UV Light Vs. Blue Light – Which One Hurts Your Eyes

Visible light is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The wavelength of visible light trigger color and brightness perception in human and lies between ultraviolet and infrared radiation. Electromagnetic particles travel in waves beams to make the light.

These electromagnetic waves emit energy of different strengths and lengths. Visible light consists of indigo, violet, green, blue, yellow, orange, and red colors. What’s the difference between ultraviolet (UV) light and blue light (visible light)? Which one is dangerous for your eyes? In today’s article, we will answer these questions.

Ultraviolet Light

UV light has wavelengths ranging between 100nm and 400nm, and visible light ranges between 400nm and 750nm. Infrared light or radiation has wavelengths between 1nm and 750nm. Bear in mind that light with shorter wavelengths has higher energy levels. On the other hand, light with longer wavelengths has lower energy levels.

The human eye has different layers and internal structures that protect the retina against UV light. UV light is consists of UVA, UVB, and UVC beams. UVA has wavelengths ranging between 315nm and 400nm, UVB between 280nm and 315nm, and UVC between 100 and 280nm.

Thanks to the atmospheric layers in our environment, most of the UVB and UVC light or radiation does not reach the earth’s surface. On the other hand, UVA light can reach the earth’s surface. Research shows that the atmosphere contains about 95% UVA light.

The cornea of your eyes blocks UV light with wavelengths shorter than 295nm. The crystalline lens can block UV light with a wavelength lower than 400nm. However, a small amount of UV light with a wavelength of 320nm can enter young children’s eyes.

That’s why it is crucial to purchase sunglasses for your children to protect their eyes against this wavelength of UV light. Although UV light does not damage your eyes, you can still protect them by staying in shades during midday hours.

On the other hand, UV light is dangerous for your skin, leading to a wide range of acute and chronic complications, including skin cancer. That’s why you should wear clothes that cover your body, including arms and legs. Sunglasses are also an excellent way to mitigate the effects of UV light on your eyes.

Blue Light

Blue light is a part of the visible light spectrum with higher energies and shorter wavelengths. Blue light has wavelengths ranging between 400nm and 500nm. Many research studies have confirmed that blue light beams from the sun and artificial sources.

Computers screens, smartphones, laptops, tablets, and LED light fixtures, can penetrate the human eye and reach the retinal cells, causing significant damage. Too much exposure to blue light can cause photo-oxidation of your retinal cells, leading to age-related macular degeneration.

Research shows that macular degeneration can affect people of all ages. However, it is more prevalent in people above 55. Blue light from the sun can increase the risk of eye conditions. Likewise, too much screen time can cause digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

Digital eyestrain affects about 50% of computer users, including students and office workers. The most common symptoms of digital eyestrain are dry eyes, irritation, soreness, redness, and blurred vision. Blue light is the leading contributor to retinal cells damage, also known as phototoxicity. The amount of damage to these cells depends on various factors, such as your age, eyes’ health, wavelength, and the time of exposure.

Permanent Vision Loss

A growing body of research evidence has confirmed that blue light can cause permanent vision loss if a person fails to practice protection measures. Although not all blue light is harmful to your eyes, most blue light can damage your retina. Blue light also increases the risk of macular degeneration, and not wearing blue light glasses can lead to permanent vision loss.

Disrupted Sleep

Not only do you experience eye damage due to blue light exposure, but you also have increased risks of other conditions, such as difficulty sleeping at night or staying asleep. Excessive exposure to blue light can also cause insomniac episodes and disrupt your sleep cycles at night.

As a result, you may experience stress, depression, fatigue in the daytime, diabetes, hypertension, poor metabolic functions, imbalanced homeostasis, and even weight gain. Nighttime exposure to blue light emitted from computer screens or smartphones can cause depressive symptoms and bipolar disorder.

How to Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light?

There are many ways to protect your eyes from blue light. Protecting your eyes against shorter wavelengths of light is essential because they can damage your eyes and cause other chronic health conditions. Here are a few practical ways to protect your eyes.

Take Eye Supplements

The macular pigment present in your eyes tissue absorbs blue light from the sun and artificial sources. Macular pigment is a thin layer of yellow tissue located in the macula, the central region of your eye. Lutein, zeoxanthin, and Meso-Zeoxanthin are three carotenoids that make up this pigment. You can use eye supplements with these essential carotenoids to strengthen the macula and macular pigment.

Use Screen Filter

Another way to protect your eyes against blue light is using screen filters on your computer screen. These are affordable accessories that can block different wavelengths of the blue light emitted from your computer screen or laptop.

Wear Blue Light Glasses

Although taking frequent breaks or limiting digital devices can reduce exposure to blue light, these are not effective strategies for preventing eyestrain. If you are a student, office worker, or video gamer, you will damage your eyes when using your computer for a prolonged period.

However, if you want to protect your eyes from damages, consider investing in a pair of high-end blue light glasses. You can use these glasses for different purposes, such as watching videos, playing games, and even driving. These glasses have yellow-tinted lenses that can effectively block blue light and reduce the risk of digital eye strain and other eye conditions.

Final Words

UV light and blue light are parts of the light spectrum. However, UV light does not cause significant damage to your eyes because it can’t enter the retina. In contrast, visible blue light of high energies and shorter wavelengths can damage your retinal cells. The good news is that you can use blue light glasses to protect your eyes. These glasses are a reliable and affordable way to mitigate the harms of blue light.