Back To Science Class
Before explaining the effects of blue light, let's break down the composition of light. Because, hello, who actually remembers learning about light in grade school? Am I right, ya’ll?
So, light is a measured electromagnetic radiation that is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum consists of Gamma Rays, X-rays, UV Light, Visible Light, and Infrared Light ranging from lowest to the highest frequency.
Now, let’s get right into Blue Light...
Blue light is considered to be a part of the high energy visible (HEV) wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Traveling at a speed of about 425 nm (NM= nanometers), it is the shortest wave of the group but the highest in energy emission. Blue light is emitted naturally and artificially.
About 30% of blue light is emitted naturally. The sun's air flow helps distribute blue light energy however the short, high wave energy of blue light is scattered irregularly by the air molecules in earth’s atmosphere making what we call the sky.
Natural blue light exposure varies day to day, depending upon certain times in the day , locations, and seasons. Too much time outdoors without appropriate eyewear may damage the eyes long-term.
Items like smart phones, LED devices, newer energy efficient bulbs, LED screens, CFL light bulbs, tablets, computers, and laptops, television, playing video games, and using any other digital devices emit blue light and is classified as artificial blue light.
Over extended periods of time on the computer, induce headaches, eye fatigue and mental cloudiness.
The Health Effects
Over extended exposure to Visible blue light affects the well-being of our eyes, like the retina.
"The May issue of the Harvard Health Letter reports that this aspect of modern life may be great for efficiency, but not for health"- Harvard Health Medical School
The retina is important to our eye health because it is responsible for visual recognition and our optic nerves are responsible for transmitting that visual recognition from the retina to our brain. 415 nm-455 nm is the most damaging to the retina leading to retinal cell death due to accumulative exposure to blue light. Blue light over exposure is linked to age related macular degeneration and is proven to deteriorate DHA essential fats.
Use of digital devices and over exposure to blue light, accelerate eye strain causing eye fatigue, headaches and eye diseases.
Common symptoms include: headaches, disruption of sleep/wake cycle, sleeping disorders, physical fatigue, eye fatigue, and mental fatigue, difficulty concentrating, cognitive disorders like moodiness, depression and other mental illnesses, and neck/shoulder tension and pain. Using blue light blocking eyewear blocks the acceleration of these symptoms.
Blue light lenses are filters that block and deflect bad blue light from having excessive contact with the eyes. Today, there are clear anti-reflective and scratch resistant blue light filtered lenses that block more than 90% of blue light.
The main question people are asking is: Why is blue light all of a sudden important?
Well, it has always been important. In fact, our bodies have always been programmed to need natural light. At one point, it was necessary and beneficial to be exposed to blue light due to the sleep and wake cycle of our circadian rhythm. Today, our eyes can’t keep up with the advancements of technology without proper eye protection. Now more than ever, our eyes are exposed to visible bright lights from items that we cannot seem to live without.