Welcome to the digital age of technology, where we live in a world that revolves around screens. We are constantly connected to phones, computers, tablets, and video games that operate using LED background lighting that contains blue light. On average, most Americans spend 6 to 7 hours looking at screens, which renders to about half of your life gazing upon blue light.
Contrary to myth, not all blue light is bad and it is actually everywhere. Sunlight, for example, is the main source of blue light and where we traditionally get the most exposure from it. Good wavelengths of light are on the blue-turquoise end of the electromagnetic spectrum and are known as essential blue light, this light is actually very beneficial to you. Essential blue light is important for non-visual functions like your sleep/wake cycle and mood. It provides small increases in alertness and cognitive function.
While there are good traits to blue light in our lives, too much of it can be a bad thing. Harmful wavelengths of light are on the blue-violet end of the spectrum and we are now exposed to a higher concentration of it more than ever before. Since 35% of the blue light we see is harmful, we face an increase risk of irreversible cell death in the in the external layer of the retina.
Blue light penetrates all the way to the retina of the eye and because high energy blue light scatters more easily than other visible light, which is why the sky appears blue, it is not easily focused upon. So when you’re looking at screens or other digital devices that release blue light, your eyes strain to focus on the visual noise.
Symptoms of digital eye strain include:
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sore, itchy eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Poor sleep
In serious cases of exposure to harmful blue light, you’re prone to vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration.
Combat Harmful Blue Light
To avoid straining your eyes and help with your sleep/wake cycle the best thing to do is to cut back on the blue light in your life.
- Limit your amount of screen time each day or at the very least avoid screens before bed and in the dark.
- Use the “20-20-20 rule”. This rules suggests that for every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen; look at another object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. These breaks lessen the strain on the eye.
- Invest in blue light filtering glasses. Tifosi Gaming Glasses filter harmful blue light while allowing essential blue light. The clear lens allows you to see true color on screens, unlike other blue-light lenses that tint everything yellow.
- Enable dark mode. Most cell phones have the capability to adjust the amount of blue light being emitted by switching to warmer colors.
Whether you’re in an office in front of a computer or a gamer battling enemies on Twitch, blue light effects us all at some point in our day. It is important to protect your eyes now from the potential threat of harmful blue light so that you’re better safe than sorry.