We all spend a lot of time staring at screens. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased this. Locked in our homes and unable to socialize, millions of us turned to the internet as the primary way of connecting with others. A recent study suggests that adults in the United States will spend an astonishing 44 years of their life staring at screens. When you consider the daily routine of the average American – scrolling social media, watching television, and eight or more hours of work – it is hardly surprising that the numbers add up. When it comes to children, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends 2 hours of screen time per day. However, this is almost always being doubled or even tripled on a daily basis.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is everywhere, including making up part of the light from the sun. Blue light is an HEV (high energy visible) light, which means it has a short wavelength. This makes it very easy for it to penetrate the eyes. Even though our bodies are accustomed to this, the blue light emitted from screens can add up to a dangerous amount. Some of the negative health effects of blue light are:
- Strain around the eyes
- Poor posture
- Sleep disruption – It is light emitted from the sun that signals our body when it is time to wake or when it is time to get ready for sleep. An increased amount of blue light via a tv, laptop, or phone can disrupt the rhythm of sleep.
Blue light glasses can help with these negative effects. They feature lenses that help to block out and limit exposure to blue light. For example, Olympic Eyewear out of SLC, UT sells, among other eyewear choices, multiple styles of blue light glasses. These blue light glasses have many benefits.
Benefits of Blue Light Glasses
- Improving Sleep – A 2017 study out of the University of Houston showed that those who wore blue light glasses had a 58% increase in nighttime melatonin levels on average. An absence of melatonin at night can cause insomnia. Just as the levels of light emitted by the sun affect our energy levels, and the signals that tell our bodies it is time to sleep, so does screen time before bed. Blue light glasses help to block the light and limit the exposure of the ‘stay awake’ signals to our body.
- Prevent Headaches and Eye Strains – Regular usage of blue light glasses can protect the eyes – both in the short- and long terms. Eye strain and pounding headaches are perhaps the most immediate symptoms of too much screen time. A large amount of blue light can make it difficult to focus on what is on the screen, thus causing strain and difficulty concentrating. Blue light glasses prevent straining of the eyes, in turn reducing headaches.
- Long Term Eye Issues – We only get one pair of eyes, and they are too often neglected. Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness, but blue light glasses can contribute to delaying or lowering the risk of this condition.
- Continue Device Usage – The number of screens in our lives are only going to increase. Lisa Ostrin PHD (Professor of Optometry) says blue light glasses are important in modern life: “By using blue light-blocking glasses we … can still continue to use our devices. That’s nice because we can still be productive at night.”
In a world full of screens, it is impossible to avoid blue light. Blue light glasses are the solution then to help us adjust and protect the eyes.