I know I definitely don’t stand alone when I admit that I spend almost 12 to 15 hours a day staring at a rectangular screen. When I wake, I spend a quarter of an hour on my phone catching up on chat groups that have kicked off while I was snoozing. When I am on my train commute, I catch up on some Korean dramas. When I am at work, I spend hours at a time writing articles like the ones you see today. As you would have observed, that number is worrying and shows how our addiction to screens is real and they affect both the young and the old. Some scientists have gone one step further and discovered that this phenomenon of increased screen time is leaving us with a poorer streak of health due to the amount of blue light that these screens emit.
What Is Blue Light?
To make things simple, blue light is a colour within the visible light spectrum that can be perceived by our eyes. Due to how blue light has a short wavelength, it produces a huge amount of energy than others. You might be shocked to discover this but our only source of blue light in the past was sunlight. Now that has extended to a number of them including those found from our LED light, laptops, television, smartphones and tablets.
To break a few stereotypes here… the blue light is not bad for us. In actual fact, our body actually thrives on blue light as it is what helps regulate our circadian rhythm, which is our body’s sleep and wake cycles. In addition, blue light is also known to boost our alertness, elevate our moods and quicken our reaction times. In certain countries with four seasons, blue light is important in overcoming seasonal affective disorder during the winter months when there is very little sunlight.
Why Is Blue Light Bad For Us?
Earlier, we talked about how blue light is important to our wellbeing. But the thing is our eyes are not the best at blocking out blue light since almost all visible blue light is able to pass through the cornea and lens to reach our retina at the rear of our eyeballs. What too much exposure to blue light from our increased screen time does is to damage those light-sensitive cells in our retina and affect our eyes in the same way macular degeneration does as well.
Increased exposure to blue light is also said to cause us digital eye strain. We need to understand that due to the shorter wavelength in blue light, they flicker much more than other visible light. This flicking is what leads to a severe reduction in our visual contrast and that affects the clarity and sharpness, causing us to have eye strain, physical and mental fatigue and headaches when we find ourselves being exposed to blue light the entire day.
Lastly, this prolonged exposure to blue light, in particular when the sun sets, has been found to disrupt our sleep patterns. As the sky dims into darkness, our body prepares for sleep through the production of melatonin, the hormone in our body responsible for sleep. But when we expose ourselves to blue light, it decreases the production of melatonin and our body are led to believe that it is still daytime and should be kept awake. Inadvertently, this makes it much harder for us to get out 6-8 hours of beauty rest and that lack of sleep is key to why some of us bulge at our waists and find it much harder to fit into our old clothes.
What Can We Do To Shield Our Eyes From Blue Light?
A straightforward approach to start ensuring better eye health is to cut down on our exposure to blue light. But really, that is easier said than done since our work demands of us to be situated in the office and to be typing in front of a computer. If you are starting to feel the effects of this prolonged exposure to sunlight, you can start putting on eyewear that has been specially designed to filter out blue light. Through the lens technology within these glasses like unique polymers and filtering solutions, they are able to combat digital eye strain and help you sleep better at night. Just by putting these on, you will start experiencing immediate differences: you will get lesser headaches, lesser strain on your eyes and the light that leaves your screen isn’t as harsh as before. In the night, you will experience a difference in bed. Gone are those days of tossing and turning since your body is no longer kept awake by your exposure to blue light and your body can resume normalcy with its usual release of melatonin. If you are the sort who refuse to put on these blue-light filtering glasses, you could simply relegate your electronic devices to the drawer in the hour before you sleep. Blue-light filtering glasses are just another way to get around the hassle and retain your productivity before you dive into bed.