Seeing Blue How Blue Light Can Affect Your Health

Seeing Blue How Blue Light Can Affect Your Health

  • Post category:Social Life
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Scrolling and swiping on social media are commonplace in our world today. 

We spend lots of time staring at our screens which can be bad for our eyes.

Problems like blurry vision, eyestrain, dry eye, macular degeneration, and cataracts are linked to blue light from electronics. 

In some people, it causes sleep issues.

So, what is blue light?

It’s one of many colours in the visible light spectrum. The others are:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Indigo
  • Violet

They are also known by the acronym ROY G BIV. 

They are also known by the acronym ROY G BIV. 

Together, they make the white light you see when the sun — the main source of blue light — is shining. 

Fluorescent and LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs do give off blue light also.

Each colour in the visible light spectrum has a different wavelength and energy level.

However, blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy than other colours. 

Some research links eye damage to short-wave blue light with wavelengths between 415 and 455 nanometers. 

Smartphones, TVs, and tablets have light with wavelengths between 400 and 490 nanometers.

Blue Light and Your Eyes

In large amounts, high-energy light from the sun — like ultraviolet rays and blue light – increases your risk of eye disease. 

That’s raised concerns about whether blue light from digital screens is harmful. More research is needed.

Experts opine that digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, affects about 50% of computer users. 

Symptoms include dry, irritated eyes and blurred vision.

Blue light may also be harmful to your retinas. 

That’s called phototoxicity. 

The amount of damage depends on wavelength and exposure duration. 

Animal studies show even short exposure (a few minutes to several hours) may be harmful.

A filter that reduces 94% of blue light has been shown to lessen the damage.

There’s evidence blue light could lead to permanent vision changes. 

Almost all blue light passes straight through to the back of your retina. 

Some research has shown blue light may increase the risk of macular degeneration, which is a disease of the retina.

Research also shows blue light exposure may lead to age-related macular degeneration or AMD. 

One study found blue light triggered the release of toxic molecules in photoreceptor cells. This causes damage that may lead to AMD.

How Does Blue Light Affect Sleep

Screen time, especially at night, leads to poor sleep. 

The blue light from electronic devices interferes with your circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. 

A signal is sent to the brain to wake up when it should be winding down. 

In one study, as little as 2 hours of exposure to blue light at night slowed or stopped the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Switching off your digital devices at least 3 hours before bedtime can help.

Blue Light and Cancer

Blue light exposure might raise your risk for some cancers. 

One study found that people who work the night shift are at greater risk for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers.

Blue Light and Kids

Your baby’s eyes don’t filter blue light as well as yours do. 

Too much of it from device screens may raise their chances of developing obesity, nearsightedness, and decrease their focus. 

At night, it may slower release of melatonin in their bodies compared to yours. 

To protect their eyes, limit your child’s screen time. 

Have them put all electronic devices, including handheld game devices, away at least a half-hour before bedtime.

Blue Light and Mental Health

Nighttime exposure to blue light was connected to depressive symptoms in animal studies. 

But exposure to blue light during the day may have the opposite effect. 

It’s been used to treat seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

That’s a form of depression related to the changing of the seasons. 

Research shows 20 minutes of blue light exposure in the morning helps ease SAD symptoms. 

It is time to think about screen time, not only for your children, but for you too