The debate is currently raging around Blue Light. Blue Light, or High Energy Visible Light, is emitted by all of our digital devices to which we are addicted in the 21st century. Is it harmful to us? Is there a solution to protect us from it?
Research from many institutions like the Vision Council and the American Optometric Association has proven that there are dangers of over-exposure to Blue Light. With the average adult spending more than 10 hours per day on a screen, the Blue Light epidemic certainly warrants consideration. The jury is still out on whether or not Blue LiIght causes permanent damage to the retina, but here is what we do know for certain:
- Blue Light Causes Digital Eye Strain
Over-exposure to Blue Light during screen use, combined with low blink rate and the fatigue of muscles in the eyes, can produce the following symptoms as defined by the Mayo Clinic:
- Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
- Watery or dry eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Sore neck, shoulders or back
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open
- Blue Light Harms Your Sleep
Your brain interprets the high energy of Blue Light as daylight. This causes the pineal gland to cease the production of melatonin, which is essential for sleep. Exposure to Blue Light before bed disrupts the circadian rhythm leading to interrupted and poor sleep.
- Blue Light Hurts Your Productivity
It’s been proven that digital eye strain increases errors and may decrease productivity by up to 20%. Add being exhausted from poor sleep on top of that and it’s not a pretty picture for getting things accomplished.
So what can you do?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from Blue Light:
- Download apps like lux and fadetop, use NightShift mode on your iPhone if you have one.
- Invest in a pair of quality Blue Light Filtering glasses. Be sure to purchase a pair with lenses that don’t also block the sleep range or you’ll be tired while working!
- Practice the 20/20/20 rule during computer use– every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Stop the use of digital devices at least 45 minutes before bed.
- Install a low-blue light bulb in the bedroom to mimic sunset and aid the melatonin production