Blue light is a component of visible light. Visible light from the sun is composed of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet light. Blue light rays have shorter wavelengths and scatter more easily. Blue light can be beneficial to our health, but does it harm our eyes? Can it cause macular degeneration?
BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF BLUE LIGHT
Blue light has beneficial effects. It helps regulate our circadian rhythm, which is our natural sleep and wake cycle, boosts alertness and elevates mood, and helps with memory and cognitive functions. Light therapy is sometimes used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a subtype of depression that usually begins in the fall and continues through the winter. The light source used for SAD therapy is bright white light that contains blue light.
DAMAGING EFFECTS OF BLUE LIGHT
Some eye care professionals are concerned that blue light exposure from digital screens might increase a person’s risk of macular degeneration later in life. However, there is no scientific evidence that blue light causes any type of damage to your eyes.
BLUE LIGHT AND SLEEP AND EYE STRAIN
Too much blue light from your phone, tablet, or computer can make it harder to get to sleep because the short-wavelength light emitted by these electronic devices may suppress melatonin, and phase-shift your biological clock. The eye fatigue and dryness you get from staring at your digital screens are most likely not from blue light but instead symptoms of digital eye strain.
When you focus on something for long periods of time without blinking enough your eyes will start to feel tired, fatigued, and dry. To reduce the feeling of eye strain you can use artificial tears, adjust your computer screen so your eye gaze is slightly downward, and use the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes shift your eyes and focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
A digital screen much brighter than the surrounding light also might cause eye strain, so try adjusting your room lighting or changing the contrast setting on your screen if your eyes feel strained during digital screen use.
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