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Understanding Blue Light and Its Effects on Us

Created on: Sunday, September 22, 2019

Studies suggest that exposure to blue light has many health benefits, but over exposure may lead to certain diseases, eye strain and may even interfere with sleep cycles if exposure occurs at night. 

 So What Is Blue Light?

The largest source of blue light comes from the sun. Although we perceive sunshine as white light, it is actually a combination of many shades of reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues. These shades contain varying degrees of energy with blue tones containing the largest amounts of energy.

We also have many sources of manmade blue light which we are exposed to every day. These include fluorescent lights, LED lights, computer monitors, smart phone screens and televisions. 

What Are The Benefits Of Blue Light?

Eliminating blue light entirely would not be good for us since there are actually proven benefits to exposure to sunlight. In fact, exposure to the sun has been associated with increases in memory functioning, improved mood, regulates the wake and sleep cycle when exposure occurs during the day, and aids in the development of the eye. 

So What Should You Do About Blue Light?

Since the eye is not effective at blocking out blue light and we know that over exposure to the retina can damage retina cells, we recommend that you limit your exposure. 

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you may want to consider sunglasses with a protective blue light block coating. This will help reduce the amount of exposure of blue light onto the retina.

For individuals experiencing sleep cycle disturbances, consider removing all blue light emitting devices from your bedroom or at least limit the use of these devices at night time.

Individuals using computer screens for a significant amount of time each day, may benefit from yellow tinted computer glasses which are available to help with eye strain symptoms and make viewing the screen more comfortable. Brands like EBDBLUE and SIGHTRELAX both offer these glasses. Although we don’t recommend any particular brand, we encourage you to do your own research.

There are also blue light blocking screens available for your computer, smartphones and tablets. These screens block a significant amount of blue light being emitted from these devices. Although we don’t recommend any specific brand, many options are available including EyeSafe blue light protector, IllumiShield screen protector, RetinaShield and Fabricon. 

If you are considering cataract surgery, talk to Dr. Balin regarding the IOL that will be used to replace your natural lens. Some IOLs offer protection against blue light. Following cataract surgery, Dr. Balin may recommend using blue light protecting glasses if you spend many hours in front of the computer screen or on a device.  

Understanding blue light and its effect on the eye is important in maintaining the health of your eye. Please contact Balin Eye & Laser Center at 413-584-6666 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.







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