Long-term eye health relies on short-term action.
Results of several scientific studies are now uncovering the very real potential for harmful long-term blue light effects. Acting now to protect ourselves — and especially our children — from exposure to blue light can go a long way toward positively impacting our long-term eye health.
It’s definitely no secret that it is vitally important to protect our eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. But, many of us are still unaware of the damaging effects blue light rays can have on our eyes.
Many of us spend most of the hours we are awake in front of a digital screen. Or, we are out and about on a sunny day or sitting under fluorescent and LED lighting. Each of these sources is known to expose us to harmful blue light effects.
In fact, the sun, computers, laptops, smartphones, digital tablets, electronic devices, and fluorescent and LED lighting have been proven through scientific research studies to emit dangerous blue light rays.
Efforts to limit our exposure to these blue light sources is just as important as scheduling regular visits with the family doctor and getting yearly physicals.
Blue light effects are caused because 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. This flickering — and glaring — could be a reason behind eye strain, headaches and mental fatigue. Our eyes’ natural filters do not sufficiently protect against blue light rays from the sun or those from artificial lighting and electronic and digital devices.
Due to increased usage of digital devices for educational and entertainment purposes, our children are at the greatest risk for long-term negative blue light effects.
Blue light effects include sleep disorders, like insomnia. These sleep disorders can disrupt our bodies’ ability to secrete melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the natural rhythms that enable us to sleep and ward off disease. Studies also show blue light effects include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and attention deficit issues.
Eye protection from blue light starts early.
Dr. Edward J. Huggett previously served as the eye physician for Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays. He is a graduate of the Pediatric Vision Clinic of the University of Houston who developed the Low Vision Clinic at the James Haley VA Medical Center Outpatient Clinic.
Dr. Huggett said those wanting to minimize their children’s risk of blue light exposure should not wait to reduce the opportunity for negative long-term blue light effects.
Banning our children from digital devices is not a realistic option, but Dr. Huggett says we have several solid options to protect us from blue light exposure.”
“Several products available today reduce the amount of blue light entering our eyes," said Dr. Huggett. “These products include study lighting and screen filters designed for computers, tablets and smartphones.”
Dr. Huggett said blue light reduction (BLR) lighting and digital screen blue light filters are excellent at helping to reduce long-term blue light effects.
These products filter blue light, so less of it reaches our eyes’ retinas.
“I recommend installing BLR lamps and using digital screen filters,” Dr. Huggett said. "And, 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,” said Dr. Huggett.
Understanding and addressing the potential for long-term blue light effects early on is best practice, according to Dr. Huggett.
“Our children may not appreciate restrictions placed on them today in an effort to reduce long-term blue light effects,” he said. “But they certainly will be grateful you acted to reduce these effects tomorrow.”