Blue light as a threat for eye health

Blue light, why you should protect your eyes from it

 


There are many threats for your eye health out there but the main ones nowadays are represented by UV rays and blue light. Where does blue light come from? What are the risks and downsides for your eyes? What can you do to protect your eyes from any damage caused by blue light?

 

Enjoying a stroll along the promenade, sunbathing, flipping on an indoor ambience illuminated by a strong artificial white light, turning on your tablet or pc, chatting on your smartphone, all of these actions are the very moments in which your eyes may be exposed to the damaging effects of blue light.

Many people are already aware of the dangerous effects of Ultra Violate rays which may trigger a skin burn and even a skin cancer in the long term. Focusing on eyes, UV rays might bring about deseases such as cataract, macular degeneration, pingueculae, pterygia, photokeratitis and end up causing vision loss.

When it comes to blue light, though, perhaps we feel like we are in a foreign territory due to the novelty of the eye health issues that an excessive exposure of our eyes to blue rays may engender.

 

What is blue light?

 

Sunlight is composed of orange, yellow, green, blue light rays and other shaded ones based on the energy and wavelenght of each ray. The shorter the wavelenght is, the more is the amount of energy it contains, hence red light which shows longer wavelenght has in turn less amount of energy than blue light.

In fact, blue light is located within the range from 380 to 500 nanometers (nm) as you can see in the chart below, although its colour melts with violet or turquoise depending on whether the wavelenght lean towards the upper or the lower extreme (longer or shorter wavelenght). In addition, blue light falls into the range of visible light and considered a high energy light or HEV (High-energy visible light), whereas UV rays fall into the range of invisible light.

 

 

Sunlight rays chart

Image source: www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

 

Where does blue light come from?

 

Blue light is basically everywhere and as a consequence we are always exposed to it but this should not scare us at all since its effects are also positive in many cases. Blue light is certainly a component of the sunlight but, on the other hand, it is also generated indoor by man from several artificial sources of light such as fluorescent and LED lighting and flat-screen TVs.

Over the last years, we have been assiting to an exponential rise of our dayly exposure to blue light mainly due to the widespread use of digital devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones whose screens emit blue rays. Even though we might shrug when we think to the very tiny amount of rays emitted by these devices, actually, by no means should we overlook the many hours spent on our pc or smartphone. At the end of the day, the amount of time spent on these devices largely overcome the safety threshold for our eyes to become dangerously affected.

As a matter of fact, an ever increasing number of eye doctors are becoming concerned about the long term effects that long daily exposure to blue light, often at a close distance, might cause to people in the long run.

 

What are the risks and downsides for your eyes?

 

Macular degeneration

 

The adult eye is successful at blocking the UV rays in penetrating down to the retina, just behind the eyeball, and even if we are not wearing sunglasses, only less than one percent of these rays manage to seep into.

Instead, the blue light goes all the way down to the retina damaging the light-sensitive cells causing, in turn, macular degeneration which may ultimately drive to a permanent vision loss.

The jury is still out on how too much blue light we are all exposed to and researchers are still investigating into it. However, eye care providers point out macular degeneration as one of the main risks of being too much exposed to blue light emitted by digital devices.

 

Digital eye strain

 

Thanks to the short-wavelenght, blue rays easily seep into the eyes when you look at computer screens or whatever digital device and they can end up bringing about digital eye strain, that is tired eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision, red, burning and light sensitivity and headaches. Moreover, if we are too much exposed to blue light during the night as we do when reading a novel on a tablet or e-reader or watching a movie on our smartphone, we might experience the bad effects caused by the disruption of our circadian rythmn such as sleepless nights, daytime fatigue and shifting mood.

 

 

Digital eye strain

 

...blue rays easily seep into the eye when you look at computer screens or whatever digital device and can end up bringing about digital eye strain...

 

Not all blue light is dangerous

 

Your eye doctor can recommend lenses and filters that protect your eyes from blue light. Actually, a certain amount of exposure to the blue light is fundamental for our health since it boosts alertness, improves memory and cognitive functions to the point that it also elevates mood. Blue light also regulates circadian rythmn (the 24h biological processes of our body which also regulate natural wakefulness and sleep cycle).

 

 

What can you do to protect your eyes from any damage caused by blue light?

 

One of the solutions to protect your eyes from too much exposure to blue light is that of using blue light filters for your smartphone, pc, laptop or tablet. They can be either in form of tempered glass to be applied on a screen, hence working as a physical barrier to blue light, or of an app to be downloaded from Google Play, for instance, which works as a virtual filter.

 

Lenses blocking blue light

 

Another important solution is that of using lenses designed to reduce both the effects of UV rays and high-energy visible (HEV - blue light) rays. They are tinted lenses which increase comfort when watching at a digital device screen for a long period of time while blocking blue light from entering into the retina. This type of lenses generally do not require any eyeglasses prescription.

Many lens manufacturers have also been introducing lately special glare-reducing anti-reflective coatings that block blue light coming from sunlight and digital devices. No to mention the goodness of photochromic lenses that are capable of furnishing a protection from both UV and blue light either indoor or outdoor. The special feature that makes them stick out is that they darken automatically when outdoor so that they provide a strong barrier to UV and blue light, reduce glare and increase comfort.

 

 

When it comes to sunglasses and lenses blocking blue light, coming to Ottica Chiodi is definitely the right choice to receive precious advice and to be addressed towards the best solution to make you feel more comfort, safeness and to prevent damages caused by too much exposure to blue light both outdoor or indoor.

 

 

 

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