Sunlight comprises red, orange, green, yellow, blue, indigo, and violet light. Radiation on the red end of the spectrum has less energy and longer wavelengths. Radiation on the blue end has more energy and shorter wavelengths.
Like ultraviolet light, visible blue light has both advantages and disadvantages. In today’s article, we will discuss ten interesting facts about blue light and how you can protect your eyes and brain against it. Read on!
Fact 1: Blue Light is everywhere
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Sun was the only source of blue light before the invention of digital products and light bulbs. Today, your eyes are exposed to an abnormal range of blue light indoors. Digital screens, such as TVs, computers, tablets, smartphones, high-efficiency fluorescent, LED lighting, and halogen bulbs emit blue light at night.
Fact 2: Scatting Makes the Sky Look Blue
Blue light, also known as high-energy visible light, scatters at higher levels than other colors, such as yellow, red, and green. When blue light strikes the air and water in the atmosphere, it makes the sky look blue and cloudless.
Fact 3: The Duration of Viewing Blue Light Matters
Blue light emitted from digital devices or indoor lighting is a fraction of light emitted by the sun. However, people spend more time staring at digital devices’ screens, resulting in adverse and long-term effects on the eyes and brain.
Fact 4: Too Much Blue Light Exposure can Harm Vision
Too much exposure to blue light can damage your macula, an eye’s area with light-sensitive cells and tissues in the middle of your retina. As a result, it causes potential damage to your retinal cells, leading to permanent vision loss. Likewise, blue light can make reading, driving, and focusing on objects much difficult over time.
Fact 5: Blue Light can Cause Digital Eye Strain
Staring at your computer or smartphone screen for hours can cause computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. Symptoms of this condition are blurry vision, dry eyes, difficulty focusing, headaches, sore eyes, and back/neck pain.
Fact 6: Blue Light Exposure during the Day is Advantageous
Full-spectrum sunlight, including blue light, is beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing. However, exposure to blue light at night can harm your health. During the day, blue light keeps your melatonin levels low, leading to boosted attention, reaction times, and enhanced mood.
It also increases nitric acid to maintain your blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions. Adequate exposure to visible blue light can also optimize vitamin D production.
Fact 7: Blue Light Disrupt your Circadian Rhythm
Exposure to blue light at night can negatively affect your sleep patterns. Blue light reduces melatonin production, disrupting your natural circadian or sleep-wake cycles. Consequently, exposure to indoor lighting or unprotected screen viewing at bedtime can cause sleeplessness, insomnia, and daytime fatigue.
Fact 8: Nighttime Blue Light can Affect Your Overall Health
Research shows that unprotected blue-light exposure at night, especially for people working the night shift, has an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stress, depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.
Fact 9: Children are at a Greater Risk
Although everyone needs protection against blue light, children need more protection because they are more vulnerable to the harmful shorter wavelengths. Children tend to hold digital screens closer to their eyes, and their larger pupils allow higher levels of blue light to enter their eyes. Research shows that children spend at least nine hours a day on their digital devices, leading to potential macular damage.
Fact 10: Eyes are not good at Filtering Shorter Wavelengths
Your eyes don’t have stronger structures or mechanisms to filter out blue light. So, all of the visible light can pass through your eyes and reach the retinal cells. That’s why it is crucial to protect your eyes by wearing blue-light-blocking glasses to prevent blue light from entering your eyes.
Ways to Protect Against Blue Light
We recommend asking your ophthalmologist about the positive and negative outcomes of blue light exposure. The purpose is to seek effective preventative methods you can use to protect your eyes against blue light. Here are a few tips and tricks.
Take a Digital Device Break
Taking a digital device break can protect your eyes from blue light. Follow the 20-20-20 rule that requires you to take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to focus your eyes on an object at least 20 feet away. That way, you can reduce digital eye strain.
Don’t Overdo Full-Spectrum Sunlight
Although full-spectrum sunlight is beneficial for your health, make sure you don’t overdo it. Some blue light in the daytime can boost your alertness and mood. Blue light during the day can also help treat acne and provide protection against bacteria, such as MRSA.
Likewise, white light increases antibody production by increasing blood flow and help reduce inflammation in your tissues. If you spend more time outdoors, make sure you avoid getting sunburn. Make sure your wear blue light glasses to mitigate the blue light effects.
Beware of the Glare
Many companies have introduced glare-reducing coatings. These are anti-reflective coatings that minimize the effect of natural sunlight and blue light emitted from digital sources. Consult your optometrist for a lens that filters 30-50% of blue light at 455nm wavelength produced by a digital device.
Wear Blue Light Glasses
It is crucial to avoid screen filters available for computers screens, tablets, and smartphones because they don’t filter much blue light. Screen filters only change the screen’s color and can have a negative impact on your vision and display quality.
On the other hand, blue light glasses are specifically designed for electronic devices that can filter blue light effectively. Not only does blue light glasses reduce shorter wavelengths exposure, but it also protects your retinal cells. As a result, you can sleep better and have improved brain function.
It is better to consult your eye doctor before wearing blue light glasses. The purpose is to seek help and choose the right type of blue glasses. Follow the tips and tricks given above to see clearly.