It is now commonplace to stare at bright LED displays from dawn till dusk. This practice wasn’t always the case. Although it’s practically invisible, our screens emit artificial blue or high-energy visible light, and too much exposure to blue light from screens may be harmful. It helps to have some background on the physics of light to understand the detrimental effects of blue light. While we don’t want to turn this into a science class, we do want to give you a better understanding of the health effects of blue light.
The Science Behind Blue Light
The term “light” refers to electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye. The electromagnetic radiation spectrum contains visible light, all the colors we see daily.
The visible light spectrum has a wide range of wavelengths, each corresponding to a certain color. Our friend ROY G. BIV tells us about wavelengths. Red light is the longest wavelength that humans can detect. The shortest wavelength is violet. Ultraviolet (UV) light is even shorter in wavelength, which humans cannot perceive.
Light with longer wavelengths has less of an impact on human eyes. The blue end of the visible spectrum is where we find this light color. Since its wavelength is shorter, its energy is higher. This higher energy means that the retina, at the back of your eye, receives blue light from the outside world.
Anything with a wavelength greater than 380 nanometers is invisible to the naked eye. However, the human eye cannot detect the short, high-energy wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) light, which may be dangerous to our health. Excessive exposure may lead to skin cancer and even harm the eyes. This potential for harm is why we take precautions against UV rays by wearing protective clothing and eyewear.
High-energy visible light is essential for humans to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Daytime exposure to blue light suppresses melatonin production, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep, signaling the body that it is time to be up.
Potential Eye Damage
The shorter wavelength of blue light waves causes the waves to flicker more than other colors. This reaction creates glare and lowers contrast, which forces your eye muscles to work harder to comprehend what you see. Therefore, your eyes must work harder to read words on a screen than on paper. Eye strain, headaches, and impaired eyesight are side effects of staring at a computer screen for too long.
In addition, the reduced—and often absent—frequency of blinking while staring at a screen may lead to dry eyes. Our blink rate drops between three and eight times per minute when we’re reading, watching our favorite show, listening to the hottest true crime podcast, or deep diving into a spreadsheet. The typical blink rate is more than double that. Blinking helps keep your eyes moist and clear of debris. The decreased frequency of blinking while using digital gadgets might exacerbate symptoms of eye strain.
Not So Sweet Dreams
We often hear about how we shouldn’t look at our phones before we close our eyes and veer into dreamland. And the reason for that proclamation is what blue light does to our eyes—particularly in the dark—disturbing healthy sleep patterns.
Our gadgets emit “short-wavelength-enriched” light because manufacturers always search for better methods to provide high-quality images. This innovation indicates that phone screens contain more blue light than daylight. The increasing size and luminosity of screens aren’t healthy for our circadian rhythms.
LEDs, fluorescent lights, and incandescent bulbs are just a few examples of artificial light sources that might make it difficult to fall asleep. Light and dark play a crucial role in establishing the circadian rhythm in the body, with blue light having the greatest effect on the sleep hormone, melatonin. High-energy visible light alerts the body, allowing you to function on fewer hours of sleep.
Lack of Productivity
The blue light will throw your body off, and the effects may spread to other areas of your life, most notably decreased efficiency at work. Maintaining a regular, healthy sleep pattern is essential to optimal performance, and blue light exposure can make it more challenging.
The “hustling” culture has become the standard nowadays, leading to many working excessive hours. However, unless you have a rare genetic mutation, most of us need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to function at our best.
Otherwise, it might be difficult to concentrate on digital device-related activities due to eye strain and Computer Vision Syndrome. Not only does this reduce productivity in the present, but it also sets off a chain reaction of missed deadlines and increasing pressure, which, if left unchecked, might eventually lead to burnout.
How To Limit Blue Light Exposure
You can combat blue light’s effect on your eyes with a few simple tips that you can control. Following this blueprint for blue light will not have you feeling blue.
The Doctor Is In
Before you do anything drastic, you can find the root of your problem when you visit an eye doctor. It’s best to see an optician qualified to diagnose and treat such conditions. A visit to the optometrist might result in a new pair of eyeglasses, contact lenses, or a referral to another doctor. Having your eyes checked often is important since these problems don’t usually cause pain.
This 20-20 rule has nothing to do with having perfect vision. Instead, it’s an exercise for your eyes to keep them from weakening. Every 20 minutes, you should focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Doing so will give your retinas a breather; think of it as your recovery time during a long run.
Control Your Device Usage
In any scenario, wearing blue-light glasses while using a digital device may help reduce eye strain. This specialist eyewear reduces blue light and boosts contrast, making concentrating and protecting your eyes easier. If you want to feel comfortable looking at electronic gadgets for extended periods, you should invest in a pair of yellow-tinted computer glasses.
Understanding the health effects of blue light proves how critical endlessly staring at a screen can be. What may have seemed innocuous before is now understood as dangerous for your eyes, and you must do everything you can to limit your blue light exposure.
Stylighting wants to help you keep your eyes healthy with light that mimics sunlight. These special lamps and lights help fend off blue light by replicating the sun’s effect on the body. Do yourself and your eyes a favor and pick up a lamp today!