“...the most dangerous light for your retinas.”
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. New technology has made it easier than ever to be online. People are spending on average about 10.5 hours in front of a screen per day, and that amount is only going up.
All of the LEDs and devices we use, even lightbulbs, can bask you in damaging blue light. These LEDs emit very strong and potentially dangerous blue light waves. Because of their widespread use and increasing popularity, we are gradually being exposed to more and more sources of blue light and for longer periods of time. High-energy blue light penetrates deep into the eye, and is an emerging factor in eye fatigue and eye health.
Despite the eye's natural defenses, there is growing medical evidence to suggest that overexposure to blue light can damage the retina, the part of the eye that brings objects into focus. This damage occurs when blue light penetrates the macular pigment of the eye and causes a breakdown of the retina, leaving the eye more vulnerable to blue light exposure and cell degeneration.
A Harvard medical study stated that "High-energy Visible (HEV) blue light has been identified for years as the most dangerous light for the retina. After chronic exposure, one can expect to see long range growth in the number of macular degenerations, glaucomas, and retinal degenerative diseases."
Blue light is accelerating age-related macular degeneration more than other rays in the spectrum*, and the more exposure you have at a young age can lead to increased risk of early onset AMB by 10 years, basically doubling the risk of blindness in your lifetime^.
More and more young people are turning to glasses without a family history of prescription due to repetitive damage from increased time looking at computer, phone and tablet screens. The consequences are real, and they can begin immediately. Short-term exposure can lead to eye strain, visual fatigue, headaches, decreased productivity, decreased ability to focus, increased stress and lack of sleep. Long-term exposure can lead to loss of visual function through accelerated macular degeneration and other serious visual ailments.
Why Blue Light Damages Your Eyes:
Blue light that causes the maximum retinal cell death is a 40nm band. Over time, our eyes are exposed to various sources that emit this wavelength of blue light (e.g., the sun, LED lighting, CFLs). Combined with the use of tablets, TVs, computer screens and smartphones, cumulative and constant exposure to blue light is going to accumulate over time with the potential to cause major damage to the retinal cells. While everyone is potentially at risk, younger people will have a much longer timeline of exposure (60+ years) and therefore are at serious risk of developing eyesight issues.
The potential seriousness of blue light eye damage is being talked about around the world. From medical schools to national media, all are weighing in on the issue. Here are a few links where you can learn more.
- Blue Light Has A Dark Side (Harvard)
- Blue light from tech gadgets and digital eye strain: More than 73 percent of young adults suffer from symptoms (Washington Post)
- Do you stare at a computer all day? Then read this (Vogue)
- How to Protect Your Eyes From the Negative Effects of Digital Devices and Blue Light (Huffington Post)
- The Huge Health Issue Affecting Productivity No One’s Talking About (Reader's Digest)
- What too much screen time does to your eyes (CBS News)
- How Blue Light From Your Phone May Be Hurting Your Eyes (and How to Treat It) (Health)
- Screens may be terrible for you, and now we know why (Wired)
- 5 questions: Cutting down on blue light exposure from computers, other tech devices (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Uncertain science behind your phone's blue light dimmer (Wired)
* The American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF)
^ Beaver Dam Eye Study