone, more and more of these symptoms are being seen, and in younger and younger people. Computer glasses offer a solution to reduce the strain on your eyes and your exposure to blue light radiation.
How Computer Glasses Work
Computer glasses reduce eye strain by adjusting the focus slightly so that your eyes feel like they are focusing on something further away. They also have a tint to remove the glare and block blue light from entering into your eyes.
Children and Computer Glasses
Children are using digital devices more than ever and this trend will only continue as smartphones take over and tablet and computer-based learning increases. Their use extends well beyond the school day, as they use computers for homework and gaming and smartphones to text with their friends.
Computer glasses should be used for children proactively before eye strain begins to keep their eyes healthy longer and prevent nearsightedness.