Blue Light - What is it? Where is it? Why is it a Problem?
There’s a lot of recent hype about blue light, but most people aren’t familiar with the basics of this visible light. Our eye care experts at Optic Family Eyecare, in Plainview, NY, will enlighten you about the definition of blue light and the important reasons to protect yourself from it.
What is Blue Light?
All light consists of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves, constantly releasing energy. The waves vary in power and length, and shorter wavelengths are associated with higher amounts of energy. Wavelengths are categorized by color, and blue light has one of the shortest (highest energy) wavelengths of all visible light.
Where is Blue Light?
Blue light surrounds us constantly. The sun shines down, sending natural blue light through our atmosphere. As it crashes into air molecules, this blue light disperses.
In addition to the sun’s natural blue light, artificial blue light is emitted from fluorescent lighting, electronic devices, LED lights, and digital screens. With so much technology filling our high-tech lifestyles, most of us spend hours per day being exposed to huge amounts of artificial blue light.
Why Is Blue Light a Problem?
Truth be told, moderate amounts of the sun’s natural blue light can actually be beneficial for your health. Natural blue light helps to regulate circadian rhythm, which sets your body’s times for sleeping and waking. Blue light can also ramp up your energy level, lift your spirits, speed physical reaction times, and strengthen your memory skills.
Digital Eyestrain Syndrome
However, too much exposure to any form of blue light (natural or artificial) carries a slew of potential risks. Blue wavelengths flicker, which creates a glare that may affect visual comfort and clarity. After a long time in front of a computer screen that gives off artificial blue light, the flickering can lead to many disturbing symptoms. Digital Eyestrain Syndrome is a common diagnosis that we make in our Plainview, NY, office. The symptoms include dry eyes, irritated eyes, headaches, blurred vision, neck and back pain, and difficulty focusing between near and far.
Eyes are designed with melanin, which acts a natural filter against harmful blue light. Yet this filter doesn’t provide sufficient protection against overexposure to blue light. Additionally, we lose melanin as we age. Recent studies have shown that all the blue light hitting our eyes is contributing to a higher rate of macular degeneration and retinal damage. These ocular conditions threaten the health of your eyes and can lead to future vision loss.
Health Hazards of Blue Light
In addition to damaging the lasting health of your eyes and vision, blue light can also have a widespread effect on overall body health. Some risks include:
- Disruption of your circadian rhythm, which causes insomnia and sleep problems
- Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity
- Higher incidence of certain forms of cancer
- Increased risk of depression
If you spend a large quantity of each day absorbing blue light, it’s time to schedule an appointment in our Plainview office. Our Plainview eye doctors stay up-to-date with medical advances and contemporary issues. We care about your eyes and overall health, and we’ll treat you with the most progressive approach to protect you against the dangers of blue light.