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Working at home has become an integral part of the new normal due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses and companies use dedicated apps and software programs to enable their employees to work from home.
Generally, working from work can lead to better work-life balance, location independence, sustainability, less commute stress, and cost-effectiveness for employers and employees. Research shows that screen time has increased during the pandemic, leading to harmful effects on people’s health due to blue light emissions from electronic devices.
Although working at home using computers, laptops, and smartphones is beneficial in various ways, too much exposure to blue-light emitting from these devices can affect productivity, damage eyes, and cause health conditions like stress and depression.
How much blue light are you taking in every day?
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the entire world and caused significant damages to the economies and businesses. Many companies have developed new policies to allow their employees to work from home and protect themselves from getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.
However, the lack of physical activities, reduced socialization, and unpredictable has caused people to spend most of their time at home. Most people, including adults and children, have a higher tendency for electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, video gaming consoles, and smartphones.
How much blue light you take every day depends on how much you spend on computers, laptops, and smartphones! Therefore, it is not easy to measure the amount of light one takes every day.
However, blue light is certainly harmful to your overall health and wellbeing, and many research studies have proven its adverse effects. Blue light can cause eyestrain, dry eye, blurry vision, macular degeneration, and cataracts.
Moreover, each color has a different energy level and wavelength. Blue light is an integral part of the visible light spectrum with shorter wavelengths and higher energy levels. Research shows that blue light emitting from electronic devices has a wavelength ranging between 415 and 490 nanometers, which is harmful to the human eye.
Working from home has its benefits, but how has it affected your eyes?
Although working at home allows for a flexible schedule, customized environment, comfortable clothes, less or zero commuting, no office or work-related distractions, and a comfortable workspace, spending too much time on computers can take a massive toll on your eyes and brain.
Blue light from high-energy sources like the sun and electronic devices can increase the risk of eye disease. Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, affects more than 50% of computers users. The primary symptoms of digital eyestrain are dry, irritated eyes and blurred vision. Too much exposure to blue light can cause:
Using computers while working at home can cause phototoxicity, a condition characterized by severe damage to the retinal cells. The amount of damage to your retina depends on various factors, such as the wavelength of blue light and exposure time.
One study highlights that blue light emitting from smartphones can produce toxic molecules in your eyes’ photoreceptor cells. A growing body of research evidence shows that wearing blue-light-blocking glasses can reduce the effects of phototoxicity. That’s why I recommend everyone working at home to wear blue-light glasses to mitigate emissions.
Although ultraviolet rays can’t reach your retina due to sophisticated internal structures that protect the eye, blue light can easily reach the retina and cause damage. The primary reason is that blue light has shorter wavelengths, allowing it to penetrate your eyes.
Consistent exposure to blue light can cause age-related vision problems. The most common age-related condition is macular degeneration. So, if you are above 40 and working at home, make sure you use blue-light-blocking glasses to prevent or reduce the effects of this condition. Macular degeneration will cause:
- Reduced central vision
- Straight lines distortion in the field of vision
- Need for brighter lighting
- Poor adaptability to low lighting conditions
- Difficulty recognizing faces and reading text
- Blurry vision due to retinal damage
Digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome can also cause severe headaches, preventing you from staying productive. Not only do headaches affect your work-related performance, but it also puts your job at risk.
Dry eyes are a common symptom of digital eye strain, leading to reduced tear production. Bear in mind that lubrication is essential for your eyes, and inadequate tear production can cause significant damages. It is crucial to wear blue-light protection glasses to reduce the effects of dry eyes.
Disrupted Circadian Rhythm
Whether you use electronic devices for entertainment or work, it can cause poor sleep patterns. Therefore, it is wise to avoid using smartphones, tablets, and computers at night, especially 2-3 hours before bedtime. Circadian rhythm, also known as an internal clock or sleep-wake cycle, is crucial for your overall health.
Disrupted circadian rhythm can cause poor sleep patterns by suppressing melatonin production in your brain. At the same time, it causes stress by hindering your brain from releasing an adequate amount of serotonin and dopamine. Blue light can increase cortisol levels, a hormone that causes stress and depression.
Stress can further complicate your existing health condition, such as cardiovascular disease, liver disease, kidney disorders, and metabolic diseases, and weaken your immune system. Therefore, I recommend taking protective measures, such as installing screen protectors and wearing blue-light-blocking glasses.
Working at home is advantageous for many people, including freelancers and those who prefer flexible schedules. Although exposure to blue light can improve your memory, keep you alert, and increase your concentration, it can damage your cornea and retina.
As a result, you can experience different eye diseases, such as eyestrain, macular degeneration, cataracts, etc. Blue light from electronic devices can also cause diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Wearing blue-light glasses can prevent the risk of these health conditions and enable you to work for more hours at home.