Can blue light cause headaches?

Ever wondered why you feel a slight pain in your eyes and throbbing temples after a long and tiring day at work?  After work, occasional headaches and eye pain are nothing to worry about bur when these headaches get frequent; this is the red flag of something wrong happening in our body.

There could be many reasons for our continuous mind-numbing headache after work like excessive work pressure and wrong neck posture during work. Digital eye strain is one of the reasons for the frequent headaches, too, which is caused by overexposure of blue light.

We will have an overview of how blue light causes headaches and how to prevent it in this article.

What is blue light?

Blue light is a short-wavelength light that is visible to the human eyes. Blue light is naturally emitted by the sun; however, we can get exposed to artificial blue light by the LED bulbs, smartphone screens, and many other sources.

The most asked question about blue light is, is blue light good? Or is it bad? Well, it is both. It promotes our daytime alertness, and excessive exposure can have various health impacts like sleep cycle disruption, eye strain, and headaches.

How does blue light exacerbate headaches?

There are countless researches available that stresses on the adverse effect of blue light on migraine sufferers and people who are prone to headaches. 

According to research, there is a particular neural pathway from eyes to brain. A specific wavelength (480nm) of blue light affects this pathway and causes discomfort. 

There is another research conducted in 2016 by Harvard medical school in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Six hundred nineteen migraine sufferers were exposed to different intensities of blue, green, and red light. The light that was found to worsen the symptoms was (drumroll!!) blue light.

Excessive screen timing and blue light-induced headache

If you are one of those like me who spend most of the day (and night) on screen, then continuous headaches might not be a new thing. I spend most of my time working on my laptop and my smartphone and the result, well, my surging migraine episodes and eye pain.

Why does this happen? What is on our computer screens and digital devices that cause headaches? It’s a blue light! The pesky blue light emitted from the screen of our digital device is to blame for the continuous eye tiredness and headaches. 

Guess our mindless Instagram scrolling is causing such discomfort and the ways we don’t even know.

How to reduce or handle blue light-induced headaches?

Avoiding excessive screen time 

Avoid the excessive use of television or smartphones or our gaming console. According to a recommendation by the American Optometric Association, taking a fifteen-minute break after two hours of screen time is essential.

Replacing our LEDs and fluorescent lights

Not only can a staring screen cause headaches, but the blue light emitted from fluorescent light and LEDs can cause eye strain and trigger headaches. We can consider installing dimmer and warm lights, especially in our work areas.

The 20-20-20 rule

The best thing to reduce these headaches is to use the 20-20-20 rule. This rule says we should take a 20-second break after 20 minutes by looking at an object 20 feet away. Well, that’s easy, not much of an effort and less time consuming too.

Blue light blocking glasses

20-20-20 rule is so easy to follow and so easy to forget, too (ugh). It may also not be beneficial if we are staring at our screens for exceeding a period. So, for increased eye protection, we can use blue light blocking glasses that are readily available and does not cost an arm and a leg.

Work on a proper work station

The correct vision while working requires a rightly placed work station. We need to set our laptops or computer screens at a proper distance, and also we should be sitting on a good chair with adequate height. 

We should never dim the surrounding lights of our workspace as this will lead to further eye strain and can trigger headaches.

Download a screen filter

There are certain apps available that can reduce blue light emission from our screens. We can minimize our risk of getting a headache by installing a screen filter.

Spend some time in complete darkness

Taking a break for some time from work (and smartphones) in complete darkness could be a lifesaver. This strategy is observed to work quite well with migraine patients and people who suffer recurrent headaches.

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