It seems like everything is dangerous these days. The news always has some new study telling us that we're eating or drinking something that is detrimental to our health. It's not just about what we consume either, the devices we all depend on today to work, play, and communicate are also putting us at risk. That's right, that smartphone you keep in your pocket, the tablet you use for answering emails, and the laptop computer you rely upon to run your business, all of these are posing significant risks to our health.
Particularly our eyeballs. Consider for a second how you're reading this article right now. Now think about how much time you spend each day staring at this screen. What about other screens, including your electronic devices, your television, anything around the home or office that emits light? Not just any type of light, but high-energy blue light or HEV. As technology only continues to become more advanced and everything around us grows more reliant upon digital application over analog, we are placing our vision at greater risk.
Exposure to HEV
Most of us probably don't think too long or hard about how our eyes react to the things we aim them at on a daily basis. But it's also getting tougher to avoid looking at screens that emit high-energy blue light simply because more of the things we depend on each and every day incorporate screens that emit this type of light.
The retina of the eye is at the greatest risk from prolonged, daily exposure to this form of light. Our eyes have the capability for blocking ultraviolet rays from the retina but they are not as capable at preventing blue light from getting to it. The damaging effects that blue light can have on the retina don't just happen overnight either, they are a result of prolonged exposure and the damage can begin to accumulate without you even realizing it.
All blue light moves through the cornea and the crystalline lens of the eye to the retina. For children, the crystalline lens is much more transparent than in an adult's eye, making the blue light exposure more enhanced. So a child's retina is a lot more susceptible to the damage that can start to occur.
Young or old, HEV exposure can have some serious long term impacts on your vision.
As the crystalline lens of the eye ages, it begins to yellow from the absorption of UV light. That yellowing effect will be suitable for filtering out some HEV but studies have determined that all of the absorption of UV light that the lens has undergone actually ages the eye prematurely and can lead to the formation of cataracts. Preventing both UV and HEV light from moving through the lens and reaching the retina can be highly effective at reducing the early onset of aging in both of these essential components of the eye.
Loss of Vision
There is another theory that suggests HEV can have a detrimental impact on various parts of the eye that could lead to damage similar to macular degeneration and an eventual loss of vision. This is due to the effect that prolonged exposure from blue light can have on the cones and retinal pigment epithelium. Both of these portions of the eye are responsible for keeping your vision accurate and intact.
Prolonged exposure to blue light from computer, smartphone, and tablet screens can have no small impact on the ability of the eye to focus as the light waves can spread apart, making the eye work harder. As this light dissipates it lowers the contrast that can be visible and increases the effect of digital eye strain that can make it harder to see.
There are many forms of blue light, both natural and artificial. Some natural forms of blue light are actually very helpful towards increasing mood, memory, and cognitive capabilities. Blue light also plays a key role in regulating our circadian rhythms which helps the body recognize when it's time to sleep and when it's time to stay awake. HEV blue light is part of the body's circadian rhythm cycle, helping to stimulate the mind and body during waking hours. But natural blue light is supposed to be reduced throughout the day, signaling the body that it's time to rest. This is why long periods of exposure to blue light, particularly HEV, during the evening can have a detrimental effect on your ability to fall asleep and remain asleep. Reduced quality of sleep can have many negative effects both in the immediate and over extended periods of time.
Blue Light Glasses
With all of the potential negative impacts that blue light presents to your eyes, isn't time you did something about it? Now you can. Blue light glasses are available for those of us who spend a lot of time looking directly at computer screens, smartphones, and tablets. They are designed to combat the damaging effects of blue light which is made up of shorter wavelengths and packs much more energy than other forms of light on the spectrum from red to yellow to orange or green.
With blue light, that much energy being delivered to the retina is not good. Blue light glasses are eyewear that are designed to filter out nearly half of the blue light that reaches the retina from the variety of screens that your eyeball is exposed to throughout the day and night. Wearing these glasses can offer you some of the best protection against the negative effects that prolonged exposure to blue light can have the crystalline lens and retina. You can find this eyewear in both regular lenses or corrective vision variants that can improve the clarity of your eyesight.
If you stare at a computer screen all day at work then flash your smartphone or tablet screen at your eyeballs after hours and well into the evening, you could be doing some serious damage to your eyes. Blue light glasses can protect your eyes while looking at all of these screens and reduce the long term damage to your vision.