What is blue light?
Blue light is one of the colors in the light spectrum, the full light spectrum containing red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. You will get the most blue light exposure from the sun, but cell phone, computer, tablet, and television screens make a significant impact.
Research has found that blue light can have positive effects including increasing alertness, helping memory recall, heightening your mood, and improving your attention span. However, as with anything, there’s a downside to that exposure.
Each color in the light spectrum has a different wavelength and energy. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and higher energy than most of the other colors, and there is a link between blue light wavelength and eye damage. That is why being so close to cell phone, tablet, and laptop screens can increase the risk of certain eye diseases. Additionally, it can overstimulate the brain and cause melatonin production to slow, which makes it tougher to fall asleep.
It’s impossible to avoid all blue light exposure, but there are things that you can do to keep unwanted side effects at bay. In a blog post,Your Sight Matters offered a few tips to implement in your daily life to keep your eyes as healthy as possible.
- Limit screen time outside of work. If you work in a job that involves sitting in front of a computer screen all day, there is not much you can do to prevent that exposure. However, as soon as you get home, you should make it a priority to limit the amount of time you spend staring at a screen. There are plenty of other ways to relax like taking a walk, reading a book, cooking a meal, and the like.
- Use a blue light filter app. Scrolling through your social media feeds can be relaxing. If that is the case for you, you do not have to give that up. Instead, you can download a blue light filter app that will help reduce the amount of harmful light. There are plenty of options on the app store that you can use for your devices.
- Avoid devices before bedtime. As mentioned above, one of the harmful effects of blue light is that it can cause restlessness and insomnia. That is why you should try to avoid using your devices right before bedtime. A great tip is to charge your phone in a different room so you are not tempted to use it as you are trying to sleep.
- Don’t forget to blink. Our blinking rate slows down drastically when we are focused on a screen. This can cause dry eye and irritation, so it’s important to remember to blink. Set reminders on your phone to put it down and blink hard for a few minutes, or place a post-it note on your computer screen to remind yourself to blink often.
- Get regular eye exams. All of the tips you can implement yourself are great, but nothing beats going to a specialist to have your eyes taken care of. Schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist to discuss your options and see if you can be prescribed blue light glasses.
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