As all of us are constantly exposed to various gadgets on a daily basis, it is inevitable that we are all very vulnerable to the unforeseen harmful effects that they may cause.
The health dangers that resulted from the emitted blue light of these technologies has been an emerging concern that needs to be looked at. It is important to have a great understanding of this matter so we could protect ourselves and avoid their damaging effects to our health.
What is Blue light?
Blue light is a visible light which is a part of a spectum that can be seen by the human eye.
Of all colors, blue light has a very short wavelength of 380-500 nanometers which makes it one of the shortest and highest-energy wavelengths.
It represents 1/3 of all visible light so blue light is pretty much present in almost all places.
Wavelengths are measured in nanometers (nm).
1 nanometer = 1 billionth of a meter
AMD: Age-related Macular Degeneration
Blue light is everywhere. In its naturally occuring form, this can be found from the light coming from the sun. With its shorter wavelength and higher energy that collides with air molecules,blue light scatters everywhere as the sun rays travel through the atmosphere. This is what makes the sky look blue.
It can also be found on artificial light sources like flourescents and LED lights as well as digital devices such as mobile phones, tablets, desktop computers, laptops and flat screen televisions.
Where can Blue Light be found?
What are the effects of blue light on our health?
As mentioned, blue light also comes from natural source and this type of blue light gives us health benefits as opposed to the harmful effects that are attributed to the blue light emitted by various technologies. To further understand the different effects of blue light, below is a list of its beneficial and harmful effects on our health.
Blue light emitted from digital devices is enough to influence and throw off our circadian rhythm. Whenever there is a disruption of our body’s natural rhythm, that’s when a lot of health issues start to arise such as:
As less light enters our eyes, it serves as a cue. Our circadian rhythm is being maintained because less light is coming through that internal clock within us that says less light is coming through, we are going to rest soon. It also serves as a cue for our brain to release a hormone called melatonin. And with much exposure to blue light, it has been shown that it suppreses melatonin secretion which is a hormone produced at night that helps your body to prepare to sleep. And melatonin isn’t just linked to poor sleep. Scientist have also managed to find the correlation between melatonin deprivation and conditions like:
Studies show that:
2 hours of exposure to light from a self-luminous device (tablet, smartphone, etc.) can suppress melatonin by 23%
Second study in 2015 showed that adolescents are more sensitive than adults and just 1 hour of exposure suppresed melatonin by 23% and 2 hours of exposure reduced it by 33%
Our brain uses blue light to differentiate day and night and boost alertness. Spending time on phone and other gadgets at night fools your body into thinking that it should keep you awake. What keeps you awake and alert during the day can severely affect the quality of your sleep at night.
How does blue light affect the eyes?
The blue light from devices is worse. LED devices emit much stronger blue light than we get from the sun. Spending hours staring at the screen can cause eye damage and fatigue. This is due to the lower energy waves being absorbed by the cornea, the eye’s outer membrane. Blue light goes straight through because of it’s high energy and slowly deteriorate the retina.
It’s all on the phones, tablets,laptops and any gadget with an illuminated display. They all use blue LED’s because they are energy efficient and cheaper to produce.
Studies suggest that over time, exposure to blue light can cause serious long time damage to the eye such as:
1. Digital Eyestrain
– Blue light from computer screens and various gadgets could decrease contrast which leads to digital eyestrain. Temporary discomfort can encompass a range of ocular and visual symptoms. Estimate suggests its prevalence may be 50% among computer users.
2. Retina Damage
3. Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Constant exposure to blue light is inevitable nowadays especially coming from computer screens, tablest smart phones and other mobile devices. However, here are few ways to decrease exposure from it.:
- Limit daily screentime.
- Use blue light filters for smart phones, tablets and computer screens. They can decrease the amount of blue light emitted from such devices that could reach retina of your eyes.
- Keep your distance.
- Take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.
- Use anti-radiation / anti-blue light glasses. They help block blue light and ease computer digital eye strain.
How can you protect yourself from blue light?