People are becoming increasingly aware of the effects of light pollution, especially as it relates to the health of their eyes. Many consumers are concerned about blue light emitted from electronic devices. In fact, many retailers offer blue light screen protectors that promise to shield eyes from the effects of blue light.
But is blue light really that harmful?
About Blue Light
Blue light is a visible light that has a wavelength of 400 to 450 nanometers. Your eyes perceive this wavelength as blue in color, although blue light may be present even when the light looks white or another color. Many electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, LCD TVs and laptop computers, emit blue light. The sun also emits blue light. In fact, sunlight is the largest source of blue light.
Light is energy. Specifically, light consists of protons, which are bundles of electromagnetic energy. Blue light contains more energy per photon of light than do other colors of the visible light spectrum. When absorbed into the body at high enough doses, the high-energy blue light is more likely to cause damage to various cells in the body.
While staring at a screen for hours exposes your eyes to blue light, there is currently no evidence that the exposure to blue light causes eye damage. The discomfort some people experience after extended screen time is mostly likely due to digital eyestrain, which can cause blurry vision, fatigue and dry, tired eyes. Limiting screen time can help reduce eye symptoms associated with exposure to blue light.
Extended exposure to blue light can disrupt circadian rhythm, however, and this can affect your natural wake and sleep cycle. During the day, blue light from the sun naturally wakes you up and stimulates you. Too much exposure to blue light in the evening can also wake you up, which can make it harder to fall asleep. Limiting screen time in the two to three hours before bedtime can help reduce disruption of your circadian rhythm and help you sleep.
If you are concerned with blue light or have questions regarding the topic, give us a call at (309) 243-2400. If you have not received your annual routine eye care exam, schedule an appointment with us. And if you’re interested in learning more about general eye health, visit our blog to learn more.