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Blue Light and your Visual System

bluelightglasses

Sunlight contains all different colors of light.  Blue-violet light has the shortest wavelength and the highest energy output, and this is the wavelength that is emitted from electronic devices. Like UV light from the sun, blue light has benefits and dangers. Blue light is emitted from the sun and electronic devices. Visible blue light from electronic devices has a blueish hue and is noticeable. The amount emitted from these devices is a tiny fraction of what is emitted from the sun. While your eyes structures are efficient at blocking UV light, the eye structures are not able to block blue light, so this blue light hits the retina in the back of the eye.  The eye is not designed to function well with long-term and repeated exposure to blue light. People that spend a large amount of time in front of electronic devices every day OR that are outside all day can have negative consequences to their eye health, and considerable fatigue to the visual system and the blue wavelength is the culprit.bluelightglasses

There are treatments that can protect your eyes from too much blue light. The blue light with a shorter wavelength does scatter when it hits the eye which makes it harder for the eye to focus. For this reason, the eyes feel more strained and fatigued when working on electronic devices, even if you are wearing your proper power in your glasses or contact lenses.  The blue blocker treatments applied to lenses can greatly reduce scatter. In addition, there is some support that supplements with the over-the-counter antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein can aid in reducing glare, improvement in contrast sensitivity and improved recovery from bright light. These antioxidants are found highly concentrated in the macula and are also prevalent in green leafy vegetables (kale and spinach) and other green and yellow vegetables (and egg yolks).

As mentioned, some blue light is HELPFUL to our bodies. Blue –turquoise wavelength is helpful for the pupillary response and your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle). This wavelength can be used to treat mood disorders and in sleep therapy.bluelight

Overall, blue light is something you must be aware of. A certain amount is required for good health, but at unknown elevated levels, it can cause lack of sleep and destruction to the macula and permanent vision loss. Laboratory studies show that blue light does hit the retina, but scientists are not sure at what level damage occurs. If you spend hours on electronic devices on a daily basis, it is worth your investment to have a blue wavelength blocker. The result will be improved long-term health and more comfortable vision. We look forward to future studies on this topic and the recommendations that will result from it.