Health & Beauty

What is Blue Light and How it Impacts Your Eyes

If you sit behind a computer screen all day, you are no stranger to the negative impact it has on your eyes.  Blurred vision, inability to focus, tension headaches, eye strain and fatigue are all symptoms of computer vision syndrome, or “CVS.”  CVS occurs when our eyes receive too much blue light.  Blue light, also known as high energy visible light, is emitted by the sun and also by our devices; handheld electronics, smart phones, computers, television screens are all classic offenders.  Blue light can also be emitted by some LED light bulbs and fixtures. 

The problem with blue light is that our eyes aren’t very good at blocking it.  That means it can penetrate our eyes through the cornea all the way to the retina, and that’s not a good thing.  While studies are still ongoing about the perils of blue light exposure, what we do know is that blue light affects our eyes in a negative way.   Here are several risks associated with blue light exposure to our eyes. 

Macular Degeneration

While the research is still in progress, there does seem to be a possible link between macular degeneration and blue light exposure.  This is mostly because blue light is able to penetrate through to the retina.  When cells of the retina are damaged, we begin to see similarities to the damage in a retina with macular degeneration.  If this seems concerning to you, you aren’t alone. 

Many people who sit behind a screen for their job are turning to blue light glasses to help protect their eyes from the amount of blue light they receive.  Blue light glasses can effectively refract the blue light entering the eye and send it out and away from the eye, thereby disallowing penetration of the blue light to the retina. 

Eye Strain

Because blue light is “high energy” light, it scatters more quickly than other forms of visible light.  What does this mean for your eyes?  It means your eyes must try harder to focus on the material being present through the blue light; i.e. text or images on your smart devices or computer screens.  As such, you may begin to feel like your eyes are straining to keep up with your on-screen work.  This can result in the aforementioned phenomenon of CVS.  CVS’s hallmarks are tired and fatigued eyes, eye pain and strain, redness and irritation in the eyes, headaches, blurred vision, inability to focus, neck, shoulder, and upper back pain, and even double vision. 

Thankfully, a great solution is to invest in a pair of blue light glasses to use when you will be behind a blue-light emitting device.  These glasses are typically very affordable and are excellent at filtering out much of the blue light our eyes receive when using the devices that we do on a daily basis.  The reduction in blue light to our eyes can have a huge impact on not only our eye health, but our overall feeling of alertness and wellbeing, as they can alleviate some of the aforementioned ailments like neck and shoulder pain and tension headaches. 

Blue Light and Cataract Surgery

If you’ve had cataract surgery, there’s evidence that using blue light glasses might be even more important for you.  During a cataract surgery procedure, a new type of lens is surgically implanted over your eye in place of your natural lens, which has become damaged.  Depending on the type of lens that is implanted into your eye, blue light may be able to enter it and reach the retina more effectively.  Therefore, it’s important to find out what type of lens has been used in your surgery, what kind of blue light protection it offers, and if blue light glasses are a good and necessary option for you to consider now that your surgery is complete. 

Blue Light Glasses

If you’re still confused about blue light glasses and what they do, here’s a little more information to help you make an informed decision about whether or not they are right for you. 

Blue light glasses are not vision correcting glasses, although they are available in vision-correcting prescription strengths.  Blue light glasses have specialized lenses that allow them to filter out some of the blue light that reaches your eyes, keeping your eyes protected from too much blue light exposure, and keeping you feeling energized and focused while you work. 

Blue light glasses are available in numerous style combinations and can be worn safely for as long as you are using a device or are behind a computer screen.  Use of blue light glasses will not prevent all blue light from entering your eyes, but they will drastically reduce the amount of blue light that your eyes receive which can be of great benefit for anyone who finds themselves in front of a screen or on a handheld blue light emitting device on a daily basis.