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Blue Light and Vision

The Connection Between
Blue Light and Vision

In this article, we will explain why it is important to understand the relationship between blue light and vision.

Light is much more complex than it might seem. From flipping on a switch, to stepping outside, your eyes are constantly exposed to different kinds of Blue Light and Visionvisible and sometimes completely invisible light rays which can have a huge range of effects on your vision. Most people are familiar with the sun's rays which contain invisible UV rays that can cause the burning of the skin. However, a lot of people are not completely familiar with visible light that can be made up of all kinds of different colored rays that contain various amounts of energy.

Blue Light is in Sunlight

Sunlight contains all kinds of colors including orange, red, yellow, green, and blue. These colors vary depending on the available wavelength and energy. Blue light rays that contain the shortest wavelengths and the highest energy outputs are typically referred to as blue violet light.

More Information About Blue Light

Much like ultraviolet rays, blue light has both visible benefits and actual dangers. Below, we will go over some information you are going to want to understand about blue light and vision.

1. Blue Light Can Be Found Everywhere.

The fact is, blue light can actually be found in all kinds of places. For one, sunlight contains blue light. Thus, being outside is where you are bound to get a majority of exposure to this kind of light. The blue light included in sunlight is considered invisible, and the human eye is able to block almost all of it. Visible blue light comes from the artificial light of digital devices and fluorescent lights, and the bluish hue is quite noticeable. People who use computers several hours at work are sometimes advised to wear glasses with yellow-tinted lenses to help protect their eyes from the visible blue light emitted by the devices. Natural light is not the only source of blue light; computer and TV screens and the other digital screens on electronic devices also cause considerable eyestrain with extended use. Fluorescent lighting is found in many public buildings and homes since this type of lighting requires less energy. About one third of natural and artificial light is classified as blue light, so the connection between blue light and vision needs to be more clearly understood. Virtually every single electronic device with a screen is going to emit some sort of blue light including laptops, monitors, televisions, smartphones, tablets, and more. The amount of light that these devices emit is only going to be a tiny fraction of what the sun is able to emit. However, because people generally spend a lot of time in front of and/or using these devices every single day, it can really cause various effects and consequences to the users and their long term eye health.

2. The Eye is not Good at Blocking Blue Light.
Did you know there is eyewear available to help with exposure to blue light?

Virtually all blue light is going to end up passing through and reaching the retina because your eyes can not effectively block blue light like it can UV rays. It is important to wear eye protection while you are in the sun, because the eye isn't designed to function well with long term and repeated blue light exposure.

3. Blue Light Can Contribute to Eye Strain.

Because the short wavelengths of blue light scatters much more easily than other forms of visible light, it is not easy to focus on. Thus, when you are looking at screen technology and your digital devices that emit this kind of light, your eyes are likely to be strained. Thus, if you are someone that uses your computer and/or smartphone or tablet a lot, you are more likely to suffer from this kind of eyestrain. The good news is, there are programs on your computer and applications on your smartphone and/or tablet that can effectively block out significant amounts of this blue light which can make using the devices much easier on your eyes.

Did you know that dietary supplementation with Zeaxanthin and Lutein can provide an effective natural method of increasing the eye's defense against blue light?  According to an article by Dr. Graham Erickson, OD FAAO, FCOVD, these nutrients can also help with increased contrast sensitivity, reduced glare, and improved recovery from bright light.  Learn more here.

Did you know that some blue light has positive effects?  Whereas the blue light discussed most these days, blue-violet light, can have some harmful effects on the body; according to a recent study, blue-turquois light is essential for circadian rhythm, the function of the pupillary reflex and overall health.  Specifically, it can be used to treat mood disorders and in sleep therapy.

Overall, blue light and vision effects are something that you must consider. In order to achieve the best possible eye health if you use a lot of these digital devices and screens on a daily basis, you need to understand the connection between blue light and vision.  You may want to invest in some kind of technology or specified lenses to help block some of the blue light. This can lead to better long term eye health and less overall strain.

Laboratory studies show that a high percentage of visible blue light reaches the eye's retina after passing through the lens and cornea. This fact is important since too much exposure of the retina to blue light can cause damage leading to permanent loss of vision. While the exact level of blue light that causes retinal damage is still unknown, vision specialists are concerned that the additional exposure from digital devices may increase the incidence of macular degeneration for seniors.

When considering the connection between blue light and vision, it is important to note that even though a certain amount of blue light is required for good health, blue light exposure can lead to a lack of sleep, eyestrain and may play a role in causing macular degeneration, which is can lead to vision loss.

 

 

Please note:  In-office, Optometric Vision therapy, under the direction of a Behavioral Optometrist using prisms, filters and lenses, as used with our patients, is far more effective than home-based therapy.

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