In this age of technology, it is difficult to not have our eyes come in contact with any sort of technology during the course of the day.  We use our phones, watch the news on TV, stop for two minutes to rub our eyes, then work on the computer for hours, and stop for ten minutes to manage that headache and repeat, all throughout the day.  Most people have experienced these feelings when using technology for prolonged periods of time and the reason is due to the blue light coming from those screens.  This is the hidden danger at work coming from most if not all technology in the form blue light.   

 

Image Credit: preventblindness.org

 

What is Blue Light?

To understand this issue, you have to look at its main source, white light.  If you remember from school, white light is made of the colors of the rainbow; violet indigo blue green yellow orange red, with violet and red at each end of the spectrum.  On this spectrum, each color possesses a different wavelength and in turn, a different level of energy.  Towards the red end, there is less energy and at the blue end, more energy.  Normally most blue lights come from the sun or certain light bulbs, but now with how often we are exposing ourselves to computers, high definition TVs and of course, smart phones, our eyes are taking in much more than they are made to.  It is good to note that blue light was never completely bad, there are benefits; it can help in bettering your mood, trigger memory and lets our bodies know when to be awake and when to go to sleep.  But before the age of technology, we were not so largely exposed and in the terms of our overall health in the long term, this is concerning as the effects are clearly felt and seen, even if we don’t think it’s the cause.   

 

What Does Blue Light Do to You?

Blue light can cause your eyes to strain, make them dry or blur your vision.  At worst, can lead the way for cataracts and muscular degeneration for the muscles around your eyes.  In addition, the effects can spread to the rest of your body by ways of headaches, decreased metabolism and sleep deprivation.  And you wonder why you keep watching movies late at night, huh?

What blue light does to you

 

What You Can Do.

The main idea is to always limit your daily interaction with technology, but when you cannot, there are always other means to help your eyes.

  • Newer technology is actually made to help control the amount emitted in certain modes/settings or through applications that can be downloaded.
  • With older technology, purchase a screen protector that filters out some blue light.
  • Consider the lights in your home, change the bulbs to ones with warmer light, as fluorescent and LED are blue light givers. 
  • If you notice yourself blinking less, try to remind yourself to blink more, as this will aid in keeping dry eyes at bay. 
  • Go for the 20-20-20 rule; this means when you are taking a break from your technology, look at something from you that is 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.   
  • Those with families need to start out their children young by limiting their use and access or reinforce the need for a break, especially when it is a lovely day, right?  In truth, their risks are far greater than the average adult, since their physical development is still ongoing. 
  • Look for computer lenses, they have a yellow tint to counteract the blue light and are particularly great for prolonged contact with any technology. 
  • Anti-reflective lenses help reducing glare and blue light too.

Just like blue light, technology can be good and bad if not used in moderation.  Technology has been created to help improve our lives in the long run, through limiting our use and taking care of our bodies we’ll be able to look forward to more in our future.