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Scientific Evidence Showing How Artificial Blue Light Can Cause Permanent Eye Damage

While getting healthy amounts of natural blue light during the day has many health benefits, being exposed to artificial sources of blue light from screens, devices, and LED and fluorescent lighting exposures us to very high levels of unnatural blue light, which studies clearly show this can lead to permanent eye damage. Symptoms can manifest in the form of sore and dry eyes, eye strain, headaches and migraines, and can even lead to conditions such as macular degeneration.

With technology being part of our world, we are exposed to more blue light than ever, and it begs the question, “is blue light bad for your eyes”? Good vision is essential to our quality of life, and for most of us, our livelihood. The majority of us know by now that exposure to the blue light from electronics within an hour or two of bedtime makes it harder to fall asleep. Light in the bedroom emitted by LED lights also makes it harder to stay asleep. But what about actual damage to our eyes? We look at what the research says and precautionary measures that are easy to implement so that you can use technology without worrying.

What is Blue Light?

The short answer is that blue light is the type of light emitted by the screens of electronic devices such as cellphones, computers, and televisions. You can actually tell in the dark or if you look at these screens from a certain angle that the light has a blueish tinge. Blue light is also present in sunlight, this is a bit harder to see, sunlight certainly doesn’t look blue. You see, different types or colors of light have different frequencies and wavelengths. For simplicity, we’ll look at wavelengths. We can see light waves from 400 nanometers which are violet all the way to light waves of 700 nanometers which is red.

Sunlight contains violet, blue, indigo green, yellow, orange, and red light frequencies which results in white light. Fluorescent lights also emit a lot of blue light.

What is The Truth About Blue Light Eye Damage?

High energy blue light, found in the 415 to 450-nanometre range can cause retinal degeneration. Studies have found a positive link between lower energy blue light (450 to 500-nanometre range) such as the type emitted by many electronic devices and damage to vision, there is enough evidence to warrant concerns.

Many older people who have been exposed to electronics for two decades or more develop cataracts. This can also be attributed to spending many hours in the sun without wearing a hat or adequate sunglasses. This is due to both UV light and blue light.

A review of studies on age-related macular degeneration (deterioration of vision) and blue light have seen a link, particularly after cataracts surgery. Cataracts protect the eye from light, and without this and the lower melanin content in the eye, blue light speeds up the deterioration of vision.

Our eyes are protected by melanin, the same thing that gives colour to our skin and hair. As we age, we start losing that protection. People in their 60’s only have about half the amount of melanin in their eyes compared to when they were in their 30’s.

It’s not just people over 50 who need to take care of their eyes. Fluorescent lighting and sitting in front of a computer screen for several hours a day is harsh on the eyes. Anyone who works in this kind of environment and has tired eyes that feel strained at the end of each day can attest to that.

Did you know that people under the age of 30 haven’t developed sufficient lens pigmentation to offer protection?

How Does Blue Light Damage The Eyes

Our eyes allow us to see by letting light in through the pupils. This light is then focused onto the retina which is a light-sensitive membrane. The retina is most sensitive to blue light. Photo-oxidation can occur due to overexposure which releases free radicals. Just as overexposure to the sun starts to damage our skin via free radicals, so excess blue light starts to damage the retina.

How to Protect Your Eyes

Of course, cutting down your exposure would be a very effective way to reduce the chance of blue light eye damage, and certainly, with children, this may be done with more ease.

But blocking or filtering out blue light is a much easier suggestion than asking everyone to cut down on time behind a screen. With many jobs involving computers and offices often being lit with fluorescent lights, we come home to spend time in front of the TV or our phones, and for some, even more time on a computer. At Block Blue Light, we have a range of options that will fit easily into your lifestyle and we cater for kids and adults.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Eye-Friendly Lighting

Blue Light Phone Filters

Other Tips to Reduce Blue Light Exposure

  • Set your computer screen colours to a warmer setting

  • Adjust the angle of your computer to prevent glare

  • Take frequent breaks from your computer, preferable every 20 minutes to focus on something further away for 20 seconds or so

  • Go for a walk or sit in a room that makes use of natural light during longer breaks

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