Many people have heard of blue light but don't really know what it is. Well, we're going to tell you. Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum. It has a short wavelength, meaning it is a higher-energy wavelength. Blue light occurs naturally in sunlight and is an important part of the sleep-wake cycle. Digital devices with screens and LED and CFL lighting implements also produce high levels of blue light.
How Does Blue Light Affect You?
The human eye evolved a sensing mechanism that detects when it is daylight and when it is not. These sensors respond mostly to blue light, and when there is a significant amount of blue light, our brain is alerted that it is daytime. Hence, blue light is directly tied to our circadian rhythm, the cycle that determines when our body feels tired and alert. Blue wavelengths are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times and mood, but, according to Harvard Health, blue light wavelengths suppress the body’s secretion of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycles. So, exposure to blue light at night continues to alert your brain that it is daytime, disrupting your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
In addition, the short, high-energy wavelengths of blue light scatter more easily and are not as easily focused. This means that when looking at electronic devices that emit significant amounts of blue light, the unfocused visual “noise” reduces contrast, which can lead to digital eye strain.
Tips for Reducing the Effects of Blue Light
- Expose yourself to lots of light during the day.
It sounds counterintuitive, but exposure to light during the day (even blue light) helps to reinforce your circadian rhythm. Just remember to protect your eyes from harmful UV light.
- Dial down the blue light on your digital devices.
Most smartphones, tablets, and computer screens can be adjusted to shift the color of the screen to reduce blue light. If your device doesn’t have this feature available in the settings, there are apps such as Twilight or Night Shift that provide the same feature.
- Try not to use electronic devices with bright screens for at least an hour before bed.
It may be hard to stay off your phone, tablet, and computer in the evenings, but when you wake to feel rested, it will be well worth it.
- Use blue light blocking glasses…Izipizi!
Sometimes the answer is right before your eyes! Blue light blocking glasses can ease digital eye strain, reduce glare, and increase the clarity of your vision. We carry a line of eyewear, called Izipizi, in the Lounge that can reduce blue light up to 40%--plus they come in a range of diopter and they're really cute!
We can help you learn more about Izipizi glasses and how to best protect yourself from blue light. Give us call!