Blue Light and Your Eyes
Do Blue Light Glasses Work?|How Blue Light Affects Eye Health
With the pandemic and more people working from home, the breaks we used to get away from our computers or devices no longer exist. Face to face meetings with colleagues that used to offer time away from our screens now take place on one. Social gatherings to celebrate Aunt Mabel’s birthday are now awkward Zoom calls, also on a screen. And going out after a long day spent at the computer has changed to staying in and Netflix bingeing or chilling out with your mobile. All of that screen time adds up to more blue light exposure. Why does this matter? Blue light can negatively impact vision and eye health. To combat this, blue light glasses have flooded the market in Canada, but do they work? Read on to learn if blue light glasses are right for you and the other ways to protect your vision from blue light.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is a short wave length light visible on the light spectrum. It has a relatively short wavelength and contains more energy than many other light types.
What are some sources of Blue Light?
The sun is a natural source of blue light. We are exposed to blue light when we go outside and look at the sky, letting our body know it’s time to be alert. Artificial Blue light is emitted from computer screens, mobile devices, tablets, televisions, light bulbs and other tech.
How does Blue Light Impact Vision?
According to a study published in a 2018 medical journal, increased exposure to blue light has a negative impact on eye health and vision. That study was conducted in 2018. Since then, we’ve been even more impacted by our use of screens. People younger and younger are needing glasses, and suffering from vision loss that used to be seen in the elderly. That may because we of more exposure at a younger age. In fact, the average teenager spends nearly 7.5 hours a day on screens and that doesn’t include computer time for school or homework!
Exposure to blue light can increase the risk of:
- Dry Eye
- Macular Degeneration
- Inflammatory Reactions
- Cellular Damage
- Impaired Circadian Rhythm/Sleep Disturbances
You can see why it’s so important to reduce your exposure to blue light whenever you can. Enter blue light glasses.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses- How do they Work?
Blue light glasses have a special coating that reflects some of the blue light away from your eyes. How much light it takes away depends on which glasses you buy. Different glasses take away different percentages. They can be clear or tinted yellow, and will usually reduce fatigue and dry eye and may help if you are having trouble sleeping. Remember when we said that natural blue light comes from the sun? That light regulates your sleep pattern. When it’s dark out, it signals your brain to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone and that it’s time for sleep. Constant exposure to blue light at all hours of the day can interrupt this cycle, much in the way the circadian rhythm of shift workers is disrupted.
What are some other ways to protect from blue light exposure?
Besides wearing blue light blocking glasses consider:
- Reducing screen time. In the evenings try to put your phone away. Read a book that is made of paper, go for a walk, play a game. Kick it old school.
- Set your device to night mode. Not going to be able to put your phone away at night? Set your device to night mode. This blocks some of the blue light from your screen, and at least it will reduce your night time exposure to blue light which can interfere with your sleep cycle.
- Use an Anti-Blue Light Screen Protector. These come in different sizes for different tech, and attach directly to your mobile device or computer screen.
- Try taking antioxidants such as Zeaxanthin and Lutein. These absorb blue light and may protect your eyes.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule to reduce dry eye, fatigue and computer vision syndrome. Look 20 feet away from your screen, every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
Do I need Blue Light Glasses?
If you spend a lot of time on screens, and/or have trouble sleeping then All About Vision suggests they may be worth looking into. There used to be questions surrounding their efficacy, and in 2017 the American Academy of Ophthalmology didn’t think they were necessary, but this was before the 2018 medical report. The truth is we are spending an unprecedented amount of time on screens and it is difficult to predict long term effects on vision, when this has never been experienced before in our history. Blue light glasses can’t hurt and may help with fatigue and eyestrain. If you’re concerned about your blue light exposure, dry eye, or eye fatigue, ask your Toronto eye doctor what they recommend.