Blue light emitted from electronic devices such as cell phones and laptop computers is a common culprit of digital eyestrain. A few common symptoms of digital eye strain include eye fatigue, blurry vision, and headache.
What is blue light?
Visible light comes in a spectrum. Starting at red, the wavelengths decrease in size but increase in energy. We pass through orange and yellow, then into green, before reaching blue light at the high energy end of the spectrum. Together all these colors of light combine to make the white light we receive from the sun.
Blue light, due to the color of the sky, is associated with being awake. When your body detects blue light, it wakes you up, improving your mental sharpness. It also helps regulate your internal body clock. We call this your circadian rhythm. Naturally, blue light elevates our mood and creates a sense of well-being. Yet, for millions of years, the only blue light our ancestors were exposed to came from the sun. In recent years all that has changed.
What are the effects of blue light?
Today, blue light doesn't disappear when the sun dips below the horizon. Our electronic gadgets all use blue fluorescent and LED lights in their screens. Blue light affects your sleep: keeping you awake when it's time to wind down. Insomnia is a widespread problem, with blue light being a common but underappreciated cause.
Additionally, blue light is known to flicker more quickly than other wavelengths. Such flickering is believed to be a cause of eyestrain, headaches, and mental and physical fatigue. So, if after a day staring at a screen, you feel exhausted: now you know why.
Finally, blue light more readily penetrates to the retina. Therefore, some theorize that it can damage the light-sensitive cells that help you see. Such changes mirror macular degeneration and can even lead to permanent vision loss.
How does wearing blue light blocking glasses help?
Given the information about the disruptive and dangerous effects of blue light, people have sought a solution. Blue light glasses are designed to block out blue light, giving a welcome relief. According to Susan Primo, an optometrist, and professor of ophthalmology, some patients report less eye strain following wearing them.
Furthermore, a study at the University of Houston discovered that participants wearing blue light glasses increased their nighttime melatonin levels by 58 percent. Melatonin is a chemical that helps you sleep.
Such research has only begun to scratch the surface of the benefits available. For now, an appreciation of the importance of blue light blocking is essential.
See how bamblue glasses block out harmful blue light: