Blue Light and Eye Health

What is Blue Light?

Much like ultraviolet or UV light, blue light is portion of the “visible light spectrum” and may lead to cataracts and other eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Sources of blue colored light include the sun, fluorescent and LED lighting, digital televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices. Since our exposure to high-intensity blue light has only been increasing in recent years, experts are still determining the long-term effects of exposure. Still, there are facts we can use to understand risk, and there are small steps we can take to reduce our exposure.

Blue Light Effects Sleeping Patterns

Scientists also know that blue light affects our sleep. Sunlight contains blue light, which signals to our brains that it is time to be awake. This is good during the day when we need to be alert. However, sleep researchers have found that blue colored light interferes with sleep patterns because it suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin is the key component in our chemistry that makes us wind down and feel sleepy. That means too much blue light in the evening will reduce melatonin product and have negative consequences on your sleep. The effects of blue light on sleep have been studied and the results show how nighttime exposure to blue light made it more difficult to fall asleep and reduced rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Reduced REM sleep leaves people feeling less rested in the morning, even if they get the same quantity of sleep as someone who read a book at night instead of doing an activity with blue light exposure such as browsing information on their phone, tablet, or watching TV.

Long-Term Effects of Blue Light Exposure

Beyond sleep disturbances, many experts are concerned that blue light exposure may be harmful to our vision. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation states that the most important hazard of blue colored light is retinal damage. The retina can be harmed by high-energy visible (HEV) radiation of blue/violet light that penetrates the macular pigment found in the eye, and the amount of retinal damage varies based on the wavelength of light, intensity, and time of exposure. It’s not clear how much blue light from screens can cause harm to the eyes. CFL lightbulbs emit much more blue light than the screen on a smartphone, for example, and sunlight is still the biggest contributor of blue light.

What does this mean for you? It’s critical to protect your eyes from the sun. Wearing a hat with a brim, and always using UV-blocking sunglasses is crucial. Many people are also finding that they’re more comfortable with alternatives to blue light emitting LED bulbs in their homes. Many products exist to give you calming ambient light.

Healthy Vision Habits

There are several ways to live in the digital world and protect your eyes. Make sure that you are viewing screens from an appropriate distance. Your computer screen should be at fingertip length when your arm is outstretched, directly in front of you. It’s also important to take a break from looking at a screen by focusing on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Do this at least once every 20 minutes to give your eyes a chance to rest and change focus.

Some patients also enjoy glasses with special lenses that help reflect and/or filter blue light for extended computer use and other activities that include use of blue light emitting devices.

Talk to Dr. Duong if you’re concerned about your blue light exposure!

Office Hours

We will do our best to accommodate your busy schedule. Request an appointment today!

Designer Eyewear

We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide.  

Featured Services

Designer Eyes offers our patient forms online so they can be completed in the convenience of your own home.

New patients receive 15% OFF first visit!

Sign-up using the form or call us at (215) 925-9830 to take advantage of this exclusive offer.

New Patient Sign Up

Contact

Designer Eyes

923 Arch St

Philadelphia, PA 19107

Get Directions

Phone: (215) 925-9830

Fax: (215) 925-0792

Email Us



Office Hours

Monday 1:00pm 6:00pm
Tuesday 10:00am 6:00pm
Wednesday 10:00am 6:00pm
Thursday 10:00am 6:00pm
Friday 10:00am 6:00pm
Saturday 10:00am 6:00pm
Sunday Closed

eye exams

Eye Exams

close up eye

How The Eye Works

close up eye

Introduction to the Eye

child eye exam

The Right Age for Contacts