The Basics of Blue Light
What is blue light?
All light is composed of electromagnetic particles that move in waves of varying lengths and powers, always emitting energy. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the amount of energy. Wavelengths are assigned different colors and categories, and blue light, with one of the shortest, high-energy wavelengths, lies within the grouping of visible light that we can see.
Where is blue light?
Did you ever wonder why we see blue skies? When the light from the sun journeys through our atmosphere, blue wavelengths crash into air molecules, causing the blue light to disperse.
In fact, blue light surrounds us at all times, shining from the sun, electronic devices, fluorescent lighting, digital screens and LED lights. In our high-tech world, most of us spend hours per day gazing at a digital screen – being exposed to loads of artificial blue light.
Is blue light good or bad?
Both answers are correct.
Natural blue light from the sun helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, setting the times for sleeping and waking. It also jumpstarts your energy levels, boosts your moods, fortifies your memory and speeds your reactions.
Artificial blue light, as well as too much natural blue light, is an entirely different story. Blue wavelengths, also known as “High Energy Visible” (HEV) wavelengths, flicker a lot, which generates a glare that can impact visual clarity and reduce visual contrast. After hours in front of a computer screen, this flickering often leads to headaches, eyestrain and general fatigue.
In addition, your eyes are built with natural filters against many damaging elements, yet these filters do not protect adequately against blue light that emanates from the sun or from artificial sources. Prolonged exposure to blue light rays may contribute to macular degeneration or cause retinal damage, both of which threaten your vision.
We are privileged to live in an advanced age at the turn of the 21st century. Electronic devices are everywhere in our world today and make our everyday interactions with the world around us ever easier, safer and more convenient. Although many positive effects have resulted from these devices in our everyday lives, a darker, more dangerous side exists to all of this progress and convenience. Blue light, also known as high energy visible light, is emitted by many of these electronics, and is a serious threat to eye health which was previously unknown and irrelevant in generations past.
Living in such an advanced age, each of us, on average, spends roughly 25 hours every week staring at the screen of one of our electronic devices. To put this in perspective, that means that each of us spend more than one entire day, without sleeping, in front of devices that emit blue light that is proven to do serious damage to our visual system. Eyestrain, headaches and fatigue are common side effects. Even more alarming, recent studies indicate that blue light exposure has the potential to increase risk of macular degeneration significantly over time. Those with a history of macular degeneration are at special risk, as well as children, due to large pupils and shorter arms, which cause them to hold electronic devices closer to their faces, both of which allow more blue light to penetrate the eye.
Fortunately, cutting-edge technological solutions to this growing epidemic exist.
Patients who spend hours on electronic devices are at increased risk of eyestrain and glare, macular degeneration or problems falling asleep at night. For more information about blue light and how to protect yourself, contact your eye doctor at Overland Optical Family Eye Care today.
BluTech Lenses are special lenses specifically designed to selectively filter out blue light, enhancing visual comfort and minimizing eyestrain. These lenses boast a special state-of-the-art filtering agent within the lens material itself that duplicates elements in the eye, called ocular lens pigment and melanin, which the body naturally produces on its own, and which help filter out just the right amount of blue light entering the eye to protect against unfettered blue light penetration, while allowing proper visual contrast.
Recharge is another cutting edge option to help cut down on the harmful effects of blue light. HOYA is the advanced eye care company that produces these lenses, which reflect up to 30% of harmful blue light away from the eye. Between the filtering effect of BluTech and the reflective properties of the Recharge coating, a large percentage of otherwise very harmful blue light never reaches the eye. This is an extremely important element in the long term health of your eyes.
In addition, Conant Lens Inc. has recently launched a new ophthalmic lens material (UV++®) that helps protect eyes from both ultraviolet rays and blue light. UV++® is made from a blue block material which reduces blue light.