Blue Light, Its Dangers and Its Solutions
In the advanced age we live, at the turn of the 21st century, electronic devices are everywhere, making our everyday interactions with the world around us easier, safer and more convenient than ever before. It should be noted, however, that despite the many positive effects that have resulted from these devices in our everyday lives, a darker, more dangerous side exists.
Dr. Rachel Cohn of Wink Eyecare Boutique in Potomac, Maryland explains, “Blue light, also known as high energy visible light, is emitted by many electronics, such as computer screens, televisions and smart phones, and is a serious threat to eye health which can have both short and long term consequences that the wider public should be aware of to properly protect their valuable sense of sight.” To understand the scope of the issue, it should be pointed out that, statistically, each of us spends roughly 25 hours every week staring at the screen of one of our electronic devices. Putting this in perspective, each of us spends more than one entire day, without factoring in sleep, staring at devices that emit blue light that is proven to do serious damage to our visual system.
Eyestrain, headaches and fatigue are common side effects associated with blue light overexposure. Even more alarming, experts in the field of eye care indicate that blue light exposure has the potential to increase risk of macular degeneration significantly over time. Those with a history of macular degeneration are at special risk, as well as children, due to large pupils and shorter arms, which cause them to hold electronic devices closer to their faces, both of which allow more blue light to penetrate the eye.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of blue light? Dr. Cohn advises, “One possible step to reduce your blue light exposure is to try to limit your electronics use overall. If you're not able to do this for any reason, it is still very helpful to at least cut back before bed. Clinical studies in the field of eyecare indicate that exposure to blue light within a couple of hours before bed has a suppressive effect on melatonin, which is one of the main chemicals that helps your body wind down for sleep, and delays deep REM sleep. Cutting back on electronics use before bed can significantly increase the quality of your sleep, helping you feel better and be more productive during the day.”
But even if you do cut back, the time you spend on your electronic devices is still time when you are exposed to damaging blue light. Fortunately, technological solutions exist that will help you reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes as you use these devices. Blue light blocking coatings, such as Zeiss Duravision Silver, can be applied to your next lens prescription, to filter significant amounts of harmful blue light and filter out significant glare that would otherwise be bombarding your eyes, causing irreversible damage to your eyes. Patients who spend hours on electronic devices are at increased risk of eyestrain and glare, macular degeneration or problems falling asleep at night.
For more information about blue light and how to protect yourself, contact Dr. Cohn today at 301-545-1111.