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Family Eye Health: Effects of Blue Light

April 27, 2017

Family Eye Health: Effects of Blue Light

Light appears in waves, and is composed of energy-releasing particles. Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Some types of light, including UV light, are invisible to the human eye as they exist on a part of the spectrum that we cannot see. Visible light can be seen by the human eye. The color of light we see is determined by the length and power of the wavelength.

What is Blue Light?

Blue light is perceived by the human eye as blue because it is one of the shortest and highest energy wavelengths. It is a type of light we are exposed to both naturally and artificially.

Natural Blue Light

Natural blue light is found in the rays of the sun. The amount we are exposed to depends on the season, our lifestyle, and location. 25 to 30% of the sun's light is natural blue light.

Artifical Blue Light

Anytime we use our computers, cellphone, or any type of digital screen we are exposed to artificial blue light. LEDs and fluorescent light bulbs also contain articifical blue light. You will see below that there are different types of blue light: blue-turquoise light, and blue-violet light. The artificial light we expose ourselves to is of the blue-violet type.

Effects of Blue Light

Some blue light is good for our health, some is bad. The effects of blue light depend on where it exists on the electromagnetic spectrum. Blue light that exists in waves between the measurements 465 nm to 495 nm, better known as blue-turquoise light, is the good kind. It is generally essential to our vision, our overall health, and the regulation of our Circadian (sleep/wake) cycle.

Blue light that exists in waves between the measurements 415 nm to 455 nm is the 'bad' kind, and is more accurately known as blue-violet light. This is the kind that has received attention lately, particularly in connection to the artificial blue light we are exposed to when we use modern technology.

Because blue light waves are one of the shortest waves, they flicker more. Have you ever noticed when you stare at your computer screen that it is almost imperceptibly moving? This is due to the flickering of the blue light waves.

Moreover, blue light waves penetrate our eye more than other colors of light. The human eye is very effective at blocking UV rays: even when we don't wear sunglasses, less than 1% of UV radiation penetrates our eye. Conversely, virtually all blue light penetrates our eye, passing through the cornea and lens and reaching the retina. Over time, light-sensitive cells in the retina can become damaged when over-exposed to blue light, leading to the possibility of AMD.

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is when the macula deteriorates. The macula is a part of the retina that helps us visualize things accurately: driving a car, recognizing faces, and watching TV all involve the use of the macula. When it deteriorates, it can lead to problems with, or even complete loss of, vision. It is thought that too much exposure to blue light speeds up macular deterioration.

Blue light can also negatively affect our sleep cycle. It is true that the blue-turquoise variety is essential for regulating our Circadian rhythm, but the type of blue light we are exposed to via artificial means is concentrated in such a way that unnaturally affects our sleep. Blue light has a greater impact on shifting the Circadian phases than any other light. Light in general resets the rhythm of the circadian clock: the more light we are exposed to, the longer our body waits to tell us to go to sleep. Light suppresses melatonin, the chemical that triggers sleep. Blue light suppresses it more than any other, meaning that the more we use artificial blue light, the more trouble we will have establishing and maintaining a regular sleep routine.

How to Reduce Your Exposure to Blue Light

There are numerous ways to reduce your exposure to blue light; particularly if it's artificial. If you can't bear to switch off your digital screen entirely, try adjusting the settings to make the screen dimmer. The best way is to avoid using any devices an hour or two before you plan on going to sleep.

There are also innovative products now on the market that block the blue light from penetrating our eyes. Shadez Screen Eyewear Protection are premium, Swiss designed sunglasses that protect your eyes from the harmful rays emitted from digital screens. This is a genius idea! It means that you can use your phone, tablet, or computer as you normally would without the risk of headaches, blurry eyes, or a disrupted sleep pattern.

Conclusion

Now that the harmful effects of blue light are becoming more widely well-known, it's imperative to be aware of how you can reduce you and your family's exposure to artificial blue light. Monitor the time you spend using screens that emit blue light, invest in the Shadez Screen sunglasses, and find other ways to keep you and your family entertained, so that everyone in the household will have healthy eyes for a long time to come!

 

Sources

The Lowdown on Blue Light: Good vs. Bad, and it's Connection to AMD

Dangers of Blue Light

What is light? An overview of the properties of light



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