In the present, there are many things that can cause us harm. The food we eat is dangerous. The air we breathe is dangerous. Heck, some innocent toys are even deadly. And it’s good. At least we are aware and in return, we get to protect ourselves from it.
And to add to this slew of precautions, have you heard about blue light? Well, you should! It has good and bad effects. And this is what you can do about it.
Well, we won’t get into the complicated science of it. Just think about sunlight containing different colors of light rays. It has red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and other colors. All these colors combined create “white light” or sunlight.
But if you pick the individuals colors, note that they have certain wavelengths. And with each individual wavelength determines how strong the light is. Refer to the table below:
The energy contained in light is stronger when the wavelength is relatively shorter and it is weaker when the wavelength is longer. It is inversely proportional. Based on the chart above, the weakest one is leaning towards the red one and the highest one goes to the UV light regions.
The greatest source of blue light is sunlight. But there are other man-made sources such as:
CFL Bulbs and Fluorescent Light
Digital Devices (Monitors, Smartphones, and Tablets)
So going back, we all know UV light can be deadly with prolonged exposure. Something in the likes of sun burns to extreme cases of skin cancer.
But what about blue light? With the potential to contain strong energy, does it pose a serious threat against us? Is it even ok to be exposed to it?
You Don’t Have to Be Too Afraid, Blue Light Has Benefits
You don’t need to succumb to your intense paranoia. Blue light can be good for you.
In a study, the participants who were exposed to blue light performed faster in the memory task given to them thereafter. The blue light brought alertness, better memory, and cognitive function.
Blue light is also important to maintain our circadian rhythm. It’s the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. It is essential to be shined with blue light during the morning to maintain the normal cycle our body needs because waking up and sleeping at the same hours have numerous health benefits. It makes us sleep better and prevent tiredness when we wake up.
A study even suggests that the case of nearsightedness might be reduced when you stroll 40 minutes outside a day. Not to mention, alongside the blue light from the sun, it can also aid in acquiring Vitamin D when you are hit with UVB as well. So what are we supposed to be afraid of again?
Disrupts Circadian Rhythm and Quality Sleep
At nighttime, what is your usual routine? Watch TV? Play with your smartphone? Me too. But this might cost you your quality sleep.
We talked about blue light helping during the day for our circadian rhythm. But the problem arises when we are exposed to it during the night. What happens is that it disrupts your circadian rhythm which in term results to low quality sleep. If you don’t get restful sleep for a long period of time, you will surely develop unfortunate complications in the long run.
Digital Eye Strain
The blue light from your digital devices can lead to digital eye strain. It’s observed that we blink about 15 times a minute. And with blue light decreasing contrast, the eyes might blink lesser when reading, watching, or playing on the screen.
This results in digital eye strain. You might feel fatigue, dry eyes, sore or irritated eyes, a headache, blurred vision, and/or neck and shoulder pain. This inconvenience is enough to warrant preventive measures.
Blue light is relatively stronger. It penetrates to the retina and damages the cells in it. This premature aging of the eyes can result in vision loss. This might lead to macular degenerationespecially later in life.
There haven’t been enough studies to know how much is enough. But with so much blue light in place, it’s just due diligence to at least lessen the exposure.
What to Do Then?
Now we know both sides, what do we do about it then? Well, you can’t be wrong with the old adage: “Too much of anything is bad for you”.
So the first thing we can do is lessen our screen time especially before going to sleep. Some suggest that we stop using our devices one hour before sleeping.
And in cases where we really need to be in front of a digital screen, you can use eyewear specifically used against blue light. Some screen protectors also have blue light filters. So you may get protected with it as well.
Prevention is better than cure. So with that, I hope we are ready to counter the effects of blue light because with the future digital innovations, for sure, there is more exposure to come. Be safe!