by Caroline Cauchi, OD
Your experienced optometrist in La Mesa, CA educates patients on what is blue light and how to protect vision from negative effects like eye strain.
What is “blue light”?
Sunlight contains rays we can see (the visible spectrum – orange, yellow, green, blue, etc.) and invisible rays (also known as ultraviolet). These ultraviolet rays have a short wave length and very high energy. They are responsible for sunburns and skin cancer as well as eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. There is a type of ray that lays just between the visible and ultraviolet. These rays are known as high energy blue rays. We know that one source of these blue rays is the sun. Some people are not aware that electronic devices are another important source of blue rays.
What can high energy blue light do to you?
Similar to ultraviolet rays, blue ight can damage your retina (specifically your macula). It can also cause serious eye fatigue because the rays are more scattered and can flicker. This isn’t a problem if you are using electronic devices for very short periods. However, many people stare at their phones for long periods of time, which can cause eye strain. There is also early evidence that this blue light may disturb normal sleep pattern. Undisturbed rest is essential for good health and a strong immune system.
Is there scientific proof that high energy blue light can harm me?
Yes, there is scientific proof that blue light can be harmful. However, long-term controlled studies are currently being conducted to better document the level of harm. Even 10 years ago, few people believed lutein made any difference to eye health. As more research presented on the subject, the nonbelievers who weren’t providing supplements quickly realized their mistake.
Can we afford to wait until we have absolute long-term proof about high energy blue light? Your eye doctor in La Mesa, CA says no. It is recommended to patients that your vision is protected every way possible, even if the research is not complete.
Am I at risk?
Yes, everyone who uses an electronic device (laptop, smart phone, computers, LED lights) is at risk. The more time you spend on these devices, the higher the risk. Parents should monitor the amount of time their children spend glued to electronic devices because it can become problematic to their vision.
How can you protect yourself and your family?
- Ask your family members to discontinue using electronic devices 1 hour before they go to bed.
- Request that a high energy blue filter be added to your glasses. If you don’t normally wear glasses, get a no prescription pair with a blue filter. Remember to do the same for any other family members, especially kids.
- It is also recommended to teach family members to take breaks and keep the electronic devices at least 18” from their eyes.
- There are several different types of blue filters, so ask your eye doctor in La Mesa CA what they recommend for you.
Learn more about blue light protection by calling us at (619) 461-4913. You can also submit an online contact form while you are here on our website.