Isn’t it strange how things come along one after the other? I had recently read an article discussing a study in the USA all about the Blue Light Effect, and how it affected people, and then I was chatting to one of the reps that visits me, and he happened to mention that he had just been given a range of non-prescription frames and lenses specifically designed to help with the blue light screen problem. He didn’t think much of the idea, as “they are just a gimmick, aren’t they?” I mentioned that there was mounting evidence that there is a lot more to it….
A new study by the Vision Council of America has found that nearly two thirds of people experience eye strain after prolonged use of electronic devices. This clearly demonstrates that our eyes are being affected negatively by modern technology at least in the short term. Whether you’re a techno junkie or a techno-phobe, there’s no denying that tablets and smartphones are here to stay as part of modern life.
This research also indicated that visual display units (VDU’s) are likely to lead to long term health issues too. Electronic devices emit high-energy visible (HEV) light, also known as blue light. This part of the light spectrum has the shortest wavelength, which makes it the most harmful to living tissue, including our eyes. It is well known that high levels of blue light can cause damage to the retina, which is located at the back of your eye and sends the image of what you can see via the optic nerve to your brain, and in severe cases this blue light damage can lead to macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision loss in adults. This is usually caused through exposure to the sun without wearing UV protective sunglasses, but the evidence is becoming ever stronger that long periods of tablet and smartphone can have an effect on the eye and brain.
Blue light affects your brain’s production of the hormone melatonin, which is involved in sleep pattern regulation. Our bodies and brains developed long before artificial lighting, and so the brightness and colour of the sun’s light governed our performance and alertness. The blue of modern screens is in the same area of the spectrum as the blue light of dawn, so when the eye senses a strong amount of this particular blue light, melatonin is reduced and the body becomes more awake. If melatonin production is affected then your sleep is likely to become disrupted, which in turn has numerous negative effects on your productivity, happiness and health.
Fortunately there is quite a lot that can be done about this. Ensure that you stop using your screen or pad about two hours before bed time. It will help if you turn the brightness of the gadget down, as this reduces the amount of light entering the eye. If you must check your emails just before bed, use a gadget with a smaller screen, again this reduces the amount of light that enters the eye. If you are a spectacle wearer have a blue light absorbing coating on your lenses. If you don’t need spectacles, a pair of specifically designed spectacles absorbing this blue light can be very beneficial.
It will also help significantly if you expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight. By the way, TV’s in the bedroom have been shown to have some significant negative effects, because the modern TV screens also emit a lot of blue light.
At Mark Davis Opticians we offer a range of protective lenses that can filter blue light not only from your tablet, computer or phone, but also from sunlight. These advanced lenses are available in a variety of styles for a range of eyesight needs, helping you to protect your eyes even when you forget to keep track of your time with technology.
For more information about VDU use, blue light protective lenses, or to book an eye test, call our friendly team at Mark Davis Opticians on 01332 666 760 (Spondon) or 01530 832 769 (Whitwick) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.