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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Mike Stuntz, MD is a fellow in refractive surgery at Kugler Vision in Omaha, Nebraska. Under the tutelage of former RSA president Dr. Lance Kugler, he continues to build on a solid refractive surgery experience during his residency at The University of Nebraska Medical Center. His career was sparked during numerous hours of refractive surgery training, observing firsthand the impact on the lives of patients and their often unrestrained joy at the improvement of their vision. He is excited about providing this quality of care to a wide range of patients.