A serious health concern.
Blue light eye strain is a serious eye health concern not yet fully understood by the vast majority. However, we do know exposure to blue light is much more common today, and that protecting our eyes is of the utmost importance for our long-term health.
Blue light enters our eyes naturally, as part of the full spectrum of sunlight. It’s present when the sky is clear, in the mountains and at sea, and around noon.
For several decades, we have continued to better understand the importance of protecting our skin and eyes from the ultraviolet rays of the sun with sunglasses and sunscreen.
Well, those same blue light rays can also be emitted from electronic devices, so protection from blue light eye strain while using electronic devices is just as important.
Blue light is one of the shortest, highest-energy wavelengths. As we increase our use of computer monitors, laptops, digital tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices, we incrementally put our eyes at greater risk for retinal damage due to enhanced exposure to blue light.
Blue light from digital devices creates a glaring effect on the eyes. This can create problems such as eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches and nearsightedness.
It’s important to understand what we can do to protect ourselves from long-term eye damage associated with blue light, especially as digital devices continue to fully consume our work life and leisure time.
Here are three important tips for helping reduce the risk of blue light eye strain.
1. Limit digital device screen time:
For many of us, it’s nearly impossible to limit our use of digital devices during working hours. However, it is possible to reduce the amount of time spent on electronic devices while at home. Digital devices are a source of entertainment and enjoyment, but over-use can increase significant opportunity for blue light eye strain and long-term eye health issues.
2. Limit use of digital devices just before bedtime:
One common cause of blue light eye strain is overexposure to blue light late at night. This can cause restlessness, insomnia and other sleep-related problems. A helpful tip: Set a time at least one hour prior to bedtime to turn off your electronic devices so you won’t be tempted to turn them back on before falling asleep.
3. Invest in a blue light screen filter for your digital devices:
Understanding that complete elimination of exposure to blue light and blue light eye strain is not possible, many researchers and scientists recommend the installation of digital screen filters to reduce the harmful effects of blue light exposure. Many scientific studies have shown these filters to be quite effective in the protection against the harmful effects of blue light.
Dr. Edward J. Huggett is a graduate of the Pediatric Vision Clinic of the University of Houston. He developed the Low Vision Clinic at the James Haley VA Medical Center Outpatient Clinic. And he previously served as the eye physician for Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays.
Dr. Huggett agrees that blue light screen filters are effective in blocking blue light exposure from digital devices.
“The blue light screen filter products that are available today truly do help to reduce the amount of blue light entering our eyes,” said Dr. Huggett. “These digital screen filters effectively guard against blue light eye strain."
“Anyone who uses digital screen filters and also monitors the amount of time spent on computers and other digital devices is undoubtedly making a difference when it comes to their long-term eye health.”
According to Dr. Huggett, reducing blue light eye strain today significantly reduces the opportunity for serious eye issues later in life.
“Blue light is one of the most significantly under-diagnosed medical problems in generations,” he said. “Fortunately, we are able to take a proactive role in making a difference in our own eye health.”