Does your work require that you stare at a computer screen all day? Did the pandemic lockdown lead you to spend more time staring at your laptop or phone?
With the advent of digital technology, we’re hearing the phrase “digital eye strain” more frequently as individuals are steadily increasing their use of digital screens.
It’s no surprise then that blue light lenses have seen a significant uptick in sales since last year – but do you really need special glasses to avoid the negative effects of extended screen use?
To best answer that question, let’s look at how blue light works and how it can sometimes be too much of a good thing:
What is Blue Light?
The electromagnetic waves that travel around us are mostly invisible but a small band of waves, known as visible light, can be detected by the human eye.
Blue light has short, high-energy waves and is only slightly less powerful than UV (ultraviolet) waves – which we know can have harmful effects on your skin and eyes.
Sunlight is the main source of blue light but there are also many indoor, man-made sources of this type of light such as fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, and digital devices including computers, tablets, smartphones, and flat-screen televisions.
The amount of blue light emitted by these devices only amounts to a fraction of what we are exposed to from the sun. However, we spend a lot of time using these devices in close proximity to our eyes. This can lead to long-term effects on our eye health.
Blue Light and Digital Eye Strain
Not only are tablets, smartphones, and other digital displays changing the way we are exposed to blue light, but they are also changing our visual behavior.
When we fail to take the time to allow our eyes to look into the distance, they don’t have the opportunity to relax and we lose the ability to focus quickly for various distances.
We also blink less which decreases the frequency in which our cornea is moistened by tear fluid. This can lead to dry, strained, and tired eyes and can potentially impair our vision.
Digital Eye Strain, also known as Computer Vision Syndrome, can affect even the healthiest eyes and cause issues such as blurred vision, eyestrain, and headaches with prolonged computer use.
Those who suffer from uncorrected hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia may have a more uncomfortable experience looking at a screen.
The Benefits of Blue Light
However, despite the negative effects man-made blue light can have on our eyes, being exposed to it naturally is necessary. Blue light helps boost alertness, improves memory and cognitive function, and elevates mood.
It also regulates your circadian rhythm, which is the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. This is why too much blue light at night can throw off your sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall asleep and causing fatigue the next day.
Blue light therapy is also used to treat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a type of depression that occurs during changes in the seasons, usually at the beginning of fall and continuing through winter.
So while blue light is good for you, too much in close proximity can be harmful. It’s unlikely that we’re going to shelve our digital devices anytime soon, especially those we need for work, so what can we do to protect our eyes from blue light and digital eye strain?
If you find yourself suffering the ill effects of blue light exposure due to digital screens, you should consider getting blue light lenses.
How Do Blue Light Lenses Work?
Blue light lenses filter out the high-energy blue light frequencies from the visible light spectrum. They are designed with a barely noticeable tint that will not affect the way your eye views color.
Since blue light is necessary to help regulate your circadian rhythms, you don’t need to block 100% of it. Blue light lenses only block enough blue light to help your eyes feel more relaxed and alleviate a variety of symptoms associated with prolonged screen use.
And you don’t need to wear prescription glasses to enjoy the benefits of blue light lenses! Even if you wear contact lenses, you can purchase blue light lenses without a prescription to help save your eyes from the detrimental effects of prolonged screen use.
Also, blue light lenses can be specially prescribed to optimize your vision based on the specific distance from which you view your devices and screens.
Do I Need Blue Light Lenses?
It’s probably a good idea for anyone who uses a computer or digital screen for extended periods of time during the day or evening to have blue light lenses.
This is especially true if you have problems falling asleep or notice that your eyes feel sore, tired, and strained. Also watch for symptoms such as dry eyes, blurred visions, and headaches.
However, there are steps you can take throughout the day to alleviates symptoms of extended screen use:
- Position yourself so that your eyes are an arm’s length away from your screen.
- Hold handheld devices below eye level.
- Adjust the brightness of your screen to reduce glare.
- Increase the text size to make reading more comfortable for your eyes.
- Dim surrounding lights to decrease eye strain.
- Remind yourself to blink more often.
- Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
- Put away your digital screens at least 3 hours before bed.
- Add a filter to your computer, tablet, or smartphone or switch your device to “night mode”.
These steps, along with blue light lenses, may be all it takes to promote good eye health and prevent serious eye conditions from developing in the future.
For more information on blue light lenses please book an appointment at The Eye Clinic.
Our knowledgeable optometrist will be more than happy to answer your questions and find the perfect product to suit your unique needs!