Blue Light From Electronics: Is It Harming Your Eyes?
What Is Blue Light?
Unless you have this post printed out and you’re in the dark, you are being affected by blue light right now. From smartphones to televisions and digital displays to fluorescent lighting, we are surrounded by blue light everywhere. Before electronic devices, the only source of blue light was from sunlight. In today’s world, we are all consumed by devices that produce blue light.
It’s safe to say that blue light will be around as long as the sun is still shining, and if you’re like most of us, you’ve been exposed to it for many years and will be for many more to come.
The Effects of Blue Light on Your Eyes
So, we have established that we will virtually never escape from blue light. What does that mean for your eyes?
Here are some of the effects that you may experience from blue light:
- Eye strain: Have you ever noticed an intense strain on your eyes from excessive exposure to your phone or computer? That is likely the result of blue light. Digital eye strain (also called computer vision syndrome) can interrupt focus and cause pain.
- Dryness: Staying locked on a screen for an extended period of time can leave your eyes yearning for moisture. In general, the light from your devices can cause discomfort over time if you don’t use the 20-20-20 rule, but the overall dryness of your eyes can increase as well.
- Sleeplessness: At some point, you have probably experienced a night of tossing and turning without actually resting. Your electronic devices could be to blame. Blue light exposure can suppress the secretion of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep.
Feeling Blue? Unplug and Recharge
The bottom line is, taking a break from blue light exposure is a good move if these symptoms are frequent. Try closing your eyes for a few seconds at a time, moving around to increase blood flow, and drinking water to replenish your body – your eyes will thank you!
The blue light from electronics isn’t doing any long-term harm to your eyes. Research shows that the light from electronic devices like our phones, tablets, and computers is not strong enough to cause any damage to the retina.
What about the blue light from the sun? Always protect your eyes from direct sunlight. The UV rays from the sun are very strong and potentially harmful if you neglect to protect your eyes. We wrote a blog post all about protecting your eyes from UV rays here.
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Lance Kugler, MD, is a specialist in vision correction surgery and CEO of Kugler Vision. A proud Omaha native, he is passionate about improving lives through clear vision. Dr. Kugler serves on several national boards, and his practice is recognized internationally as a center of excellence. Dr. Kugler is one of the original founders of the Refractive Surgery Alliance, an international organization comprised of over 350 of the world’s leading vision correction surgeons; he also served as its first president. In 2019, Dr. Kugler was selected as a TEDx speaker, and delivered a talk in Omaha about the worldwide epidemic of nearsightedness and refractive solutions. Dr. Kugler is an associate professor of Refractive Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Truhlsen Eye Institute, has been published in many medical journals, and participates in numerous clinical studies to advance the field of vision correction surgery. Dr. Kugler and his wife are proud parents to five active kids. When he has a spare moment, he enjoys skiing, tennis, travel, and fine coffee.