New information constantly emerges which causes us to rethink our understanding of science. For some this means they tend toward skepticism regarding scientific research. Sometimes we hear contradictory things from different sources. We don’t intend to offer a solution this problem in today’s post. What we do hope to accomplish, however, is to encourage you to hold firm to scientific principles. Not just any principles, but those that have no chance of harming you, and every chance of helping.
Who To Believe
The example today comes from a piece published a few years ago in Living Well With Low Vision, a publication by Prevent Blindness. The articles on this site intend to raise awareness to issues surrounding blindness and partial blindness. This particular article addresses a growing controversy between optometrists, and light manufacturers.
Dan Roberts, the founding director of Macular Degeneration Support wrote the article. The crux of this issue comes out in the introduction:
“Research continues to warn about the danger of sunlight to the eyes. Doctors wisely respond by recommending eye protection while outdoors during daylight. Curiously, however, some lighting manufacturers say lamps duplicating sunshine are good for vision and eye health.”
Put another way, is direct sunlight good for your eyes, or not? Doctors seem to say no. Some light makers, contrary to the doctors, say yes. Let’s break down both cases and see what we find.
The Science and Common Sense
Unequivocally, scientists agree that excessive and direct exposure to sunlight harms ocular health. The sun emits rays which, in moderation, do the body good. Those same rays, when associated with the eyes, play an important role, but have greater potential danger.
You see, the sun tells your body, through your eyes, when to wake up and when to sleep. Following the sun’s directions in this matter positively effects your sleep cycle. When you do what the sun naturally dictates you sleep better, and for the right amount of time. However, no one believes that looking directly at the sun is good for your eyes. Doing so can cause blindness, and other related issues.
Enter the second argument, in favor of indoor lights mimicking direct sunlight. The sun, these arguments go, is natural. Lights that mimic nature must be better for you. Strangely, it doesn’t occur to those arguing this way the problem with night time. The time you need lights the most is when the sun goes down. Nothing could be less natural than turning on lights that mimic the sun at night. Your body knows this. That point aside, having lights mimicking the sun in your home means more direct contact between “sunlight” and your eyes.
Why Does This Technique Work?
You only need to invoke the word “natural” to successfully sell a product like these lights. Things from nature, regardless of how we use them, or their intended use, make us feel healthier, whether we are or not. Taking the sun and putting it inside your home couldn’t be less natural. Calling the lights natural, saying they mimic sunlight, this works to convince us that they must be good for us. Hold to the scientific knowledge on this one. You don’t need lights like this, so don’t get them.
It turns out you expose yourself to enough artificial light that mimics the negatives of the sun that you don’t need to add more. Your cell phone, TV, laptop, tablet, and so on all emit blue light. Blue light effects your brain through your eyes directly in a way no other light does. So, on this issue, stick with the experts. Protect your eyes from sunlight outside, and don’t bring the sun in your house. Even if you’re not sure on the science, you don’t need to take the risk. It can only cause you harm. If you want more sunlight, go outside more.
If the sun is bad for your eyes, imagine how bad electronic devices you stare at are! All excess blue light can be harmful, according to the science. Finding ways to protect your eyes from blue light should be job number 1. Consider where you could cut out excess blue light from your life. Think of how to limit blue light’s effect, and how to step away from things emitting blue light. Give your ideas a try. Let us know how it goes in the comments. Your eyes will thank you!