As digital devices become ingrained in our daily lives, we continue to learn about the potential health ramifications of extended use. One of the most common concerns is blue light — the Blue-Violet light at the end of the spectrum, which is the most intense variety visible to human eyes.
Like many things that are negative in excess, blue light is both normal and healthy in the right amount and at the right time.
Blue-Turquoise light is instrumental in helping your body establish its circadian rhythm, the so-called biological clock that tells you when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time for bed. It’s crucial to maintaining proper memory function, alertness, cognitive ability, and general mood regulation.
Blue light assists in the treatment of various medical conditions. Blue-Green light is vital to phototherapy utilized to reduce bilirubin levels in the blood of newborn babies. Blue light therapy is employed to fight skin conditions including acne, and is effective against actinic keratosis (AKs). It’s even been proven to aid sufferers of seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that occurs due to lack of sunlight during winter months.
So, why all the bad press about blue light? A portion of the blue light spectrum, Blue-Violet light, can be harmful to delicate retinal cells deep in the eye. The world has become largely reliant on smartphones, tablets, and laptops — technologies with displays that often produce large amounts of blue light.
The long-term effects may be severe. Studies have shown that Blue-Violet light is a risk factor for the onset of age-related macular degeneration, a progressive condition that can lead to vision loss over time.
Many of us rely on digital devices not only for entertainment and information, but for work as well. When your job requires an abundance of daily screen time, it is important to limit exposure to harmful light. In addition to lowering your monitor’s brightness level and optimizing your desk ergonomics, make sure you’re wearing lenses that help protect your eyes from overexposure to Blue-Violet light. And always remember the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes of screen time, give yourself at least 20 seconds of time staring at something 20-plus feet away.