In today’s screen-filled world, blue lights are everywhere, and screen time is inevitable due to work and/or school conditions. Although we’re exposed to other sources of blue light, like the sun, on a regular basis, the close proximity we have to blue light through screens is concerning. Blue light is a low wavelength, high energy light that can damage the eyes if they’re overexposed. At the least, they can make our eyes fatigued and strained. Children are at a higher risk of overexposure because their developing eyes absorb more blue light than adults.
Blue light isn’t all bad; it boosts alertness, mood, cognitive function, and memory, but overexposure may lead to digital eye strain and retinal cell damage, which increases the risk for macular degeneration. Although the research relies on long-term data, we haven’t yet been using screens for long enough to come to valid conclusions. Protection will not hurt, and can only help in the long-term. So what are some ways you can protect your eyes?
It’s important to wear medical-grade blue light protective glasses whenever you’re looking at a screen. There are specially-made computer glasses with pale amber-tinted lenses that block a large percentage of blue light and alleviate eye strain by increasing contrast. Another option is anti-reflective lenses that reduce glare, increase contrast, and filter light from both the sun and digital devices.
There are a variety of apps available so you can look at your screen with slightly less exposure. F.lux is software that adjusts your screen’s display as it gets darker so it doesn’t feel as bright and harsh on your eyes. If you have an iPhone, use the Night Shift setting which adjusts the color temperature of your phone’s display. Although only reducing your blue light exposure by a small percentage, apps and lighting adjustments may still be helpful.
Give Your Eyes a Break
The easiest way to avoid overexposure to blue lights is by reducing the time you spend using them. Make sure you take regular breaks away from your screen at work; every twenty minutes look at something about twenty feet away for a minute, or get up and walk around. This will help you avoid eye strain and overexposure to blue lights.
Protect Your Eyes
The best thing you can do for your eyes, and your mental and physical health, is to limit your screen time and hold yourself to it. Try tracking your average daily usage on your phone and set reasonable screen limits from there. Regular, annual eye exams also ensure your eye health is protected by staying up on the latest research and protection options via your optometrist.
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