Our understanding of blue light and its effects on ocular health evolves constantly. Every year new research comes out showing the dangers and effects of blue light on eyes. With all the new research, sometimes we neglect valuable and informative research from the past. In 2000, Elaine Kitchel wrote an article on the subject that offers a worthy overview of our understanding, even now.
What She Covered
Dr. Kitchel’s article included a valuable literature review on several important topics related to the status of blue light. She began with a discussion of blue light compared to UV and black light, all of which potentially damage the eyes. She then dives into the various types of damage possible from exposure to these dangerous light types. At the time, mostly using studies from the 80’s and early 90’s, the science suggested damage to both the retina, and the lens from excess exposure.
More important than even these interesting technical discussions, Dr. Kitchel offers a number of practical solutions to the problem the article addresses. Let’s look at several of her solutions to see what we can learn.
Wear yellow-tinted lenses to block light
Such lenses have proven to block 95-100% of blue and UV light. Technology has improved significantly since this article was first written, as has the fashion of such “computer glasses,” but the principle remains sound.
Avoid black light as much as possible
Black lights are particularly harmful. Some people need them for their work, but if not, as cool as they might look, avoid exposure to black light as much as possible.
Cover older computer monitors with “UV screen filters”
Most people don’t use the types of screens to which such screen filters can be affixed. However, the principle, again, remains sound. Today, many devices offer settings such as the “Night Mode,” setting in some apps and devices that removes cool light, replacing it with warm, protecting your eyes.
Replace “cool” light sources with warmer ones
Florescent tubes, and other similar light sources, where possible, should be replaced with a warmer alternative. The light these sources emit much of the light causing our ocular mishaps.
If your eyes have specific troubles to begin with, take extra measures
Those with ocular health issues of which they are aware beforehand, should always take steps to protect themselves, both indoors and out. Blue, UV, and black light can all contribute to increased ocular degeneration.
Keep blue light source below your waist
If the source of the light, like a computer, stays below your waist, your eyes take less of a beating. The lower angle lowers the amount of direct contact.
All of the suggestions made above, in principle, still apply well today. The only detail largely neglected in this article from 2000, is digital devices. Not to say they aren’t mentioned at all, rather they simply lacked the prominence then they now enjoy. Cell phones were everywhere, but smart phones weren’t. Laptops were common, but tablets weren’t. So, take good principles from this older research, and apply it to our contemporary environment of technological ubiquity.
There’s always more to learn on the subject of blue light. This article does an admirable job introducing the uninitiated reader into a complex scientific topic. Might we suggest that you continue your research just a little further? Learn more today about the dangers of blue light, and how to avoid them.