How Does Blue Light Damage Your Eyes?
Spent hours staring at your computer or phone screen? The discomfort you are feeling is most likely the effect of digital eye strain caused by blue lights, which makes your vision go slightly blurry and make your eyes feel dry and itchy. Hence, knowing how does blue light damage your eyes, in the long run, is important to keep your eyes healthy.
That being said, blue light does not only cause damage to our eyes. If that was the case, the majority of the world would be blind by now. There are certain benefits to it, too. So, in this article we will separate fact from fiction by discussing what blue light is and how it impacts our overall well-being.
What Is Blue Light?
It is important to note that blue light is everywhere and is not just emitted from digital screens. Stepping into the sunlight, switching on the lights, using digital screens—all of these expose our eyes to a variety of visible and invisible light rays. These rays can possibly have a range of effects on us.
For us humans, our eyes are very sensitive to the colors green, red, and blue. Each of these colors is picked up by the cells in the back of our eyes, also called cones, which are specific to those particular colors on the basis of their wavelengths.
Among these three colors, the blue color has the shortest wavelength. This means that it has the highest amount of energy. Now, that does not mean that blue light is always bad for us. In fact, blue light has a far larger role too.
This light plays a very critical role when it comes to the maintenance of our good health. It has the ability to regulate the circadian rhythm in our body, which is also known as our natural sleep-wake cycle. Furthermore, the additional benefits of blue light include the ability to elevate our mood and helps our memory. It supports our cognitive function too.
How Does Blue Light Damage Your Eyes?
As mentioned earlier, blue light has the ability to have a range of effects on our body. The claim that blue light causes damage to our eyes still remains a controversial finding. However, there are certain pieces of evidence that state that the ultraviolet UVA light can cause damage to the retina of our eyes.
Absorption of this UVA light can possibly lead to the destruction of certain membranes, and it can also accelerate the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. Then again, it is also important to note that these issues will often occur only as a result of a far longer duration of exposure.
There are other ways blue light could cause damage to your eyes, which include:
Majority of us work jobs that require us to be in front of a computer screen for long periods. Hence, we end up absorbing a large amount of blue light that could cause trouble for our eyes. This also includes excessive use of smartphones. All of this could possibly lead to eye soreness and fatigue, which are considered to be hallmark symptoms of eye strain.
Additionally, the blue light from digital screens has also shown a steady increase in the worsening of symptoms like dry eyes. In fact, all of the issues that are associated with all the eye disorders we have listed are compounded the more you use digital screens and are exposed to blue light.
Negatively Affects Sleep
It is a known fact that artificial lights have the ability to disrupt sleep patterns. So, it comes as no surprise that blue light is considered as one of its main culprits. To be more specific, people who are exposed to blue light, especially after sunset, are inhibiting the production of melatonin hormone in the body, which regulates our desire for sleep.
Staring at your computer or phone screen for an extended period right before bedtime has shown to elicit greater drowsiness, far lower energy as well as alertness for the next day.
Migraines and Headaches
There have been countless clinical studies that support the claim that blue light has the ability to worsen migraines and headaches for people who are already prone to them. Researchers have suggested that there is a very specific neural pathway to the brain from our eyes, which cause blue light wavelength to worsen headache pain.
The Benefits of Blue Light
While prolonged exposure to blue light has the ability to cause quite a bit of damage to our eyes, it also has the ability to be beneficial to our well-being. For instance, it has been shown that blue light can improve productivity, alertness, and even our memory.
This makes sense because blue light has the ability to suppress the hormone “melatonin” in our body, which would otherwise make us feel sleepy. So, being exposed to blue light during the day would conversely result in making us feel more attentive and awake.
Very interestingly, blue light therapy, a non-drug treatment has been used for various conditions, most notably for concussions. That being said, all these clinical studies were done where these blue light’s wavelength could be precisely controlled.
This is obviously impossible in our day to day lives, and we lack the ability to regulate the exposure of blue light coming from sunlight or even a digital screen. Still, there are some trick and tips you can do to lessen its harmful effects on our body.
Tips on Reducing Blue Light Exposure
There are certain preventive measures you can opt to do in order to reduce your exposure to blue light. These include:
- Using blue light filtering glasses. Always opt for a good brand and not a cheap knock-off. These will help, especially if you are prone to headaches or migraines.
- Using night modes. Most laptops and smartphones these days come with a night mode that warm the lighting on the screen, making it easy on your eyes.
- Not using your phone before bed. Avoid looking at any screen for a minimum of two hours before you go to bed.
- Giving your eyes a break. Give your eyes at least 15 to 20 minutes of rest every two hours or so. This is so that your eyes can have a chance to reset. Also, do not forget to blink appropriately.
Knowing how does blue light damage your eyes is important, especially for those who spend countless hours staring at a computer and smartphone screen. We hope this article has given you enough insight into this subject. While it is impossible to steer clear from blue light in this day and age, being cautious and taking certain precautions can certainly be of great help for your eyes.