Blue Light: How Your Devices Affect Your Vision

Created March 2, 2017 by in Retina Specialist










Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow? Or that you tend to stay up later when spending a lot of time on your phone or computer? You may be experiencing the effects of blue light, a phenomenon that has become more prevalent as digital space occupies more and more of our time.

We all know about UV rays, but stepping outdoors into sunlight; flipping on a wall switch indoors; turning on your computer, phone or other digital device — all of these things result in your eyes being exposed to a variety of visible (and sometimes invisible) light rays that can have a range of effects.

Most notably, the display screens of computers, electronic notebooks, smartphones and other digital devices emit significant amounts of blue light. The amount of HEV light these devices emit is only a fraction of that emitted by the sun. but the amount of time people spend using these devices and the proximity of these screens to the user’s face has raised concerns in the medical community about blue light’s effect on eye health.

This is not to say that all blue light is detrimental; blue light from the sun plays an enormous part in regulating circadian rhythms. Additionally, a deficiency in blue light exposure in children has been linked to the development of myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness.  On the other hand, too much exposure to blue light has been linked to digital eyestrain, and over time, can damage the retina and lead to more serious conditions such as macular degeneration.

Here are steps you can take to protect your vision:

Screen time: At the office or at home, try to decrease the amount of time spent in front of these screens and/or take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.

Filters: Screen filters are available for smart phones, tablets, and computer screens. They decrease the amount of blue light given off from these devices that could reach the retina in our eyes. Applications like f.lux  add an overlay to your screen that adjusts according to the time of day.

Computer glasses: Computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light can help ease computer digital eye strain by increasing contrasts.

Intraocular lens (IOL): After cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is replaced with an IOL. This lens naturally protects the eye from almost all ultraviolet light as well as some blue light. Additionally, there are types of IOL that can protect the eye and retina from blue light

Because the digital age is still in its relative infancy, a lot of questions are unanswered regarding the long term effects of too much blue light. Fortunately, there are a myriad of apps and devices to help protect your vision for years to come. Ask your doctor about what options are right for you.

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