Protecting Your Eyes From Blue Light

mom and girl looking at computer

Peepers Optical: Your Denver Blue Light Specialists

You are probably very well aware of the dangers of looking at the sun. You may even be careful that you and your family never forget about wearing sunglasses to protect from the dangerous UV rays that are emitted. But most people are unaware of the dangers associated with looking at computers, cell phones, TV’s and tablets all day. As one of the leading eye care practices in Denver CO, our eye doctors are passionate about spreading the word and educating people on how they can prevent the symptoms and potential future vision loss that is a direct cause of digital device use.

What is Blue Light?All light is made up of different colors, digital devices tend to have a higher proportion of high energy visible (HEV) blue light. The higher the energy associated with the light the more it has the ability to affect us. Blue light and Ultra Violet (UV) light are on the high energy side of the spectrum and are able to cause changes such as a suntan or damage to our eyes.

Isn’t Blue Light Everywhere?The simple answer is that blue light is a natural part of almost all light, whether it is light from the sun or light from the bulbs in your house and office. What makes digital devices a serious concern for eye doctors worldwide is the proximity and total time that the average person is exposed.

How Does Blue Light Effect Our Eyes?Our eyes are particularly bad at filtering out high energy blue light from entering and affecting the more sensitive areas of our eye such as the retina. Eye doctors and researchers agree that blue light in the sensitive retina causes damage, however there is little research done on the long term effects of years spending hours per day in front of a cell phone or computer.

All light is made up of different colors, digital devices tend to have a higher proportion of high energy visible (HEV) blue light. The higher the energy associated with the light the more it has the ability to affect us. Blue light and Ultra Violet (UV) light are on the high energy side of the spectrum and are able to cause changes such as a suntan or damage to our eyes.

The simple answer is that blue light is a natural part of almost all light, whether it is light from the sun or light from the bulbs in your house and office. What makes digital devices a serious concern for eye doctors worldwide is the proximity and total time that the average person is exposed.

Our eyes are particularly bad at filtering out high energy blue light from entering and affecting the more sensitive areas of our eye such as the retina. Eye doctors and researchers agree that blue light in the sensitive retina causes damage, however there is little research done on the long term effects of years spending hours per day in front of a cell phone or computer.

How Can I Protect My Eyes From Blue Light?

There are numerous ways that you can protect your eyes from blue light:

Buy glasses with blue light blocking lens coatings.
While most blue light blocking glasses are less than 50% protection, that is still a significant reduction that makes this an ideal solution. An example of specialized lenses that block blue light are BluTech lenses by VSP.

Limit your screen time on your phone, tablet, computer.
Purchase a screen protector for your phone, tablet and computer to reduce blue light emission. Note that screen protectors don’t block out all blue light, generally blocking between 20-40%. Newer computers may have built in blue light dimming settings which are also effective.

Purchase warm/yellow spectrum lights for your home and office
Lights that are more heavily focused on the Yellow/Red of the spectrum have a much lower proportion of blue light. There is a common misconception that LED bulbs contain more blue light, the truth is that all white lights contain blue light, but earlier versions of LED tended to be predominantly white.

It is important to know that childrens’ eyes naturally do not block any blue light.

There are supplements if you are at risk for Macular Degeneration.
Age is the predominant factor speak to an eye doctor and consider incorporating lutein and zeaxanthin into your diet either with supplements or without.

What Are the Risks of Blue Light?

We are still in the very early stage of understanding the full effects of blue light. Blue light plays an important role in regulating the melatonin levels which in turn are responsible for our bodies circadian rhythm. In a sense blue light tells us when it is nighttime and when it is day. A recent research project in Harvard demonstrated that people who are exposed to blue light sleep worse and are at increased risk for a host of diseases.

Blue light also plays a role in various eye diseases including:

Cataracts: Recent research indicates a strong link between exposure to blue light and incidences of Cataracts.

Macular Degeneration: The Schepens Eye Institute demonstrated that a low density of macular pigment may represent a risk factor for AMD by permitting greater blue light damage. Initial research indicates a higher risk of macular degeneration for those with greater exposure to blue light.

Eye Strain: Blue light causes less contrast to be visible to the human eye, this causes more strain on our eyes. This is particularly common with people who work most of the day on the computer. In many cases they will complain of headaches, dry eyes, sore or painful eyes and tired eyes.