Blue light has a dark side.
Evidence continues to pile up in support of steps to reduce blue light over-exposure to protect the health and well-being of children.
Researchers around the world have produced significant amounts of data that indicate the dangers that blue light pose to people. A recent article in the Harvard Health Letter published by Harvard Medical School, for example, is headlined “Blue light has a dark side.” The article describes the effects of exposure to blue light at night as emitted from electronics and energy-efficient lighting.
Blue light is a high-energy light that is produced by the sun, as well as artificial sources such as incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, LED and full-spectrum bulbs and tubes.
Blue light is everywhere, but while it cannot be entirely avoided, people who are regular users of computers, mobile devices and artificial lighting are at risk if they do not reduce their blue light exposure.
Children are not immune from the risks. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports one in four school-age children have eye problems that can be corrected if detected early enough. Many of the problems are associated with blue light exposure.
“Parents who take steps to reduce blue light over-exposure can spare their children from the potential risk of eye damage, hyperactivity, headaches, moodiness and other ailments,” said Dr. Edward J. Huggett, a former team eye physician for the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball club. He trained at the Pediatric Vision Clinic of the University of Houston and developed the Low Vision Clinic at the James Haley VA Medical Center Outpatient Clinic.
Winning the battle against blue light exposure.
Fortunately for concerned parents, physician-developed products that reduce blue light exposure are available today and are readily obtainable. The solutions include computer and mobile device screen filters and study lighting. Both products have been shown to reduce blue light exposure for children and to mitigate harmful effects that over-exposure is known to cause.
The battle to reduce blue light over-exposure won’t be won simply by avoiding digital screens. Parents who are aware of the need to reduce blue light exposure also know they cannot simply ban access by their children to computer screens. They are essential in learning as our world increasingly relies on information and activities served and performed on digital screens.
Dr. Huggett’s practice has included referrals from physicians with concerns about eye problems in their juvenile patients.
“We often diagnosed problems that were associated with blue light over-exposure,” Dr. Huggett said. “In today’s world where study environments and computer screens are emitting high energy visible light, it is very important to take steps to reduce blue light exposure.”
Available today are products that parents can install at home to reduce blue light. They include lamps with blue light reduction bulbs, lights and diffusers, and filters to install over computer and mobile device screens to reduce blue light emissions.
BLR (blue light reduction) lamps are perfect for children’s study areas. They provide ample lighting without glare. Parents can obtain BLR lighting in desktop and floor stand configurations and with flexible extensions that enable users to shine light from a variety of angles.
Also available are halo computer lights, so named because their bulbs are halo-shaped. They come in swing-arm and floor-stand models and provide light that is glare-free for reading and screen viewing.
“Studies have shown that BLR lighting can mitigate risks for eye damage in children and increase their attention span – resulting in more and better studying,” Dr. Huggett said.
Special filters for mobile phones, tablets and laptop and desktop computer screens are easily installed to reduce blue light exposure.
“Parents who are concerned about potentially harmful factors affecting their children’s vision and which can lead to other disorders can take a positive step toward prevention when they act to reduce blue light exposure,” Dr. Huggett said.