Americans are spending a staggering amount of time watching television or looking at their smartphones, tablets, and computers. Recent statistics show the average American is spending anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 hours on their phones each day. This, combined with time spent on our computers working, means we are exposed to more blue light than ever before.
At Suburban Opticians, we are starting to see the effects of blue light on the eye. What should you know about the blue light, and how you can best protect yourself and your family? Glad you asked, let’s learn more.
What Is Blue Light?
Blue light, a part of the visible light spectrum, has the shortest wavelength but the highest energy. The sun is actually a significant source of blue light. But artificial sources of blue light come from fluorescent lighting, flat-screen TVs, computers, smartphones, and tablets.
Blue light is beneficial during daylight hours because it stimulates the brain and boosts alertness and mood. It’s not so great during the evening hours when it’s time for our brains to “power down” so-to-speak.
Why Should you be Concerned?
Blue light from screens is starting to become more of a concern, and for good reason. According to Prevent Blindness, blue light from computers, smartphones, and tablets can lead to eye strain, and dry eyes, but more importantly exposure to blue light can, “lead to damaged retinal cells. This can cause vision problems like age-related macular degeneration.” Read the full article here.
It's also important to note that blue light has an impact on children’s eyesight as well. Children are more vulnerable because their eyes absorb more blue light from digital devices, putting them at risk for nearsightedness.
What can you do?
This can all seem scary, especially since most adults and children have to spend time on a computer or tablet daily. Here are a few suggestions that are easy to implement.
Set limits. Limiting your screen time will help hold you accountable. It will also help you better understand how much time you spend looking at a screen. Most smartphones allow you to set limits on certain apps. Phones and tablets can also show you how much time you’re spending on screen.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule. This is a great way to reduce eye strain. The way it works is you take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away.
Get blue-light filters. Filters for your smartphone, tablet, and computer screens help prevent much of the blue light from these devices from reaching the eyes.
See your Optician. Your eye doctor can help you find good-quality blue light blocking glasses that will help reduce the impact of blue light on your vision.
Screen time is something we need to monitor in our daily lives. It has lasting impacts on your vision but is damage is easily prevented. Call us today if you have any concerns.