What is Blue Light & What Does it Do to Your Eyes?

eye strain

As the modern age progresses, more and more of us are becoming aware of the impact various technological developments can have on our bodies – this is especially true of screens and their effect on our eyes. Although these devices have revolutionised the way that we live and made many aspects of our lives much easier, they do have downsides. You’ll probably have heard of blue light in the past, but perhaps you don’t know too much about it, so here is a snapshot insight into the concept. 

Blue, or High-Energy-Visible (HEV), light, as we’ll soon cover, is an all but unavoidable aspect of living in the modern world, but it has effects on your eyes that it’s important to know about. You can book an eye test to get the best professional advice if you’re concerned, but it’s worth knowing the facts about what your eyes are exposed to and what to be aware of.

What is Blue Light?

There are a number of different wavelengths of lights and depending on the frequency of the wavelength the energy factor can be high or low. In the case of HEV, this energy is high which means that the eye is unable to effectively filter it out. With more of it reaching our retinas, the eye experiences both negative impacts and positive benefits. 

You’re probably already familiar with the sources of blue light, but to cover these briefly, we’re talking about the glare from your mobile phone and computer screens, as well as televisions, LED and fluorescent lights. You might not know that the sun is also a key source.

Key Risks of Blue Light

Most of us spend many hours a day looking at a screen. In fact, you’re looking at a screen while you read this. So much of our day-to-day activity is carried out on screens that it would be hard not to be exposed. Prolonged use can cause eye-pain and vision issues. 

Some of the issues you may experience can include dizziness, eye-strain, blurred vision, headaches and dry-eye. Tests that your optician can carry out can determine what is going on in your eye and whether there are steps you might want to take to reduce your exposure to blue lights. There are also concerns that over the longer term, exposure to this artificial brightness will lead to vision problems that are long lasting. Although more research is needed in this area it’s important to factor this knowledge in when considering your screen-time.

Sleep Issues

It’s perhaps not surprising that what you absorb through the eyes can have an impact on your sleep and therefore your longer-term health. This is because blue light – as found in the sun – can disrupt our body clock and make us instinctively believe it’s daylight. This can lead to trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, which then causes many other related issues.

Health Benefits

Although it’s worth getting an eye test if you are worried about your overall optical health as a result of blue light exposure, it’s worth noting that there are many functions of this wavelength that have a positive effect on our health and our ability to carry out tasks. 

When absorbed in moderation, you’re likely to feel more alert. It also has a positive impact on mood, memory and the ability for our brain to process information. All of these are crucial parts of being a healthy human being and our eyes are directly responsible for ensuring that we achieve this, which is why it’s so important to keep them in good order!

What Can You Do?

The best option if you’re concerned about your optical health is to visit us at David Paul Opticians for an eye test, but there are a few things you can do in your day to day life to help limit the amount of blue light you’re exposed to on a regular basis. The first and most obvious of these is to reduce the amount of screen time you’re getting as this will have the most profound impact on your blue light exposure and your overall eye health. Of course, many of us can’t be away from our screens due to work, so there are some other steps you can take:

  • Spend time looking away from a screen after 20 minutes of screen-time. It doesn’t have to be very long, but can drastically reduce strain.
  • Utilise the technology – many phones and laptops have filters built in which are especially good before bed.
  • Specialised glasses are available that will enable you to reduce the amount of blue light you’re exposed to – these work in a similar way to screen filters.

There are a number of things you can try yourself, but trained opticians are best placed to give you advice if you have any concerns.

Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

There is only one sure fire way to know that your optical health is good and that you’re not at risk from longer term damage as a result of blue light exposure, and this is to take a professional eye test. At David Paul, our expert team of opticians are well versed in the signs that eyes are being over-stimulated by screens and unnatural glare and we can advise on the very best ways to counter this damage. 

More and more of our patients are coming to us for help with exactly these types of issues. If you experience any of the problems listed above, or spend a long time working on screens, or are just curious and want to take all the necessary steps to avoid damage to your eyes, then get in touch with us today for a consultation and to see what help we can provide.