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Blue light has been something which people have started to become more and more conscious of and often it's portrayed in a negative light, so what is it?
In layman's terms, blue light is part of the HEV section of the light spectrum which can be seen by the human eye. We are exposed to it every day via the sun, however, we have also brought blue light into our homes with the introduction of LED lighting and electronic devices.
When it comes to our mobiles, tablets and TV's which only emit a fraction of the percentage of blue light emitted by the sun, the concerns fall to not where the blue light is coming from, but the amount of time we are spending absorbing the light. But, with our devices especially phones being part of our daily lives and laptops which a large number of people depend on for work we need to start protecting ourselves from this potentially damaging light.
Fun fact: Did you know that it's actually down to the blue light from the sun as to why the sky appears blue? When the blue light rays scatter into the air they strike air and water molecules, "the higher degree of scattering of these rays is what makes a cloudless sky look blue".
More research needs to be done surrounding the potential harm we are causing to ourselves by being glued to our devices but some research on the power of blue light has already been done. In fact, blue light is one of a few in the spectrum that can penetrate all the way to the retina of your eye. From this, we already can start to understand the damage that if we absorb too much blue light it could not only damage your eyesight but it could lead to permanent vision loss. Now, just because this is true, it's only extreme circumstances. With there being concerns for the past few years a few companies are already making a start at protecting us before any damage can be done.
Photo credit: Thrive Global
One of those companies is Felix Gray. Starting out in 2016 when co-founder David Roger launched their non-prescription glasses, their blue-light-blocking glasses have been taking care of our eyes since. Understanding the importance of they state that "the two of the main culprits behind Digital Eye Strain are Blue Light and glare". Although it is very common to experience the symptoms every so often, in fact, The American Optometric Association estimates that 50% - 90% of computer users suffer symptoms of Digital Eye Strain.
But, Blue light isn't all doom and gloom, in fact, it does also have its benefits. The sun is the main source of blue light when it emits UV light, but the blue light from the sun makes us more active, more attentive in work and also positively affects the brain. By our bodies reacting in this way, is what makes us want to be proactive in the day in order to sleep at night when the sun dips beneath the horizon. So by completely removing blue light from our vision allows our bodies to slow down and be able to go to sleep restlessly. This is why going on your phone at night can disrupt your sleep and keep you awake at night, so with any digital screens at night you should turn the blue light off or activate 'night mode'.
Photo credit: Iristech
So all in all, blue light when understood doesn't have to be scary and definitely doesn't need to misunderstood as the peril of eyesight in the short term. But, be you should definitely be more wary with the amount of time you spend staring a digital screen all day/night. Be proactive and spend time doing something less straining on your eyes like reading a book or catching up with your friends and family.