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What Are the Dangers of High Energy Blue Light?

There's been a lot of talk lately about high energy blue light rays and the effects it can have on your health. It's become a topic of interest in the health field due to the large amount of time we spend looking at screens, particularly LED screens. This is especially concerning in children. You may have heard about high frequency blue light in passing; maybe you've been a little curious about it but weren't sure exactly what it is and how it works. Well this article will hopefully clear things up for you.

First, let’s clarify that blue light is referring to the frequency, not the color. Blue light is in the 450-495 nanometer range. This frequency of light has been found to:

  • Suppress melatonin production which leads to disrupted circadian rhythm/sleep disorders

  • Lead to eye strain by causing the pupil muscles in your eyes to spasm

  • Cause increased glare and decreased contrast on screens

  • Possibly increase risk of macular degeneration via long term exposure

But isn’t blue light in sunlight?

Yes, it certainly is, but it is distributed with other frequencies of light in a natural pattern as shown here:

Whereas digital screens emit an unnaturally large proportion of blue light:

Who is most at risk and why?

  • Those who spend two or more hours on digital devices per day are exposed to excess blue light

  • Those that use digital screens before bed are more at risk for circadian rhythm disruption

  • Children because their immature lens cannot block blue light allowing it to reach the retina

  • People who have had cataract surgery because their artificial lens does not block blue light

  • Those who are prone to macular degeneration (smokers, family history, poor diet, light colored eyes, etc) are more sensitive to the effects of blue light

So it's clear that blue light is having an effect on our health in a number of ways. Since this is a relatively new field of research, we will learn more about it over time. Until then, it's probably a good idea to try to limit your exposure to screens. Easier said than done in today's computer- and phone-centric world.

So what can we do about it?

New optical technology has allowed the industry to design an eyeglass lens feature that can block the harmful blue light rays without affecting the optical clarity of the lens.

Are all blue blocking lenses the same?

No! Some brands put a coating on the outside of the lens. Others embed the blue blocking technology into the polymer of the lens itself. Others combine it with the anti-glare coating (which we have found to be less effective). The material of the lens you choose also plays a role in the effectiveness of blocking blue frequency light.

Insight Eye Clinic is happy to demonstrate the effectiveness of blue blocking lenses in person if you're interested in seeing it first hand. If you want to learn about lens options designed specifically to block blue light, stop by and see us today! We look forward to showing you :)


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