Why Does Blue Light Hurt Eyes?
- Pieter Maas
How harmful is blue light? – Blue light exposure from screens is small compared to the amount of exposure from the sun. However, there is concern about long-term effects of screen exposure from digital devices. This is especially true when it comes to too much screen time and screens too close to the eyes.
- According to the Vision Council, 80% of American adults use digital devices more than two hours per day.
- Nearly 67% use two or more devices at the same time.
- Fifty-nine percent have symptoms of digital eye strain.
- Since our eyes are not good at blocking blue light, nearly all visible blue light passes through the front of the eye (cornea and lens) and reaches the retina, the cells that convert light for the brain to process into images.
Constant exposure to blue light over time could damage retinal cells and cause vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration, It can also contribute to cataracts, eye cancer and growths on the clear covering over the white part of the eye.
- According to a vision study by the National Eye Institute, children are more at risk than adults because their eyes absorb more blue light from digital devices.
- People also tend to blink less when using digital devices, which contributes to dry eye and eye strain.
- Other common signs of eye strain include headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain.
According to the Vision Council, 27% to 35% of Americans reported experiencing one of these symptoms after using digital devices.
Can your eyes heal from blue light damage?
Blue light is one of the components or colors that make up the white light (sunlight) of the sun. Early research shows that excess blue light exposure can increase the risk of eye diseases, such as retinal damage and macular degeneration, Your retina and the center of your retina (macula) help you see clearly.
- An in vivo study on animals showed damage to the retina and macula caused by blue light.
- So, in humans, blue light may cause permanent vision problems.
- However, some experts think that more research is needed, especially on humans, to confirm these findings.
- If research proves that blue light damages the retina and macula, the eye conditions that develop as a result are generally irreversible.
Treatments can only delay vision impairments or improve vision to only some extent and stop these eye conditions from worsening. Blue light from electronics is also linked to problems, such as cataracts, Experts are divided on the opinion that blue light damages the retina or causes macular degeneration.
While some recommend using blue light blocking glasses that block the blue light when you look at the digital screens, some believe that these are not effective means. There are reports of people who have seen improvement in their eye problems, such as eye strain after using these special glasses. However, robust evidence to support this is lacking.
Computer vision syndrome, also referred to as digital eye strain, is caused by increased exposure to blue light emitted by a digital screen. It affects about half of all computer users and can be reversed with simple steps and eye drops. Symptoms include:
Dry eyes Irritated eyes Watering of eyes Blurred vision Eyestrain Headache
Other effects of excess blue light exposure include: Poor sleep : Blue light interferes with your biological clock ( circadian rhythm ), which regulates your sleep -wake cycle. Exposure to blue light close to bedtime at night disrupts the circadian rhythm. As a result, your body does not get the signal that it is time for you to sleep. Increased risk of disorders in children, such as:
Depression Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD ) Obesity
Does night mode reduce blue light?
Using Night Mode on Your Device – First, let’s discuss using your phone or tablet’s built-in night mode. Apple’s Night Shift is basically a display setting that allows users to view a light-colored text against a dark screen, giving your eyes a rest from the glaring white background.
Does dark mode reduce blue light?
Is Night Mode on My Phone or Computer Better for My Eyes? – Although blue light does not cause any damage to the eye, decreasing blue light exposure and limiting screen time and brightness can help people sleep better and feel more comfortable. “There are many important benefits to blue light exposure.
- Various studies explore how a healthy dose of blue light could help maintain mental performance, decrease nearsightedness in children, etc.,” said Raj K.
- Maturi MD, an ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the Academy.
- Although blue light exposure is important to some degree, it is true that sleep cycles may be disrupted if not handled in moderation at night.
Studies show young people are particularly susceptible to blue light affecting sleep, Luckily, our technology has adapted. A simple way to avoid both sleep disruption and eye strain is to turn on night mode on our iPhone or Android devices.” If putting down your phone or computer one to two hours before bed and/or switching to night mode settings does not eliminate eye strain or problems sleeping, talk to an ophthalmologist to find out if any other conditions could be contributing.
How can I read at night without blue light?
5. Use smart lights – Our gadgets aren’t the only devices that emit blue light. The normal lightbulbs in our lamps do, too. One way to rectify this–and enable you to read that book with a safe amount of light–is to use warm-colored lightbulbs in your lamps at night.
Of course, swapping out the bulbs in your lamps night after night would be a pain, but thankfully there’s now a wide array of smart lights–from the Philips Hue line to LIFX bulbs–which make it easy to configure the type of light. With a smart lighting system you can set the lights to automatically adjust from a brighter blue light to a warmer color a few hours before bed.
The best part about these smart lights is you can program your settings into the app once and you never have to worry about remembering to adjust your lighting again.
How much blue light do glasses block?
Consider the Lenses – When you begin shopping around for the right product, keep in mind that all blue light blocking glasses are not created equal. Each product varies in how much blue light it blocks and filters, which makes it necessary to know the right type of item to purchase.
Select lenses that have a yellow tint, which is known to be more effective when compared to blue light glasses with clear lenses. Non-prescription and prescription blue light blocking glasses can only block five to 40 percent of blue light between a spectrum of 400 and 495 nm, which may not be as sufficient for those who spend several hours on the computer each day.
Is bluelight harmful to your eyes?
Lenses that block more than 40 percent of blue light begin to have a yellow tint. Purchase glasses that clearly label how much blue light is blocked to ensure you can use an item that will be effective in protecting the cornea and retina from damage. Yellow lens blue blockers can filter 45 to 75 percent of blue light that is between 400 to 495 nm.
- These glasses are ideal for those who spend most of the day indoors under fluorescent lights or staring at the computer screen while working.
- Orange lens blue blockers are also available, which block up to 100 percent of blue light of a spectrum of 400 to 495 nm.
- The glasses should not be worn during the day, which can disrupt the sleep cycle and can affect how your brain functions if you’re never exposed to blue light throughout the day.
The strong lenses are more ideal for those who spend a significant amount of time on their phone, computer, or watching television at night to ensure that melatonin can continue to be produced, which helps the body to fall asleep when it’s time for bed.
How do I protect my eyes from LED lights?
So, how can I protect my vision from LED exposure? – The ANSES report recommends buying “warm white” LED home lighting, limiting your exposure to LED sources with a high concentration of blue light, and avoiding LED screens before bedtime. They went on to recommend that car manufacturers limit the luminous intensity of vehicle headlights, some of which are too bright.
- In fact, the American Medical Association (AMA) also encourages road engineers to use LED lights that are 3000 Kelvin or lower, so as to minimize glare.
- It should be noted that the ANSES report cast doubt on the efficacy of many “blue-blocking” screens, filters, and sunglasses being marketed, saying that their protective ability varies widely.
In fact, a 2017 review of the medical literature looked at the benefits and harm coming from blue-blocking lenses marketed to protect against phototoxicity and found “a lack of high-quality evidence” to support their use “for the general population to improve visual performance or sleep quality, alleviate eye fatigue or conserve macular health.” The Bottom line is don’t run out and spend a ton of money on fancy blue-blocking lenses.