Photo by Youssef Sarhan on Unsplash
What is Blue Light? Health blogs, news articles and scientific studies published on the web have helped increase people's awareness about it, and it’s usually painted in a negative light. However, not everyone knows that it has both benefits and dangers. Research on how blue light affects us in the long term is still being conducted but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be wary.
In this digital world where our eyes are constantly glued to a screen, it is important that we know everything we can about blue light because we are always exposed to it. Here, we will list the facts that we know about blue light so far.
Blue Light Is All Around
Yes blue light is everywhere. It’s one of the colors in the visible light spectrum - think Roy G Biv.
The sun is the primary source of blue light, but it also comes from most modern digital devices:
- Flat screen TVs
- PC monitors
- Ebook readers
Even your fluorescent and LED lighting emits blue light. Sure, they’re not as intense as the sun but think about how long you’re exposed to at least one of these everyday.
Blue Light, Blue Sky
Why is an orange well, orange? It’s because the peel of the fruit absorbs all the other spectra of light except for orange. So orange light is reflected back outwards and that’s what gives the fruit its color. Why all the fuss about blue light? Well, it’s because it has a high energy value (HEV). Blue light from the sun strikes the tiny water and air molecules in the atmosphere with such high energy that it gets reflected back the most. That’s the reason for a blue sky on a clear day.
Blue Light Gets In Your Eyes
Our eyes have evolved to block harmful radiation such as UV rays from the sun. The anterior parts of our eyes - the cornea and lens - are so good at blocking UV radiation from the sun that only about 1% of it reaches the sensitive retina at the back. However, they are not effective at blocking blue light. Just like ultraviolet rays, exposure to large amounts of HEV blue light can increase your risk of macular degeneration which can lead to permanent eye damage and vision loss in the long run.
Other effects of blue light on our eyes include blurred vision, dry and irritated eyes, and head and back pains. These symptoms are part of the condition called digital eye strain and it affects about 70% of adults who use digital devices regularly.
Blue Light Keeps You Up
Too much night time exposure to blue light can disrupt our circadian rhythm or wake-sleep cycle. It has been proven to suppress the production of melatonin which is needed for a good night’s sleep. It tricks our brain to think that it’s still daytime when it should be settling down to rest. That’s why it’s hard to sleep when you’ve been looking at a screen in as little as 2 hours before bedtime. And because you don’t get enough sleep or aren’t as rested, it affects your productivity the next day and could lead to other diseases down the road.
Blue Light Isn’t All Bad
Now don’t go swearing off blue light altogether. As mentioned earlier, it does have its benefits. With the right amount of exposure, it can improve alertness and cognitive function. It can also boost memory and has been known to elevate your mood. With all that said, we still can't discount the fact that blue light can do more harm if we can’t control our exposure to it. One way we can prevent over exposure is through the use of an anti blue light filter for your device. Check out our anti blue light screen protectors for iPhone and IPad.