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Blue Light: What It Is and How It Affects Our Eyes

Man wearing glasses

Modern living includes exposure to a light wavelength known as "Blue Light." While we may not even realize we are being exposed to it, blue light can affect our vision, sleep, and even moods. Increased screen times and reliance on computers for work and entertainment often lead to tired eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Exposure can cause eye damage in the long term.

At Rivertown Eye Care, we offer customized digital lens options that include Blue Light filtration for reduced eye strain and fatigue.

Let's learn the risks and how to safeguard our eyes from harmful blue light.


What is Blue Light?

Blue light is a type of visible light that falls within the 380 to 500-nanometer range, making it the shortest wavelength and highest energy of all visible light. Approximately one-third of all visible light is considered blue, with its primary source being sunlight. Artificial sources of blue light include fluorescent lights, LED TVs, computer monitors, smartphones, and tablet screens.

Our eyes do not block blue light very well, which means that this light passes straight through the front of the eye and into the retina. The brain then converts this into images.

Light wavelengths

Blue light hitting eye


Positive and Negative Effects of Blue Light

Exposure to blue light can have both positive and negative effects on our health. On the plus side, it can help regulate our circadian rhythm – or internal clock – which helps us stay alert during the day and sleep better at night.

Other benefits of blue light include boosting alertness, helping memory and brain function, and elevating mood.

However, too much exposure to blue light can cause digital eye strain due to its high energy levels. This can lead to headaches, fatigue, dry eyes, difficulty focusing, and other symptoms associated with prolonged use of digital devices. To reduce your exposure to blue light from these devices, you can use special glasses or filters that block out some of the harmful rays.

Blue light effects

Long-Term Health Effects of Blue Light

In recent years, people have become increasingly attentive to light pollution influences on their eyes, for good reason. Blue light can be harmful in large amounts. Exposure can have several long-term health effects, especially regarding sleep, eye strain, and age-related macular degeneration.

People also tend to blink less while using digital devices. This can cause eye strain and associated symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, and even neck and shoulder pain. The Vision Council found that between 27% and 35% of Americans have felt one of these symptoms after prolonged use of digital devices.

Phototoxicity is damage to the retinas caused by blue light. The severity varies based on wavelength and exposure time, though studies show even short exposure (a few minutes to several hours) may be harmful. A filter that cuts 94% of blue light has been shown to reduce damage.

Woman wearing glasses looking at computer

What You Can Do to Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light.

Protecting our eyes from blue light is essential, especially with the increasing use of digital devices. Blue light emitted from these phones and screens can cause eye strain, fatigue, and potential long-term damage to our eyes. At Rivertown Eye Care, we offer customized digital lens options that include Blue Light filtration for reduced eye strain and fatigue.

Here are some eye-health tips for reducing the harmful effects of blue light:

  • Talk to your optician about adding a blue light filter to your glasses.

  • Limit your screen time and take frequent breaks when using digital devices.

  • Use screen filters on smartphones, tablets, and computer screens to decrease the amount of blue light reaching the retina in our eyes.

  • Wear computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses can also help ease computer digital eye strain by increasing contrast and blocking out blue light.

  • Anti-reflective lenses are another option for reducing glare and increasing contrast while blocking out blue light from both the sun and digital devices.

By taking steps to reduce exposure to blue light, we can help protect our eyes from potential harm caused by prolonged exposure to this type of radiation. These precautions will ensure that we maintain healthy vision for years to come.


Blue Light Statistics

  • 80% of American adults use digital devices for more than two hours daily, according to the Vision Council)

  • Nearly 67% use two or more devices at the same time.

  • Generic lenses that filter blue light reduce negative effects by 10% to 23% without reducing quality.

  • About 50% of computer users experience digital eyestrain (computer vision syndrome).

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the number one cause of sight loss in people over 50 years old, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

  • Up to 9% of people will experience macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in adults in the western world.

  • Sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays are essential to protect the eyes from damage that could lead to cataracts, snow blindness, pingueculapterygium, and certain types of cancer.


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