The amount of time people spend facing some kind of screen continues to grow. Whether it be a computer monitor or a smartphone, it seems like this growing dependence is here to stay. Together with this, is increased exposure to blue light.
Before going any further, here’s a quick explanation of blue light. Sunlight—nature’s primary light source—contains red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet, and blue light. These colors combine to create the white light we see. Each light ray has a different energy. For example, red light has longer wavelengths and less energy. Blue light rays have shorter wavelengths and more energy. Before technology, the sun was our only source of blue light. Now, it’s found almost everywhere—in LED and fluorescent lights, computer monitors, and television screens.
The blue light exposure we receive from these screens is less than what we receive from the sun. However, there is still some concern over the long-term effects of continuous exposure.
Blue light is an essential requirement for good health. These are some of its benefits:
- Strengthens eye development and decreases chances for nearsightedness or myopia.
- Regulates the body’s circadian rhythm. However, exposure to blue light at night can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake pattern. This could lead to sleep problems.
- Helps boost cognitive functions and memory.
Close contact with artificial blue light may affect vision. It may also prematurely age the eyes. In fact, early research shows that too much exposure to blue light can:
Cause eyestrain. People who are constantly in front of a monitor or screen may develop eyestrain. Symptoms include sore and tired eyes, headache, and difficulty in focusing.
Damage the retina. Continued exposure may damage retinal cells. This may then lead to vision problems such as macular degeneration.
Protect Your Eyes
To protect yourself from the dangers of too much blue light, here are some things you can do:
Take breaks by looking away from the screen. If you have to face the screen for long periods, don’t forget to give your eyes a break every now and then. A brief 15-minute break is enough to rest your eyes from the constant glare. Don’t stare at the screen for too long. Blinking often can give your eyes the reprieve that it needs.
Another thing you can do is to lower the brightness of your screen or monitor. By decreasing brightness, you reduce glare. Avoid using your device in a dark room with full brightness. You may also add protection by wearing blue light glasses.
Related: Health Risks to Working From Home