The importance of blue light
What is blue light?
We’ve all found ourselves tired and irritable during the workday. Sitting for long hours staring at our computer screens, can leave us tense, unfocused and sometimes with a pounding headache. And it’s not just because your co-worker Dave asked you to buy cupcakes from his kid’s school bake sale for the ninth time – it’s also from something called blue light. Blue light may sound pretty innocent, but without using some kind of blue light blocker, it's actually pretty bad for us.
What we see – the visible spectrum of light – consists of a range of colors, from blue-violet on the lower end to red on the higher end. Light on the lowest end of the visible spectrum has the shortest wavelengths; light on the highest end has the longest wavelengths. Since shorter wavelengths emit more energy, blue light is also known as High Energy Visible (HEV) light. This is what’s filtered out by blue light glasses.uts everything out of focus. Hold it at a proper distance and it can be examined and properly classified. Throw it at your feet and it can be seen in its true setting, just one more tiny bump on the pathway of life.” – Celia Luce “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard “I’m not telling you it is going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it” – Art Williams Motivational Sayings – Attitude
Should we be concerned about blue light exposure?
The short answer is yes. Blue light is a bit like salt, our bodies need it but our modern diet of processed food has us eating enough to make it harmful. So while exposure to blue light does have some positive benefits, our modern digital world has overexposed us to it. Blue light glasses help reduce harmful overexposure.
Blue light regulates our circadian rhythm, also known as the sleep/wake cycle. Basically, it's how our bodies know when to go to sleep and when to wake up. It’s not just our coffee and energy drinks that perk us up in the morning; blue light from the sun is responsible for increased energy and wakefulness. Sounds good right? Well here comes the negative – our habit of checking our emails before bed or falling asleep in front of the TV can disrupt our natural sleep patterns by unnaturally exposing us to blue light at night. Wearing blue light blocking glasses is an effective way to reclaim a good night’s sleep.
How does blue light affect our sleep?
There are a lot of factors in our busy lives that can affect our sleep. Obvious things like stress over a presentation or an exam, worrying about money, babies crying or cats throwing up hairballs can cause sleeplessness or interrupt a good night’s rest. What we may not realize is that exposure to blue light can be a sneaky cause as well. Blue light suppresses the body’s secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Though blue light is present in the sun’s rays during the day, it is less pronounced around dusk, which is why sunsets tend to appear red. The lack of blue light in the evening allows the body to produce melatonin freely, signaling that it is time to prepare for sleep. Exposure to blue light from electronic devices or artificial lighting after the sun has gone down can disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep or get a good night’s rest.
Medical studies suggest that prolonged exposure to blue light may cause permanent damage to our eyes. We've all experienced digital eye strain from staring at a computer screen for long periods of time. And these days it's even more pronounced, as we spend a significant portion of our workday looking at our smartphones, tablets, computer screens. Even while relaxing, we play video games, read on a tablet, or watch TV. All of these activities expose us to artificial blue light.
Over time, our eyes begin to feel tired. It can also cause pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache, or sometimes even double vision.
how does blue light cause eye strain?
Our eyes are not built for our modern digital world. The eye's cornea and lens aren't good at filtering HEV light from reaching our retina, the thin layer of light-receiving tissue that lines the back of the eye. Over time, this can cause damage to its light-sensitive cells. As we age, this damage can make us more susceptible to eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Young children are even more sensitive to blue light exposure since the lens of their eyes are even more transparent than adults, allowing more HEV light to pass through
Some helpful tips.
To protect your eyes and maintain a healthy sleep schedule, you should:
Expose yourself to natural daylight
Whenever possible, take frequent breaks from viewing devices
Protect your eyes in daylight using sunglasses
Avoid the use of digital devices right before bedtime
Protect your eyes from excess artificial blue light with blue light blocking computer glasses
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