The Vision Council Digital Eyestrain reports that over 83% of people in the United States use digital devices, including computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, at least two hours per day. About 50% use digital devices at least six hours per day.
Research shows that 72.9% of children spend two hours per day in front of a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Likewise, 62.2% of people worry about the effects of blue light on their eyes. What is blue light? Where does it fall on the light spectrum? Read on!
What Is Blue Light?
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Visible light is electromagnetic waves or radiation seen by the human eye. It includes wavelengths between 380nm and 780nm. However, there are various standards worldwide, and most researchers say the cutoff between invisible ultraviolet radiation and high-energy blue light occurs at 400nm instead of 380nm.
According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging between 380nm and 400nm is visible light in standards. On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) says electromagnetic waves with wavelengths between 380nm and 400nm are invisible ultraviolet radiation.
Visible light in the broad spectrum of radiation occupies a relatively narrow band. Bear in mind that it exists between infrared radiation and ultraviolet radiation. UV radiation has higher energy levels than visible light, with wavelengths between 100nm and 380nm.
UV light comprises UVA (315nm to 380nm), UVB (280nm to 315nm), and UVC (100nm to 280nm). Invisible infrared radiation has lower energy levels than visible light, with wavelengths ranging between 780nm and 1mm. Moreover, a confounding factor when assessing the effects of blue light on the human eyes is that different researchers and scientific disciplines use different definitions of blue light.
Some researchers define blue light as high-energy light with wavelengths ranging between 380nm to 500nm. In contrast, others define blue light as high-energy light with wavelengths ranging between 400nm and 500nm.
Blue Light Hazard
When a biological tissue, such as the eye, absorbs radiant energy, it can suffer from two types of damages: heat damage and photochemical damage. In the case of blue light, the concern is its potential to cause changes in the photochemical mechanisms of the ocular tissues. Photochemical injuries occur the ocular tissues’ molecules absorb blue light.
As a result, it causes chemical transformations with the existing molecules of the ocular tissues. These excited molecules affect other molecules, triggering chemical reactions in the tissues and developing free radicals and reactive oxygen species. Consequently, these changes can cause structural and functional damage to your eyes.
It is crucial to understand the risk of blue light on your eye’s specific structures. For example, you must recognize the amount of radiation at specific wavelengths absorbed by the ocular tissues. Likewise, recognize the effects of aging and how it links to blue light energy absorption by ocular tissues.
For instance, the lens of a young child’s eye has different absorption and transmittance values than an older adult. Thus, this influences how much energy or radiation reaches the ocular tissues or retinal cells. Blue light can cause significant damage to the eyes.
Although the sun is the biggest source of blue light, humans are more prone to blue light exposure from digital devices, leading to dry eyes, fatigue, irritation, eye strain, blurred vision, cataracts, macular degeneration, sleep disruption, stress, anxiety, and depression.
The Importance of Blue Light Blocking Glasses
There is an ongoing debate and talk about the potential risk of digital devices for the human eye. That’s why people have forgotten that the sun is a more potent blue light source. Blue light filtration usually begins with high-quality sunglasses that reduce the blue light transmittance. However, sunglasses are not always effective when you want to mitigate the effects of blue light from digital glasses.
In that case, you have to consider blue light glasses with specialized lenses to ensure clear and comfortable vision in different light conditions. Modern blue light glasses can filter blue light more effectively than the standard polycarbonate or plastic lenses indoors and over 80% of blue light outdoors.
Some blue light glasses allow a specific blue light wavelength to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. At the same time, it ensures accurate color perception in the daytime. However, you must limit this “good” blue light in the evening to reduce its harmful effects and decrease the risk of sleep disorders.
You can accomplish this by turning off your digital devices at least 1-2 hours before bedtime. If you have an important task to complete on a computer, make sure you wear blue light glasses to reduce glare and increase contrast.
Blue light glasses can block harmful wavelengths of the visible blue light generated by your computer screen, preventing you from digital eye strain, headaches, macular degeneration, retinal damage, sleep disruptions, stress, and anxiety.
Moreover, experts recommend choosing “soft-white” LED light bulbs with 2,700k color temperature in your bedroom and other areas in your house to limit the blue light exposure. Remember, practicing preventive measures can protect your eyes from damage, improve sleep patterns or cycles, and relaxes your brain.
When you prevent blue light from entering your eyes and affecting your brain, the neuronal network will work effectively and produce adequate levels of melatonin, dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins.
Serotonin and dopamine are “feel-good” hormones that relax your body and mind. These hormones also suppress cortisol levels to reduce stress and depressive symptoms. Melatonin promotes a good night’s sleep. So, these are the benefits of wearing blue light glasses when using digital devices.
Blue light is an integral part of the visible light spectrum. Higher energy levels and shorter wavelengths can pass through your eyes’ structures, reach the retinal cells, and cause significant damage.
Blue light is the most talked-about topic in the 21st century, particularly in the eye care domain. Blue light glasses can reduce the risk of eye damage and promote a good night’s sleep by enhancing your brain function.