The next time you are in a shopping mall or sitting on a plane or train, take a moment and observe the people around you. Almost regardless of their age, there is a strong possibility that many will be working on a computer, reading a tablet, or tapping away on a smartphone. The problem with our high usage of computer screens is that it is very unnatural for our eyes to work, read and play from a digital display. Backlit displays expose us to higher-than-normal amounts of blue light, which can cause digital eye strain, fatigue and sometimes permanent damage to your eyesight.
The Difference Between Natural And Digital Blue Light
Natural blue light is all around us. In fact, it is what makes the sky look blue. Natural blue light is good for our health as it regulates sleep and wake cycles. It also boosts alertness, elevates your mood, and increases feelings of wellbeing.
Artificial blue light, found in computers, television, LED lights and smartphones, can be harmful to your eyes. The backlight displays emit high amounts of very strong blue light waves, and too much blue light can affect your eye health. It can lead to painful inflammation of the conjunctiva and cornea, and also cause cataract and macular degeneration. (The conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids. The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye, that covers the iris and pupil.)
Why Is Artificial Blue Light So Bad For Your Eyes?
Artificial blue light has a shorter wavelength, and higher energy, which is harder on your eyes. Because the waves are shorter, they appear to flicker more than the longer, weaker wavelengths. Flickering is the flashing effect that happens when the LED backlight controller of a monitor or digital display adjusts the brightness levels during the screen refresh process. Part of the problem stems from the fact that this process causes eye fatigue without the reader even noticing.
How Can You Avoid Or At Least Minimize The Effects Of Blue Light?
Did you know that more than half of U.S. adults spend a minimum of 6 hours a day, every day on phones, tablets and computers? That is why it is essential that you practice good habits to protect and keep your eyes safe from the effects of blue light. Because we use our electronic devices so much, we are gradually being exposed to more sources of this light for longer periods of time.
1. Use the 20/20/20 rule
Follow the 20-20-20 principle. This means look away from your computer or digital device every 20 minutes for 20 seconds focusing on an object about 20 feet away. This helps your eyes refocus and avoid computer eye strain.
2. Invest in Blue Light Filtering Lenses
Speak to the team at Matossian Eye Associates and get fitted with blue light filtering lenses to block the penetration of blue light from computers and digital devices. They are available in prescription and non-prescription eyewear.
3. Avoid using digital devices one hour before bed time
Don’t take phones and tablets to bed. The blue light from your phone’s display is more likely to keep you awake than the incandescent lamp on your bedside table.
Incorporate these tips to help keep your eyes healthy in our digital-reliant world.