Increasing screen time poses danger.
As computer, TV and phone time continues to increase, parents of children are well advised to take steps to protect eyes from computer screen hazards. Wise steps include installing blue light screen filters, limiting time spent in front of screens and managing studying and entertainment time so those activities occur earlier in the day rather than later.
Computer screens, and the screens of smartphones, iPads and other digital devices, display bright, vivid images. One of the appealing features of such devices is the clarity of the pictures they project, which is due in part to the high-energy, short wavelength blue light they emit.
So why worry about finding ways to protect eyes from computer screen viewing?
The reason is that with so much exposure — and it is increasing for virtually every segment of our population — anything that we can do to protect eyes from computer screen overexposure is a step in the right direction.
Medical studies show that exposure to blue light poses risks — hence the need to find ways to protect eyes from computer screen viewing. Children are particularly vulnerable to ailments that are linked to overexposure because they spend a relatively large percentage of time viewing computer screens. In addition, still-growing young eyes tend to absorb more blue light from computer screens than the eyes of adults.
It’s not just video games, texting and social media that are the culprits of blue light problems. Even “good” activities such as studying and reading require steps to protect eyes from computer screen emissions. With the growing popularity of tablets for school reading and digital devices for entertainment and communication, the need to protect eyes from computer screen activities is not going to diminish.
Potential problems caused by overexposure.
Eye doctors and other medical professionals cite the potential problems that can be caused by blue light overexposure. They include eye strain and more serious eye damage, including macular degeneration later in life.
Problems associated with blue light emissions from computer screens have even prompted the medical community to coin the name “computer vision syndrome.” CVS, as it’s commonly called, encompasses a variety of eye problems attributed to viewing computer screens over extended periods of time.
In addition, doctors and researchers say, blue light is known to cause disruption in sleep – actually reducing the total minutes people sleep – because it alters our bodies’ clocks. Blue light overexposure, especially in the hours before we go to bed, can cause a reaction that reduces our bodies’ secretion of the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy.
The need to protect eyes from computer screen viewing should be addressed early in life. But the need does not go away as we mature. Doctors point out that the potential for blue light problems is likely to increase due to the growing reliance throughout our personal and professional lives on computers and other digital devices. They also are concerned that the problems created by blue light overexposure early in life, while the eyes and brains are still developing, may linger into later years.
The good news for those who wish to protect eyes from computer screen problems is that the recommendations for addressing the issue are relatively easy and convenient.
Doctor-developed medical-grade blue light filters are readily available in static cling designs that are easy to install on the screens of computers, tablets and smartphones.
In addition, room lighting with blue light reduction lamps is advisable as an alternative to conventional incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, LED and other energy-efficient lighting.
For those who study and read late in the day, doctors also advise dimming computer screens and room lighting to reduce the blue light the eyes absorb immediately before bedtime.