Blue light gets a lot of buzz, so you might be wondering what exactly it is and what kind of damage it can really cause. For starters, it’s a color in the light spectrum that can be seen by the naked eye, and it can be damaging in a number of ways. Some people mistakenly believe that one of the dangers of blue light is eyestrain. But experts like ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology Rahul Khurana say that’s not the case, explaining that we get more exposure to blue light from the sunlight rather than computers and smartphones.
However, even if our digital screens aren’t the primary source of blue light exposure, blocking blue light on computer and phone displays can be very worthwhile in the three to four hours before bedtime. This is because blue light can - and does - disrupt natural sleep patterns, by affecting our hormonal balance and sleep-wake cycle.
So, what’s the best way to block blue light, and when should you do so? Here are our suggestions.
1. Get a blue light coating on prescription glasses.
On your next pair of prescription glasses, consider adding a blue light coating as they provide a great amount of protection especially with the devices that we use daily.
2. Buy blue light blocking glasses for the evening and nighttime hours.
If you’re someone who wears contact lenses or has had vision correction and doesn’t need glasses, you could benefit from wearing non-prescription blue light blocking glasses in the few hours before you go to bed. This should help get your circadian rhythm and sleep quality back on track.
3. Wear sunglasses with broad spectrum UV protection.
As mentioned previously, the blue light from sunlight can damage your eyes (and of course ultraviolet rays can, too). This exposure can lead to painful inflammation of the conjunctiva and cornea, cause damage to the eye's crystalline lens (e.g., cataracts) and the retina (e.g. macular degeneration). Protect your eyes with adequate sunglasses every chance you get.
4. Give your eyes a break every so often.
In today’s world, we have LED lights, energy-saving bulbs and electromagnetic radiation from screens. While very popular, all of these types of lighting emit more blue light than light bulbs of old. It’s probably not realistic to get rid of all these newer bulbs, and since sunlight still exposes you to more blue light than they do, you’re bound to get a decent amount of exposure indoors and outdoors. But, you can still give your eyes a reprieve every couple hours by spending a little time inside, with the light dimmed or off.
At Horizon, any of the glasses sold in our optical department can have blue light lens coatings and blue protection built directly into the lens. Contact us any time to learn more.