Digital Device Use and Your Eyes
We are working more and more times at our computer stations, our mobile social media, games...According to recent studies, 60% of people spend as much as 6 hours a day in front of a digital device whether it is a computer, tablet, smartphone or other gadget.
Nearly 70% of Americans experience digital eye strain due to prolonged use of electronic devices. The symptoms may vary; eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, these symptoms are referred to as a condition called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Blue light is a significant factor in causing these problems.
All of these devices emit blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light, which is a known cause of computer vision syndrome, sleep disruptions and possibly other potential dangers to the eyes. Blue light radiation is also emitted from television screens, electronic devices, fluorescent and LED lighting and yes, even the sun.
What is Blue Light?
Blue Light is a range of the visible light spectrum, defined as having a wavelength between 400 - 495 nm. This short wavelength means that Blue Light is a type of high-energy visible light, has the ability to produce physiological changes in tissues and organs expose to them.
Emitted from the sun, blue light is naturally occurring in the world around us. On the spectrum of visible light (light that humans can see), blue light has the highest energy and the shortest wavelength. It is also sometimes known as blue-violet or violet light, which is where ultraviolet (UV) light rays that are just beyond our perception get their name. Much like ultraviolet light, blue light has both dangers and benefits to our health, particularly to our eyes.
Studies now show that UV light damages our skin and eye, cause skin cancer, melanoma, cataract, macular degeneration... Blue Light is the first visible light, spectrum right next to the UV 300 -400 nm. Some animal studies have shown the damage to retina through Blue Light.
Exposure to blue light comes from a variety of technologies including computers, televisions, mobile devices and lights. Our first concern as eye doctors is children: more than 65% of Blue Light is transmitted to their young eyes. Parents are definitely encouraged to provide protection lens with or without prescription to protect against the harms Blue Light.
What are the Potential Dangers of Blue Light?
Research is still being done to determine the long-term effects of blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light emission, however it is known is that blue light is a cause of computer vision syndrome (CVS) and sleep disruptions.
The high energy and shorter wavelengths of blue or HEV light emit a less consistent flow of light, creating a glare or flickering that can cause eye strain.
Because sharpness and visual contrast are affected by this, the eyes have to work harder to see clearly. After extended periods of time this can result in headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and mental and physical fatigue.
Natural blue light in the atmosphere is known to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm (which controls your sleep cycles), to boost your mood and level of alertness and to improve memory and cognitive function.
However, prolonged exposure to artificial sources of blue light has been shown to reverse these positive effects, causing disruptions in the circadian rhythm which affects sleep, as well as an increased risk of depression. Studies show that using a digital device before bedtime can negatively impact the amount and quality of your sleep.
Researchers at Harvard University have shown that over time, prolonged exposure to blue light can cause damage to the retina at the back of your eye, which may lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and possibly other serious health and vision problems. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss and low vision.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Blue Light Emissions?
As the dangers of blue light from digital devices emerge, more and more options are becoming available to protect your eyes. The eyes have very limited natural ability to block out blue light radiation so we need to be aware of blue light exposure and how to minimize it.
Computer glasses with blue-blocking lenses, coatings and filters are a good solution for those working on a computer for long periods of time each day. You can also add anti-glare coatings with blue light protection to your regular eyeglass and sunglass lenses.
Additionally, there are filters available for devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets, to reduce the amount of blue light radiation that can reach your eyes.
The easiest way to reduce blue light exposure is to take frequent breaks when working on a computer and to reduce screen time overall.
At our River Oaks eye clinic, our eye doctors recommend using blue light blocking glasses regardless of whether or not you have a prescription. The goal is to protect your eyes and ensure maximum comfort. Here are some of the lens options we offer.
Eyezen+ lenses will reduce your exposure to harmful Blue Light. A smart blue filter is embedded protection in the Eyezen+ lenses to reduce the exposure to Blue Light.
Eyezen+ lenses can reduce strain from viewing digital devices so you can focus on what matters to you. Eyezen+ lenses is a single vision lens contains a small but fixed boost in plus power at the bottom of the lens. They contain a small amount of accommodative relieve to help alleviate eye strain caused by viewing near objects, like cell phones and tablets.
No-Glare Lenses protect eyes from most harmful band within the blue-violet spectrum (415-455 nm). Crizal Prevencia, a no-glare lens, made by Essilor deflect 20% of harmful blue-violet light, reduces retinal cell death by 25%. Crizal Prevencia also block UV light, provide protection from outside UV and inside Blue Light.
Your optometrists at Eye Care Optics has provided Eyezen+ and Crizal Prevencia no-glare lens for a number of years. Our patients enjoy the Blutech lenses, from either single vision or progressive lens, block harmful Blue Light and UV light, keep the healthy eye for life.