I’m sure you’ve heard it mentioned that blue light is bad for your eyes. It has become such a big deal that even our iPhones have a night mode feature where the blue light turns off, but our phones aren’t the only blue light we need to worry about. It’s actually everywhere, and while it isn’t always bad for us, it’s something we need to be aware of.
First of all, what is blue light?
Think back to your high school science classes where you learned about the electromagnetic spectrum. While on the ends of the spectrum is where you will find UV light that is invisible but provides heat, in the center of the spectrum is where we find visible light that we see in colors and light everywhere. Blue light has high energy, and it scatters more easily, which is what makes the sky and large bodies of water appear blue.
How does blue light affect our brains?
The largest source of blue light is the sun, and our brains are uniquely programmed to respond to that light. You probably don’t notice it, but during the day the sunlight gives us a little push – in our attention, energy level, reaction times, memory, and simply our overall mood. On the contrary, the absence of blue light is a signal to our brains that the sun is resting, and so should we.
So where is the problem with blue light?
The problem exists because we are now constantly surrounded by artificial sources of blue light. These artificial sources can be found in LED and fluorescent lights and on the screens of all those electronic devices we use, and they confuse the signals that go to our brain. Instead of losing that stimulation of blue light when the sun goes down, our brains are now constantly stimulated at all hours of the day. Blue light inhibits the release of melatonin in our brains, which leads to a lower quality of sleep.
Why is my eye doctor telling me this?
As previously mentioned, blue light is the visible light with the highest intensity, and it is right next to UV light on the electromagnetic spectrum. While blue light is not as strong as sunlight, many eye doctors are concerned that these wavelengths are harmful to the eyes just like UV radiation. Blue light could lead to poor vision or macular degeneration, so it is important to limit our exposure. Some people opt for wearing the super-fashionable orange-tinted glasses, but we have a better idea.
What can I do about it?
Zeiss, Coley & Coley’s lens provider, offers an impressive lens called DuraVision BlueProtect. This lens strongly filters blue light shorter than 440nm (this is the range that is of most concern to eye care professionals). According to Zeiss, reducing the eye’s exposure to this type of blue light helps to prevent retinal cell damage and phototoxicity. The BlueProtect lens reflects parts of blue light, thus obstructing the light from entering the eye.
Using the Zeiss BlueProtect lens, especially right before bed, will allow the brain to regularly produce melatonin, and in turn will give you a better night of sleep. In addition, your risk of macular degeneration and photochemical damage to the retina will decrease due to the blockage of blue light.
You are always welcome to visit the Eyewear Gallery or speak with an optician about your lens options; no need to schedule an appointment for that. However, to schedule an eye exam with Coley & Coley, visit our website or call us at 615-893-8847.