Blue light danger is real.
As the scientific community learns more about the harmful negative effects of blue light exposure, we are better understanding that blue light depression and other ailments are issues that should be taken quite seriously.
Studies show that blue light exposure can cause sleep disorders, including insomnia. Sleep disorders often disrupt our bodies’ ability to secrete melatonin, the hormone that regulates the natural rhythms that enable us to sleep and ward off disease.
Lack of sleep is a well-known cause of depression. Therefore, over-exposure to blue light can lead to the very real phenomenon of blue light depression.
In addition, it is vitally important to limit exposure to blue light because of the many other ailments tied to it, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and even attention deficit issues.
While we all understand the importance of protecting our skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, most of us are unaware of the damaging effects blue light rays can have on our eyes.
One key might be reducing exposure to blue light right before bedtime. It’s known that spending time on our computers, laptops, smartphones, digital tablets and other electronic devices, and even under fluorescent and LED lighting, impacts our sleeping patterns.
These devices and types of lighting have been proven through scientific research studies to emit high levels of dangerous blue light rays.
Blue light comes in very short wavelengths. Exposure to the high-energy wavelengths of blue light has been proven to cause serious long-term damage to the eyes.
Blue light wavelengths flicker more easily than longer, less energetic light wavelengths. Increased exposure to this type of flickering — and glaring — can lead to a more difficult time falling asleep.
Limit blue light exposure from devices.
Our eyes’ natural filters cannot sufficiently protect us against blue light rays from artificial lighting and electronic and digital devices.
Experts recommend turning off electronic devices, smartphones, digital tablets and computers at least one hour before bedtime. If these devices are turned off, we are less likely to be tempted to check emails, play a game or text a friend, which could negatively impact a good night’s sleep.
Dr. Edward J. Huggett is a vision expert who worked professionally as the eye physician for Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays. He’s seen firsthand the negative effects of blue light exposure.
“Those who proactively reduce exposure to blue light are doing themselves a favor,” Dr. Huggett said. “I’ve seen the short- and long-term dangers of overexposure to blue light. I highly recommend products such as blue light reduction (BLR) filters and digital screen filters as protection from these dangers.”
While the best practice is eliminating blue light exposure just prior to bedtime, these filters can lessen the everyday exposure to blue light, thus helping to reduce the risk of blue light depression.
Even our children are at risk, according to Dr. Huggett.
“Digital devices are being used more and more for educational and entertainment purposes,” he said. “Our children are at the greatest risk for long-term negative blue light effects, including blue light depression.”
Dr. Huggett, who developed the Low Vision Clinic at the James Haley VA Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, said monitoring the amount of time our children spend in artificial lighting, on computers and on other digital devices will have a positive impact on their long-term eye health.
“Understanding and addressing the potential for negative blue light effects, including blue light depression, is a necessity,” said Dr. Huggett.
A few simple practices today can help significantly reduce your risk for blue light depression and other ailments.