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Image of two kids using tablet under blanket at night.
2nd November 2017

What is blue light?

Blue light is harmful, because it’s the highest energy wavelength of visible light. This energy is able to penetrate all the way to the back of the eye, but our eyes’ natural filters do not provide sufficient protection against blue light rays through the eyes’ natural filters, and that’s the problem.

Image of blue light shown in light spectrum.

The biggest issue is the amount of blue light exposure that we get it each day through digital device use like: computers, smartphones, tablets, televisions and even lights in rooms. This prolonged exposure to blue light may cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of vision.

Image of chronic eye problems linked to blue light

Effects

Continual extended screen time can impact your eyes in two major ways:

1. Digital eye strain: When we look at a screen, our blink rate drops significantly, and our eyes won’t put up with that for too long without fuss. Maybe your eyes feel dry, runny or tired after scrolling through your Facebook feed, or maybe you get a headache after a few hours on the computer.

These symptoms are often so common that we don’t even recognize them as real issues. While digital eye strain is temporary, if you’re not being careful it could become a chronic problem.

2. Blue light exposure: As explained above, blue light exposure is another major way how extended screen time can impact your eyes. Especially children, according to a recent NEI-funded study, children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adults from digital device screens. A screen may be a child’s distraction, but to young eyes it can be a disturbance.

Children are especially at risk when it comes to the negative effects of blue light exposure because their eyes are still developing, and they don’t yet have the protective pigments in their eyes to help filter out some of this harmful blue light.

 

Infographic on blue light

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