In the last century, artificial lighting has made our evenings ever brighter, making us less and less reliant on the rising and setting of the sun to decide when to start and end our days. But this freedom may come with a cost.
This artificial lighting is exposing us to more blue light than ever before, at all hours of the day and night. Studies have shown that overexposure to this blue light can disrupt our sleep and may lead to potentially sight-threatening eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, later in life. It has also shown a possible link to systemic conditions and diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Beyond disrupting your sleep and potentially causing long-term vision issues, overexposure to blue light at any time of day has been linked to severe headaches and dry eye symptoms such as dry, itchy, red, watery, and gritty-feeling eyes.
CTA 1: Want to know the best way to protect yourself against harmful blue light? Speak to our optical team about blue light glasses today!
How Can Blue Light Harm Your Health?
We experience natural blue light every day when we go out in the sun during the day, and it helps signal to the body that this is the time to be awake. However, electronic screens such as tablets, smartphones, computers, and TVs also give off blue light, and it’s these devices that can sometimes cause blue light overexposure. When these devices are used at night, they can suppress the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences our circadian rhythms and helps us wind down at the end of the day.
So activities such as watching TV or playing on tablets before bed can cause our bodies to be confused, leading to poor sleep and potential health issues.
Further, hours spent in front of these digital devices during the day, whether for work or leisure, can cause you to blink significantly less and strain your eyes to see your screen more clearly. The result is uncomfortable short-term symptoms such as dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain.
So, if blue light exposure can have such negative effects on your health, is there a way to protect yourself?
How Our Optical Team Can Help
Our Mississauga and Brampton optical teams offer prescription glasses with blue light protection, as well as specialty non-prescription blue light glasses for those who spend many hours every day in front of computers and other digital screens. These can help significantly reduce the amount of blue light you’re exposed to throughout the day, minimizing or eliminating associated symptoms.
Our eye doctors also recommend that you stop using digital devices within 2 hours of going to bed to give your body a chance to wind down from the blue light.
CTA 2: Want to learn more about how our Brampton and Mississauga eye doctors can help you avoid the damaging effects of blue light? Come visit us for a comprehensive eye exam at Westpoint Optical today!
How much time is too much time on screens each day?
Healthy screen limits vary by age. Children younger than 2 years old should not have any screen time except for video calls with friends and family. 2- to 5-year-olds should have no more than an hour each day, and beyond 5 years, the limit should be no more than 2 hours each day. This 2-hour limit applies to adults as well.
Can sunglasses help protect me against the negative effects of blue light?
Most sunglasses are made to filter UV light and reduce glare while outdoors, but may not be quite as effective at filtering blue light from screens. Nonetheless, sunglasses with certain color tints may still afford you some extra protection. You should look for sunglasses with lenses that are tinted orange, yellow, copper, amber, or brown.