What Are The Effects Of Blue Light?
By now you’ve probably heard about blue light and its negative effects. Phones have started to add blue light filter modes to their software, computers programs that block out blue light from computer monitors are increasing in popularity, and there are even special glasses you can buy to protect your eyes from blue light when you have to look at digital screens all day. So what’s with all the hype? Why are so many people suddenly concerned with blue light and its effects on eye health, sleep, and if it’s okay to expose their children to? At Poudre Valley Eye Care in Fort Collins, we are going to dive into what blue light is and its various effects on the human body.
If you need a great family eye care center in Fort Collins for eye exams, contact lenses, or eye health reach out to us at Poudre Valley Eye Care today!
What is blue light?
Simply put, blue light is, well, light that is blue. Every color your brain can perceive is on the visible light spectrum. The visible light spectrum is comprised of every wavelength of energy that can be sensed by your eyes with red being on the low energy side of the spectrum and blue being on the high energy side.
The white light that the earth baths in from the sun contains red, orange, yellow, green, and large amounts of blue light. Blue light is a high-energy wave that can be admitted from a number of different sources including but not limited to:
- The sun
- Computer monitors
- Smartphone screens
- Tablet screens
- Television screens
- LED lights
- Fluorescent lights
- CFL lights
The number one source of blue light is unquestionably the sun, all other man-made sources like screens and light bulbs pale in comparison to the amount of high-energy blue light waves the sun produces. Though they produce less light than the sun itself, optometrists are still concerned about the potential long-term effects of being exposed to large amounts of high-energy blue light.
It’s a good idea to get regular eye exams and checkups from your eye doctor to keep tabs on your eye health and make sure your eyes are in tip-top shape. In the Fort Collins area, Poudre Valley Eye Care is the go-to vision care expert. Learn more about us here.
How does blue light affect the human body?
Blue light has a few different ways it can interact with the human body. Like anything in life, blue light can be a good thing when you aren’t exposed to too much.
Benefits of blue light
Blue light is an important part of our overall health. When sensed by the eye, the brain is signaled to suppress the production of melatonin. As you may already know, melatonin is responsible for making you feel sleepy. Melatonin is helpful when you want to fall asleep and stay asleep. In the morning, though, you want to shake off your groggy feeling and have razor-sharp focus as you go about your day.
If your melatonin levels aren’t reduced from blue light from sunlight triggering its suppression, you would likely be a lot more zombie-like throughout your day. Long story short is that blue light helps regulate your sleep patterns and can help improve your focus, alertness, and overall brain function.
Negative effects of blue light
When exposed to an overabundance of blue light, it can cause a number of problems in your life with eye health, sleep patterns, headaches, and more.
Eye diseases with a connection with blue light
There are a few eye diseases potentially linked to overexposure to blue light like:
- Macular degeneration – This is the wearing down of the part of your eye known as the macula. Macular degeneration leads to potentially permanent vision reduction/vision loss.
- Digital eyestrain – This is an increasingly common eye health problem that consists of dry eyes, eye fatigue, or eye irritation from looking at a digital screen for long periods of time.
- Damaged retina – Though not enough research has been done, long-term exposure to high amounts of blue light could damage the retina.
Humans are incredibly complex and possess the capacity for great intelligence. Unfortunately, the human body isn’t very good at blocking out blue light when you need to sleep or relax. With phones, tablet, and computer screens that are constantly pumping out blue light, your brain can get a bit confused. When you need to relax and get some sleep, your brain might still be suppressing melatonin because it is still getting blue light input from the light coming from your devices or from the light bulbs in your environment. This can ultimately disrupt our sleep patterns and in some cases create an insomnia problem.
Blue light is a crucial aspect of our overall health and sleep cycles, but when your eyes are constantly exposed to blue light, it can contribute to alarming eye health issues. If you are worried about your exposure to blue light, you can take precautions like installing blue light filter apps of your devices and changing out bulbs in your home to a warmer orange/yellow hue.
If you have any questions or want to schedule an eye exam to make sure that blue light has not had any negative effects of your eye health, visit us at Poudre Valley Eye Care in Fort Collins.