Blue light is a nearly constant presence in modern life. Unfortunately, it can have some meaningful adverse effects, from vision problems to sleep issues. Here’s what you need to know about whether you might be vulnerable to the harmful effects of blue light and what you can do about it.
Where does Blue Light Come From?
Blue light is a normal part of the light spectrum. It is on the shorter wavelength end of the color spectrum, next to UV light. Blue light is among the shortest wavelengths that are visible to us.
The sky is filled with blue light, which is why the sky looks blue in bright daylight. However, blue light comes from some other places besides the sun.
- Screens. Screens like laptops, smartphones, and tablets can all transmit enough blue light to have consequences for your eyes, health, and sleep patterns.
- Artificial light. Artificial light, especially light that is cooler or that imitates daylight, transmits a fair amount of blue light. The brighter and cooler the light, the more damage it can cause.
- TV. Television counts as a screen that transmits blue light, even though people rarely think of the light from a TV as being significant. Even being in a room with a TV can cause a lot of blue light transmission.
What does Blue Light do?
Blue has several different effects on us, both positive and negative. Here are some of the effects of blue light.
- Wakefulness. Blue light gives you a sense of wakefulness and alertness that we associate with morning and daytime.
- Insomnia. The wakefulness that blue light causes results in insomnia when we experience blue light before going to sleep.
- Eye strain. Over time, extensive screen use and other sources of blue light can result in strain on your eyes that can even lead to cataracts over an extended period.
- Blurred vision and trouble focusing. You may find that you have more trouble concentrating when you are using a screen or working under cool artificial light. Focus problems may be because this sort of light makes your eyes blurry, which can make it more difficult to focus.
- Headaches. Blue light has a tendency to cause headaches when you’re exposed to natural or unnatural sources of it for extended periods. For people who are triggered to have migraines by light, blue light is often a culprit.
Who Should Use Blue Light Readers?
You should invest in high-quality blue light readers if you have ever experienced any negative symptoms of blue light or if your lifestyle causes you to be exposed to a lot of blue light. Here are some occasions when blue light glasses are appropriate.
- Checking your phone before sleep. Many of us are in the habit of falling asleep by checking our phones before bed, perhaps perusing a social media platform or reading an article. Phone time before sleep is a necessary time to wear blue light glasses so that the light from your phone doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
- In bright artificial spaces. If you work in a brightly lit space with artificial light that tends to have a cool tint, it’s a good idea to wear blue light glasses to continuously counter the negative effects of the light.
- On your computer. Whenever you’re on your computer, laptop or PC, wear blue light glasses to protect your eyes.
Protect your Eyes from Blue Light
Blue light is all around us. In its natural state, the sun, it isn’t too damaging. However, when we extend our exposure to blue light to our nighttime hours as well, with screens, it is important to protect our eyes from potentially harmful blue light.