Recently, the term ‘blue light’ has been circulating the internet following widespread news that it can affect our health. While there is evidence for blue light’s positive effects (including elevated mood and cognitive function), it’s evident consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the possible downsides of blue light exposure.
What is blue light and where is it found?
Without knowing it, we’re likely to find ourselves exposed to blue light multiple times a day. While the sun is one natural source of blue light, it’s the devices we use everyday (while working from home, and often at night) such as cell phones, computer screens and street lamps that make us vulnerable to the potentially damaging effects of blue light.
Increased exposure has been linked to everything from higher stress levels to circadian rhythm disruption. Harvard researchers and their colleagues recently conducted an experiment which showed that exposure to blue light suppressed melatonin production and shifted circadian rhythms (the natural sleep-wake cycle) by up to 3 hours. Shorter sleep has previously been linked to increased risks for depression, diabetes and even cardiovascular problems.
When it comes to eyecare, a newly released study, which was conducted by an optical chemistry researcher at The University of Toledo found that extended exposure to blue light emitted by your mobile causes damage to the retinal cells and stress – a process which could potentially cause Macular Degeneration – one of the biggest causes of blindness.
Despite these worrying claims, there’s a lot we can do to protect ourselves from the harmful light. So, if you often find yourself typing emails, texting friends or chatting online, chances are you’ll benefit from reading the below.
How can we help ourselves?
Our in-house optician at WALDO reassures us that there are many behavioural changes we can make to help limit our exposure to blue light. For example, applying the 20-20-20 rule while we’re working is a good way to monitor our consumption. This means that every 20 minutes, we should take a 20-second break from looking at our screens and look at something 20 feet away. The reason for this timeframe is that it takes 20 seconds for your eyes to fully relax, so anything less than this won’t be so effective.
Doctors also suggest that we should avoid looking at our phones, tablets or desktops in the dark, and wear sunglasses that filter UV and blue light when outside. When we’re inside, and working at a screen, a great way to help limit your exposure is by wearing Blue Light Glasses - these are built specifically for shielding our eyes from harmful blue light. Feel free to browse our range here.
So, while exposure to blue light isn’t completely avoidable, the more we understand about it’s effect and how best to deal with it, the better we’ll be able to limit it’s risks on our health.