It is no news that technology has taken centre stage in our lives. Now, people are engaged with digital devices that sport interactive interfaces between the user and the device in the form of screens. Considering the amount of time most users spend on their gadgets there exists a great cause for concern. Blue light emission from the screens of these digital devices, especially phones is very high.
In this article, I want to look at how overexposure to blue light emanating from our screens can cause some short and even long-term damage to our eyesight and our overall health.
Blue Light Explained
White light comprises several light rays coming together to give us sunlight of which blue light forms a part. There are different colours in the colour spectrum with varying amounts of energy; the longer the wavelength, the lesser the energy, the shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy.
Blue light possesses high energy, and as a result, it can cause changes to surfaces it comes into contact. The bluish colour of the sky is a result of a high concentration of blue light rays; this in its right place has got its usefulness.
Graphical Presentation of blue light
Benefits of Blue Light
Blue light controls the body’s circadian rhythm — that is the body’s natural sleep and wake cycle. Adequate exposure to blue light in the daytime helps people to sleep peacefully in the night as it reacts to certain hormones for this cycle to work properly. This explains that inadequate exposure to blue light during the day can hamper a good night’s sleep.
An effect of the distortion of this cycle is one waking up tired even after some good hours of sleep. It’s well documented that some blue light exposure is essential for good health. Research has shown that high-energy visible light boosts alertness, helps memory and cognitive function, and elevates mood.
Blue lights in its place are non-harmful, but human-made sources of blue light have increased our exposure. In comparison with the amount of blue light produced by the sun, human-made sources from these devices are just a speck. However, it is our usage pattern that has become worrisome.
Perils of Blue Light
The eye is very bad at blocking blue light, and as a result, excessive exposure to it damages some nerves in the eye that aids in the vision of the individual. The fact that blue light penetrates to the retina is very alarming as this can contribute to macular degeneration which may even lead to permanent vision impairment.
Secondly, excessive exposure can contribute to digital eye strain. The unfocused nature of blue light rays as compared to visible light can lead to eye strain due to staring at screens for more extended periods.
Practical Solutions to Reduce Excessive Exposure
Since we live in an era where screens are inevitable let’s look at the best practices to reduce this excessive exposure:
- Make use of blue light blocking software. In most modern smartphones, it comes as a standard. This gives you warmer tones that are pleasant and easy on your eyes especially for reading at night.
- Use blue light reduction glasses when using digital devices for longer periods.
- Avoid using the phone just before bedtime as this may distort your restful sleep. If for some reason this cannot work for you, stay away from your device at least two or three hours before bedtime.