From smartphones and tablets to televisions and gaming consoles, a majority of us are glued to some electronic device or the other during the day. Before pressing the panic button on the harmful effects of blue light, we need to know the ins and outs of this form of light. So, let’s get cracking.
What Is Blue Light?
Blue light is an integral part of the visible light spectrum, which is what your eye can see. When it comes to blue light, its wavelength is the shortest whereas its energy is the highest. What’s more, it vibrates within the range of 380-500 nanometres. Nearly 1/3rd of all light visible to your eye is considered to be “high-energy visible” or, in other words, “blue light.” One of the most powerful sources of blue light is sunlight. Yes, you read that right, sunlight. Other artificial blue-light sources include smartphones, tablets, laptops, computer monitors, flat-screen LED (light-emitting diode) TVs, LED lights, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, and fluorescent light.
Myriad Health Benefits Of Blue Light
Before we tear into blue light left, right, and centre, let’s take a look at some of its advantages. To start with, blue light helps in boosting alertness, improving cognitive and memory function, and elevating mood. Not bad, huh? It also helps in regulating circadian rhythm, which is your body’s natural sleep and wake cycle. Sunlight is also vital for children for the proper growth and development of their eyes. Moreover, inadequate exposure to blue light can lead to increased incidence of myopia or shortsightedness. This may sound good, but wait until you read the next section.
Too Much Exposure To Blue Light
Too much of anything can be potentially hazardous, and the same applies to blue light. Exposure to blue light from screens is lesser in comparison to exposure from sunlight. That said, there is a serious concern with regard to the long-term effects of exposure to diverse screens, especially with too much screen time and when the screen is way too close to your eyes. Hence, keep those screens at a safe distance.
Harmful Effects Of Blue Light
Because your eye is not efficient at blocking out blue light, almost all visible blue light eventually passes through the cornea and lens of your eyes, reaching the retina, where cells convert light for the brain to process images.
Continued, excessive exposure to blue light over a period could cause damage to your retinal cells and lead to vision problems, including age-related macular degeneration. In addition, it can lead to cataracts and even eye cancer. Now you know why they say that prevention is better than cure.
Nowadays, it is common to see children using smartphones and tablets. These children should exhibit extra caution for their eyes because, in comparison with adults, their eyes have a greater tendency to absorb blue light.
Another common problem is the usage of smartphones and computers before going to bed. Exposure to blue light in the night can severely affect sleep patterns because it alters the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. So, if you want a good night’s sleep, ditch that smartphone long before you head to bed.
Does Blue Light Lead To Digital Eye Strain?
It is true. High-energy, short-wavelength blue light scatters much more easily than other forms of visible light. Because digital devices emit high levels of blue light, there is a reduction in contrast with a simultaneous increase in digital eye strain.
Another common problem when it comes to viewing digital devices is that you will tend to blink much less, thus contributing to dry eyes and eye strain. Other common eye strain symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, and even shoulder and neck pain.
The Final Word:
Blue light emitted from electronic devices will not drastically increase the chances of macular degeneration; however, prolonged exposure (especially at night), will disrupt your sleep, circadian rhythms, and other key aspects of your health. If you fall into this category, consult your doctor, and limit the use of digital devices at night.
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