Natural blue light is everywhere around you. The natural blue light is what makes the sky look blue. Blue light regulates your wake and sleep cycles as well as elevates your mood and boosts alertness. Artificial blue light can be found on computer screens, flat-screen televisions, energy-efficient light bulbs, and LED lights. This artificial blue light can be harmful to your eyes and too much can take a toll on your health. Blue has the shortest wavelength on the visible light spectrum, which means it’s harder for your eyes. Since the waves are shorter they tend to flicker more than weaker and longer wavelengths. The flickering is the flashing effect that occurs when the LED back light controller of a monitor adjusts the brightness level during the display refreshing. This will cause eye fatigue without you even noticing.
How Does Blue Light Affect Your Sleep?
One of the immediate ways that blue light affects your health is by altering the circadian rhythm, or the sleep and wake cycle. This is a process that causes the body to feel tired around the same time every evening and signals that it’s time to rest. A hormone named melatonin mediates this process and when the brain produces it, melatonin encourages us to fall asleep. Blue light has a stimulating effect to boost mood and alertness. During the day, this can be helpful if it is used in moderation and it's from a natural source, such as the sun. However exposure to light before bed can suppress the release of melatonin. A lack of melatonin will lead to a poor and irregular sleep cycle and insomnia. Energy levels during the waking hours can also suffer. Sleeping problems then contribute to more health problems, such as depression, heart disease, and obesity.
How Does Blue Light Affect Your Eyes?
Blue light can also cause digital eye strain. This is why eyes feel sore or itchy after a long day on the computer. When the pigment in the retinas is exposed to higher intensity light, just like blue light, free radicals are formed, which cause oxidative damage and photo-receptor death. Damage from blue light is cumulative so the more time you spend in front of a screen without protection, the more likely you will experience problems later on.
Getting Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Blue light blocking glasses have different filters in the lenses that absorb or block blue light. This means you can use these glasses when looking at a screen in order to reduce exposure to blue light. Blue light glasses can be particularly helpful for those who can’t cut down on some of their screen time, such as those whose job is it to work on a computer all day. While it’s beneficial to cut down on screen time before bed, if you want to look at your devices and still produce melatonin, blue light blocking glasses can still be helpful. Many of the blue light blocking glasses you can buy help reduce the eye strain. Most are meant to be worn throughout the day while you are working on the computer and at night to prevent you from staying awake from the blue light screens.
Prescription and Non Prescription Blue light Glasses
There are both prescription and non-prescription glasses available. When you get prescription glasses, the lenses will have the same blue light blocking filters but you will still have your prescription in order to see. There are different lenses that filter out blue light. Some filter more blue light than others so be sure to ask your eye doctor what he or she recommends.
You should consider getting blue light blocking glasses for a number of different reasons. This can include you spending long hours in front of a computer or digital device each day, you regularly experience symptoms of digital eye strain, you are having trouble falling asleep, you do work at night, or you are concerned about your long term eye health.
There are plenty of blue light blocking glasses out there to choose from when it's time to buy. Many people don’t like the yellow look of the lenses and when you get prescription blue light blocking glasses your lenses won’t be yellow. Regular blue light blocking glasses may also come with some additional magnification if you need it.