The Dangers of Blue Light and Why You Should Limit Screen Time
Posted by: Georgia Center for Sight
As the modern world advances, technology and screens have become a constant and unshakeable part of our daily routines. Whether it’s our phones, computers, car screens, smart thermostat, television, smartwatch, or iPad, we are constantly exposed to bright screens and the harmful blue light that emanates from them.
If you aren’t familiar with blue light, blue light rays with the shortest wavelengths (and highest energy) are sometimes called blue-violet or violet light. This is why the invisible electromagnetic rays just beyond the visible light spectrum are called ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Digital devices emit blue light through the screen, which is why your eyes will get tired after staring at your laptop, phone, or TV all day.
According to the American Optometric Association, children are more likely than adults to experience retinal damage when exposed to this high-energy light. This can put your child at a higher risk for early age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of eyesight. For both adults and children, too much ultraviolet radiation from blue light can sunburn the eyes and lead to a condition called photokeratitis.
An important thing to understand is that our eyes are not very good at blocking blue light and preventing damage. Blue light is also emitted in vast amounts by the sun, so our eyes are constantly exposed to it. The cornea and the lens in our eye are generally good at blocking UV radiation from reaching the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eyeball. Still, virtually all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina. This blue light exposure to the retina has been proven to cause macular degeneration in the eye, which can lead to permanent vision loss.
The blue light rays damage the retina’s light-sensitive cells, which is why it’s so important to limit the amount of time you expose yourself to these harmful rays. It is virtually impossible to protect yourself from all blue light that you are exposed to, but by cutting out hours or minutes of screen time, you can significantly decrease the permanent damage that comes with blue light.
Another solution would be to purchase a credible pair of blue-light blocking glasses. When you stare at a screen, the scattered blue light particles are not easy for your eyes to focus on. This unfocused visual “noise” reduces contrast in your eyes and can contribute to digital eye strain. Research has shown that lenses that block blue light with wavelengths less than 450 nm (blue-violet light) increase contrast significantly. Therefore, computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses may increase comfort when viewing digital devices for extended periods of time.
At Georgia Center for Sight, we want to help you protect you and your loved ones’ eyes by helping you to realize the dangers of blue light and take steps to mitigate damage to your eyesight. Call your local Georgia Center for Sight today to speak with a member of our staff and learn more about the effect of blue light on our eyes.