The Effects of Blue Light on Your Eyes

When you look outside and see a rainbow, you’re seeing a glorious display of the spectrum of light. Sunlight looks white, but is really a combination of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. Each color of light has different features and effects on the eye. 

Sunlight has a lot of blue light, along with the other colors in the spectrum too. You’re also exposed to blue light every time you flip on a light switch or look at your phone. Right now, as you read this article, blue light is entering your eyes from the screen on your device. 

What are the effects of blue light on your eyes? Can too much blue light cause vision problems?

What Makes Blue Light Unique?

Each color of light has different energy levels and wavelengths. Generally, the larger the wavelength, the lower the energy level. Blue light has a fairly short wavelength and a high energy level. 

The retina is most sensitive to light with short wavelengths, including blue light, and some studies suggest that retinal damage can occur from blue light exposure. Screens emit light closely to the face and eyes, ensuring the much of the blue light they emit, will enter the eye.  Children’s eyes absorb more blue light from screens than adult eyes. 

Blue light has benefits too. It boosts alertness and memory. It can also improve cognitive function. This boost to alertness and productivity makes blue light an ideal choice for computer screens in the workplace. Blue light also offers mood boosting benefits. Studies show that blue light exposure during the day can help to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. 

Night can be a problematic time for blue light. This type of light can suppress the secretion of melatonin, shifting circadian rhythms and potentially causing sleep disruptions. Reducing screen use right before bed may counteract some of these effects. 

Like most things in life, blue light has both positives and negatives. Moderate exposure allows for the enjoyment of the benefits while reducing the potentially negative effects. 

Limiting Blue Light Exposure: What You Can Do

If you’re feeling negative effects, like digital eyestrain, from too much blue light, these tips can lower your exposure. 

  • Limit Screen Time- Computers, phones, and tablets all emit blue light. Reduce screen time if you can, and when you can’t, give your eyes frequent breaks. The 20-20-20 rule may be helpful. Every 20 minutes of screen use take a 20 second break and focus on something 20 feet away. We realize that screens are pervasive and important, but most people can moderately reduce their screen use while enjoying all the benefits of modern technology. 
  • Filter It- Some eyeglasses offer a blue light filter. This filtering works similarly to sunglasses and their UV blocking effects by blocking a portion of the light spectrum, specifically blue light. Screen filters, or filtering apps, may also be available for some of your devices. 
  • Correct Your Vision- Blue light isn’t the only cause of digital eyestrain. Poor vision can also contribute to uncomfortable eyes after computer use.  LASIK eye surgery improves vision by reshaping the cornea and reducing refractive errors. 
  • Visit Your Eye Doctor- If you’re struggling with eyestrain or other vision problems, visit your eye doctor and let them know. 

Call Will Vision and Laser Centers to schedule your LASIK consultation. We have convenient office locations in both Salem, OR and Vancouver, WA.