We spend 8 hours a day looking at a computer and then spend our leisure time looking at our smartphones or playing games on our home computer leaving us exposed to the blue light emitted from our devices all day long.
What are the effects of this prolonged exposure to blue light?
We’re in the early stages and truly do not know the FULL effects of blue light, but we DO know that blue light exposure has an affect our sleep cycles and contributes to Computer Vision Syndrome.
A bigger worry for many people is that blue light could potentially lead to blindness.
How is blue light connected to blindness?
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), an eye disease that affects the central portion of our vision, is the leading cause of permanent blindness in people over 60 years old. When changes occur in this part of the eye it can have visually devastating effects and potentially lead to blindness.
There are two types of macular degeneration:
- A “dry” form that is a result of drusen or deposits that form in the retinal tissue.
- A “wet” form where the blood vessels begin to leak. The “wet” form of macular degeneration can lead to significant vision loss.
Macular Degeneration was once thought of as just part of the aging process of the eye, but we know now genetics (fair eyed Caucasian are at a higher risk), smoking, diet and sun exposure also play a significant role in the development and progression.
So how do our devices and blue light fit into all of this?
The sun is the biggest source of blue light and according to the Schepens Eye Institute, “the blue rays of the spectrum seem to accelerate AMD more than other rays of the spectrum.” We protect our eyes with sunglasses that block both UV rays & blue light rays, but what about the blue light from our devices?
Although the blue light from our devices are emitted at a much lower level than the sun, the proximity and length of time that we are exposed is so much greater, so the question is, “can our devices lead to blindness?”
The answer: we just don’t know.
Early studies coming from the University of Toledo are showing blue light from our devices can cause changes in the retina. This study was not done on human eyes so we cannot make the direct correlation to humans or macular degeneration and blue light, however the potential for harm is there. Those that are exposed to digital devices, like gamers who spend hours a day playing, are at a higher risk for these harmful effects. We also must consider the long-term effects on our children’s eyes as their exposure is going to course over their lifetime! This is especially important with students going back to school in the age of online learning.
If we make the effort to protect our eyes from the sun’s blue light, why would we not practice the same caution by wearing blue light blocking glasses while on our digital devices?
It seems like a no-brainer!
Combine wearing GUNNAR’s patented blue light blocking glasses with exercise, a healthy diet (high in antioxidants and no smoking), along with sun protection, and you are doing all that you can control to reduce your risk of AMD and potential blindness!