Blue Light and Your Eyes

by May 1, 2019

As our reliance on technology and digital screens continues to increase, we are exposed to more and more blue light.  Blue light is a high energy wavelength that has many sources that we encounter in our day-to-day lives: cellphones, computer screens, televisions, and even sunlight.  Because of our increased screen time, the effects of exposure to blue light has recently become an area of interest, and some interesting and alarming discoveries have been made.  From sleep disruption to eyestrain, blue light may have adverse effects on our eyes. To learn more about the potential side effects of high energy blue light on your eyes, continue reading.

blue light eye over water

Is Blue Light Bad for Your Eyes?

Blue light is the highest energy wavelength in the spectrum of visible light.  Because it is the shortest and contains the highest amount of energy, exposure to this light comes with an increased risk of damage.  The more time you spend looking at digital screens and the more blue light you are exposed to, the higher your risks for the potentially damaging consequences of blue light.  It is widely reported that screen time and blue light exposure can cause headaches and eye fatigue. It is also well known that long periods of time spent looking at blue light on screens can interfere with our sleep cycle; by interrupting our circadian rhythm, blue light may be the cause of sleep dysfunction in many Americans, especially as many people choose to use their screens directly before bedtime.  There are even recent studies that suggest that the eye’s exposure to blue light may increase the risk of damage to the retina and could be linked to the development of macular degeneration, a potentially blinding disease. While some recent articles have suggested these serious risks, many eye care professionals believe there is not enough evidence confirming such significant dangers, especially to the retina, are associated with blue light use.  It is important to remember that while our reliance on technology and our time spent viewing screens has increased our contact with blue light, the biggest source of blue light is natural sunlight. Even if we avoid cellphones and computer screens, our eyes are still exposed to this high energy wavelength on a daily basis.


How to Avoid Consequences of Blue Light

Because of the increased focus and interest in blue light, lens manufacturers have begun to develop a multitude of ways to reduce exposure to the high energy wavelength with blue-blocking lenses.  There are several different varieties of blue-blocking lenses, all working to reduce the amount of blue wavelengths that reach the eye. Many lenses have the capability of adding a blue-blocking coating which can deflect blue wavelengths.  Some of these coatings give lenses a slightly yellow tint. Other blue-blocking lenses contain a special treatment that is mixed into the lens material, making it a permanent property of the lens. In these cases, there is no risk of the blue-blocking ability of the lens to scratch off over time.  Your optician will be able to answer a wide range of questions regarding the benefits of blue-blocking lenses and can make a recommendation as to which blue-blocking lens is best for you.


If you have questions about computer screens, mobile devices and its effect on blue light and the eyes, our optometrists at Neal Eye Group are here to help!  Call us at (610) 828-9701 or schedule your appointment online for an eye exam with the Neal Eye Group.  We serve Norristown, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, and East Norriton.

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