We can’t deny that our screen time has drastically increased over the past decade. A 2014 Nielsen report found that the average adult logs about 11 hours of screen time a day. Consequently, looking at a screen for extended periods of time leaves your eyes feeling strained, dry and blurry. Cell phone, computer and television screens emit a type of visible light called blue light. While blue light occurs naturally everywhere, the display screens of our technology emit significant amounts over the prolonged periods of time we spend in front of them. Many eye doctors and health care professionals are concerned about the long-term effects of blue light on our vision health.
Eye’s Natural Filters
The adult human eye is naturally effective at blocking UV rays from reaching the retina at the back of the eyeball. All visible blue light passes through the cornea, lens and is able to reach the retina (the inner lining of the back of the eye). This leads to serious and permanent eye-damage such as macular degeneration, cone cell death and potential blindness. Eye doctors are generally concerned about how much man-made blue light is too much blue light.
Digital Eye Strain
Because blue light has short-wavelengths and high energy, it is not as easily focused as other visible light. When looking at screens for an extended period of time, the unfocused visual “noise” reduces contrast of the images and contributes to digital eye strain.
What you can do about it:
There’s no need to cut out screen time all together as that is completely unrealistic in today’s day and age. If you find yourself using your phone or computer regularly, an easy way to reduce blue light exposure is to use protective eyewear. Blue light glasses are available without an eyeglass prescription and have been designed to not only protect the eyes from blue light, but also provide 100% UV light protection. Most eyeglass brands are designing blue light glasses in a variety of styles, so you can look good and maintain optimal eye health!
Written by GUADS intern Lindsey with contributions from allaboutvision.com