Did you hear the news that U.S. children, on average, spend 7 hours a day looking at digital screens? Today’s Vision wants you to know that new research is revealing the dangers of blue light, a high-energy wavelength of light emitted by smartphones, tablets, laptops, LCD flat panel monitors and energy efficient light sources.
The majority of us spend more than half our waking hours exposed to this light, which may contribute to eye strain and fatigue, macular degeneration and sleep disruption. In a recent survey of eye doctors, 83 percent reported seeing an increase in symptoms attributable to blue light exposure.
One symptoms is eye strain: blue light is myopically defocused in front of the retina, which results in light scatter that we perceive as glare. Working in a high-glare environment causes the eyes to work overtime, leading to visual fatigue and strain.
But the impact of blue light doesn’t stop there: major university studies have shown that the light can disrupt sleep, interfering with circadian rhythms by suppressing the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates waking and sleeping. Chronically shifted circadian rhythms have been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Children are especially vulnerable to macular damage. Just as most UV exposure occurs before 18 years of age, the effects of blue light exposure are also more intense in children, since they hold devices in very close proximity to their eyes and are amongst the most active users of blue light sources.
While it would be virtually impossible to escape blue light, as most people rely on it to live, work and play, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Try to decrease blue light exposure throughout the day, and especially in the evenings. Before bedtime, curl up with a good book instead of your smartphone. Wear protective eyewear at the office or at home when using your digital devices.
Ask your Today’s Vision eye doctor about new lens enhancements for eyeglasses that can provide a unique defense by absorbing and deflecting incoming blue light to help safeguard the wearer against exposure.