Thanks to the abundance of mobile devices, digitized appliances, and LED electricals, blue light is now flooding into our lives. Researchers have correlated this high-energy visible light that emanates from the sun and your cell phone to disruptions in the body’s natural circadian rhythm.

Moreover, physicians also emphasize that increased exposure to blue light can lead to eye problems and other health issues. Read on to explore the effect of blue light on your eyes.

How Blue Light Can Affect the Eye

Approximately 1/3rd of visible light is considered as blue light. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light increases the risks of cataracts, eye problems, and even cancer. The largest source of blue light is the sun though we know little about  its effect on the eye.

What we do know is that blue light penetrates the cornea and reaches the retina instantly. As a result, it can lead to reduced contrast and digital eye strain. The fact that it can reach the retina may also increase your risk of macular degeneration.


Blue Light Can Be Beneficial in DayLight

With that being said, some exposure to blue light is essential especially in the day time to boost alertness, elevate mood and promote cognitive function. Light therapy which contains blue light is commonly used to treat seasonal affective mood disorder or SAD, a type of depression.

In addition, exposure to blue light in the day time is essential to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. Not enough exposure to sunlight in children can alter the growth and development of their eyes and increase their risk of short-sightedness as they grow.

Moreover, children who experience circadian disruption, they are more prone to diseases like Autism and ADHD. That is why it is essential to get natural sunlight during the day hours in order to sync your body and promote wakefulness.


When is Blue Light Bad?

In a recent paper published in the Journal Scientific Reports, researchers at the University of Toledo have begun to parse the process by which close or prolonged exposure to blue light can trigger irreversible damage in cells. But experts say there’s no reason to panic.

In the lab, when cells were exposed to blue light directly, the high-intensity waves triggered a chemical reaction in retinal molecules. The blue light causes the retinal to oxidize and release toxins that cause irreversible damage to the cells. However, more research is needed to ascertain and study its effects on the eye.


Nighttime Blue Light Exposure Can Be Bad

While the light of any kind can suppress sleep, blue light at night can hamper the secretion of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. As a result, it can shift your body’s circadian rhythm and lead to sleep problems along with a host of other health issues.

The problem is that we spend more than 90% of our time indoors. Even at night time, we expose ourselves to bright screens and blue light. This sends confusing signals to the brain, at night not enough melatonin is produced and in the day the chemicals that should boost our mood is also not produced enough.


Going Forward

In fact, today because of the hazardous effect of blue light in the night time, several gadgets have switched to turn orange at night time for this very reason. Also, circadian lighting has evolved to be used during the day time in schools, offices, and home in order to improve productivity and alertness.


How to Protect Yourself From Blue Light?

1. Use dim red lights for night time. It will help to maintain circadian rhythm and help you wind down for a peaceful night’s sleep

2. Avoid looking at bright screens before 2 to 3 hours before bed

3. If you work night shifts or use gadgets at night, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses. Else use apps that filter blue wavelength at night

4. Expose yourself to natural light during the day, open your windows, take a small break outdoor. This will help to boost your mood, keep you energized and also promote better sleep at night

Blue light has a good side and a dark side. The important thing is to understand when it can be effective and when it is harmful so that you can adjust your exposure towards this high-energy light.



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