We will discuss what blue light is, how blue light affects your eyes, how you could protect your eyes, and what nutrients can help protect your eyes.
What is Blue Light?
Sunlight contains the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. When they merge, they produce the white light we see. Each of these possesses distinct energy and wavelength. Red light has longer wavelengths and less energy while blue light has shorter wavelengths and more energy. The light that seems white may contain a significant quantity of blue components, exposing the eye to a greater amount of wavelength from the end of the visible spectrum.
What Are The Sources of Blue Light?
Blue light is emitted by the sun, fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs. Humans are now exposed to more blue light than ever before due to the increased use of light-emitting diode (LED) technology.
LED technology with high levels of blue light is used in computer and laptop screens, flat-screen televisions, cell phones, and tablets.
The quantity of blue light exposure from screens is low in comparison to the amount of exposure from the sun. Nonetheless, there is concern about the long-term effects of screen exposure due to the close relationship of the screens and the amount of time spent focusing on them.
How Does Blue Light Affect Your Eyes?
Your eye has components that filter some types of light. The cornea and lens of your eye protect the light-sensitive retina in the rear of your eye from harmful UV radiation. Almost all visible blue light, on the other hand, passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina.
1. Blue Light causes Digital Eye Strain:
Blue light scatters more quickly than other visible light, making it difficult to focus. When we spend hours staring at computer screens and other digital devices, the blurred visual “noise” from blue light diminishes contrast and can add to digital eye strain.
People who use computers, laptops, and other digital gadgets, blink less frequently than usual. Fewer blinks may indicate less moisture.
For different people, digital eyestrain means different things. However, it is often related to the eye’s focusing system.
When your eyes are tired from gazing at a blue-light-emitting screen, you may see the following:
- Eyes become dry
- Eyes become painful or irritating
- Eyes become fatigued
- Squinting causes face muscle fatigue.
2. Blue Light and Sleeping Problems:
Screen time, particularly at night, has been related to poor sleep. The blue light emitted by electronic devices disrupts your circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. It signals your brain to wake up when it should be sleeping. According to one research, exposure to blue light at night for as little as 2 hours reduced or prevented the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turning off your digital gadgets at least three hours before going to bed will help.
3. Blue Light may raise The Risk of Macular Degeneration:
Excessive blue light exposure can harm light-sensitive cells in the human eye. This can lead to vision issues including age-related macular degeneration which is the major cause of visual loss in people over the age of 50.
4. Blue Light and Cancer:
Exposure to blue light may increase your risk of developing some malignancies. People who work the night shift are more likely to get breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers, according to research.
Protecting Your Eyes Against Blue Light:
If excessive exposure to blue light from smartphones, tablets, and computer screens is an issue, there are a few options for reducing blue light exposure:
1. Reduce Screen Time:
Try to reduce the amount of time you spend in front of these screens and/or take regular breaks to rest your eyes.
2. Use The 20/20/20 Strategy:
Stop every 20 minutes while using a device that emits blue light to focus on items that are about 20 feet away. Observe those objects for 20 seconds before returning to your up-close examination.
3. Computer Glasses:
By increasing contrast, computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that filter blue light can help relieve computer digital eye strain.
4. Anti-reflective Lenses:
These lenses minimize glare and enhance contrast while also blocking blue light emitted by the sun and modern devices.
5. Keep Your Eyes Moist:
Artificial tears, eye drops, and room humidifiers are all effective ways to keep your eyes from becoming too dry and irritated while using blue-light-emitting devices.
6. Blue Light Filters:
If you are regularly using your phone for texting, emailing, and online browsing, applying a blue light filter to the screen of your smartphone is an easy approach to limit your blue light exposure.
These filters are available for cellphones, tablets, and computer screens, and they can be purchased anywhere electronics are sold.
Blue light filters minimize the amount of HEV blue light emitted by these gadgets from reaching your eyes while maintaining display visibility. Some are composed of thin tempered glass, which also protects the screen of your device from scratches.
7. Blue Light Protection after Cataract Surgery:
If you have cataracts and are about to have cataract surgery, ask your surgeon what type of intraocular lens (IOL) will be used in your procedure. Some IOLs may be more effective than others in providing some amount of blue light protection to your retina following surgery.
After cataract surgery, always wear sunglasses that filter blue light (as well as 100% of the sun’s UV rays) when going outside in the daylight. Wear computer glasses that offer good blue light protection than regular reading glasses when using computers and other digital devices for a long time.
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Nutritional Advice to Protect Your Eyes against Blue Light:
Nutrients that can help protect your eyes from blue light include the following:
Lutein and Zeaxanthin:
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the nutrients found naturally in certain fruits and vegetables that are deposited directly into the eyes to help filter damaging blue light.
Because the human body does not produce lutein or zeaxanthin, these nutrients must be obtained from supplements and foods. Common sources include:
- Kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin. Especially, kale’s dark green color contains a lot of nutrients, including lutein.
- Romaine Lettuce
- Red bell peppers
Vitamins C and E:
Vitamins C and E are abundant in dark, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collard greens. They also contain carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. These plant-based vitamin sources lower your risk of developing long-term eye problems like AMD and cataracts.
Vitamin A is important for eyesight because it keeps the cornea, exterior covering of the eye, clear. This vitamin is also a component of rhodopsin, a protein found in your eyes that allows you to see in low light. Common sources include:
- Leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli),
- orange and yellow veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and other winter squash, summer squash)
- The red bell pepper
- Beef liver
- Fish oils.