Blue Light
What You Need To Know

By itself, the term blue light does not seem that dangerous. We are exposed to it every day thanks to the sun, it is also found in most electronic devices as well as compact fluorescent and LED lights. Unfortunately, over-exposure has been linked to higher risks of cancer, heart disease, insomnia, and eye disease. Keep reading to understand more about the risks and effects of this light as well as steps you can take to prevent over-exposure.

What is Blue Light?

The visible light spectrum refers to the narrow band of wavelengths and frequencies accessible to the naked eye, which is about 400-700 nanometers (nm). It is considered a high-energy visible light, or HEV. It is a short wavelength that occurs from around 400-500 nm. Our eyes’ ability to process visible light is what tells us that grass is green, and the sky is blue.

It is an essential part of our daily life, because it is one of the main components of both natural and artificial lighting. It lights our world and helps to energize us, so we could not exist very well without it. Unfortunately, since blue light is high-energy and high frequency, it is more dangerous to our sensitive eyes. We can limit extended sun exposure and wear protective sunglasses outside, but our ever-increasing use of electronics means that indoor exposure is on the rise.

How Blue Light Affects Your Eyes

Over-exposure to high-energy visible lights, or HEVs, can cause damage in many different ways. Here are a handful of problems associated with this light:

1. Pinquecula and Cataracts
A pinquecula is a non-cancerous growth that affects the sclera, or white part of your eyes. Pterygium, another type of conjunctiva disease, is elevated and affects the eye’s cornea. Both of these are caused by prolonged exposure to the sun.

Cataracts are unfortunately one of the leading causes of vision loss. It is the clouding of your eye’s lens, which lies just below your iris and pupil and controls your ability to focus on objects. Cataracts develop as a result of the way our body ages, but the risk may be increased by many factors, including UV radiation.

2. Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is also a leading cause of vision loss and impairment. This condition develops due to cumulative damage in the retina, which is the area at the back of your eye that controls optic nerves and image translation and recognition. Macular degeneration can be hereditary, but many other elements can increase your risk of developing it. It  is among these risk factors due to its intensity.

3. Reduction in Melatonin
If you have trouble falling asleep, it may be because of blue light. High concentrations of blue light can reduce your body’s regulation and production of melatonin, a hormone essential for sleep. Some exposure is essential for natural and artificial lighting because it keeps us alert and energized, but we need to limit our exposure before bedtime.

Sources and Preventatives

We all know that sunscreen is necessary, but just how important are sunglasses? It  occurs naturally in the sun, which means that extended outside exposure can be dangerous for both your skin and eyes. A high-quality pair of sunglasses is an essential when it comes to blocking all forms of ultraviolet light and most high-energy visible (HEV) light. You can also wear oversized or hooded caps to help keep your eyes in the shade.

In addition, It is prevalent in electronic devices, including cell phones, computers, and artificial lighting. As our electronic consumption has increased, so has our risk of developing problems related to blue light. Limit your electronic use at bedtime, and take frequent breaks while web browsing during the day. There are also adaptive products available, such as lenses, which can help protect you from over-exposure.

With a dilated eye exam and family history questionnaire, your optometrist can help you determine if you are high-risk for developing eye disease or other conditions. Limiting your exposure to this light will help keep your eyes healthy.

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