Preventing Blue Light-Related Health Problems

By Brian Wallace

August 16, 2017   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

blue light

Blue light is everywhere. In addition to radiating from the sun, blue light also emanates from those buzzing fluorescent lights in your office, from your computer screen, cell phone and television.

No matter what time of the day it is or what you are doing these days, it seems that you are getting exposed to massive amounts of blue light. But, what’s the big deal?

Blue is a pretty color, right? Sure, but that’s not the point.

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light waves are shorter and emit higher energy levels than all other light in the visible light spectrum. A full third of all visible light is blue light, so there’s a lot of it. Most importantly, it can cause severe medical problems when you get too much exposed to it.

The list includes:

  • Headaches
  • Cataracts
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Pterygium
  • Sleep Disruptions
  • Eye Strain

Flickering lights can cause eye strain and glare. These things can make your eyes work harder.

Apart from that, blue light exposure tells your brain it’s daytime and this can prevent you from being able to sleep. And all that light can deteriorate the physical structures of your eyes. No big deal, right?

See Also: 5 Night Time Mistakes That Will Keep You Awake

People Are Spending Too Much Time Looking At bv Screens

blue light screen

Thanks to the digital revolution, people are spending more time than ever staring at screens. Sure, they simplify our lives, but didn’t humans live for thousands of years without them?

Unfortunately, in this day and age, you won’t be able to get a job without a computer and a cell phone. And if ever you do get a job, you’re very likely to spend a great deal of time staring at both in almost everything you do.

Back in 2014, the average American adult spent 7.4 hours looking at screens. Today, that figure has climbed to well over 10 hours a day. Think about it. You spend all day at work staring at a computer screen, you play games on your phone during your lunch break and then you go home and turn on Netflix. Where’s the downtime for your eyes?

Kids aren’t immune, either. Most parents report that their kids spend over two hours a day in front of a screen. Kids have their own mobile devices, so it’s even harder than it was back when our parents just had to turn off the TV and tell us to go outside.

Despite this and despite the fact that most parents are concerned about the amount of time their kids spend on electronic devices, only 29% of parents take their kids in for their annual eye exams.

Protecting Your Eyes Is Key

blue light protection

Preventing the damage from occurring in the first place is the key to ensuring you won’t suffer severe health problems related to blue light exposure. Over the first twelve years of this century, there was a 25% jump in the number of Americans with severe Macular Degeneration and prevention is the only decent treatment option for that crippling disease, unless you really like getting needles stuck in your eyeballs.

Wearing sunglasses every day protects your eyes from UVA and UVB rays, which is crucial for preventing cataracts. But, blue light can also contribute to many of the same maladies that UVA and UVB light can cause and your sunglasses offer you zero protection against it.

See Also: Eye Safety In The Workplace: Effective Ways To Protect Your Vision

If you wear glasses, consider investing in a blue light blocking coating for your next pair. Even if you don’t wear glasses regularly, you can also invest in computer glasses that will block the light while you stare at your computer screen all day.

Other tips for protecting your eyes from blue light:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen for 20 seconds to a distance of 20 feet.
  • Don’t forget to blink! Post a note to your monitor if you need a reminder.
  • Adjust the lighting of your surroundings and your computer screen to match. This will help you avoid eye strain.
  • Use anti-glare screens for your computer monitor.
  • Use a blue light filter setting on your phone and other digital devices whenever possible.
  • Avoid screen time for two hours before bedtime.

Learn more about the perils of blue light from this infographic. Are you protecting yourself from its harmful effects?

Brian Wallace

Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.

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