Consumer technologies can enrich our lives, but they could also cause a number of problems. Digital screens, for example, emit blue light that affect health and wellbeing. It’s in your best interest to reduce exposure. You don’t have to avoid phones and monitors altogether. That may be impossible if you want to stay connected and productive as a modern worker. However, you can take frequent breaks, refrain from taking devices to bed, and wear blue light glasses. Let’s learn more about this type of light to understand why these strategies help.
Blue Light Characteristics
Bright screens are everywhere. We spend countless hours looking at them day and night. It wasn’t always like this. Evolution didn’t prepare us for the onslaught of artificial light, particularly high-energy blue light. On the visible spectrum, red has the longest wavelength and lowest energy. Blue has one of the shortest wavelengths and highest energy. The latter can penetrate deep into the retina. It can be helpful in the morning as it helps to wake us up and keep us alert.
Blue Light Health Effects
Unfortunately, it can be detrimental during the nighttime. It influences sleeping patterns. Longer exposure, higher concentrations, larger screens, and closer proximities make it worse. Any artificial light can disrupt the natural sleep cycle. Aside from gadgets, you must watch out for fluorescent, incandescent, and LED bulbs. Turns these off 30 minutes or so before you plan to sleep. Otherwise, you might experience the following issues:
1. Melatonin Production
Blue light signals the body to be awake. It is part of the sunshine we see at dawn. Once the sun goes down, our bodies also start to get sleepy. However, artificial light interferes with this natural phenomenon. When you look at screens, your body produces less of melatonin which is a chemical that helps you sleep.
2. Circadian Rhythm
Everyone has an internal clock. Even if you don’t have a watch, you tend to fall asleep and wake up at specific times of the day. We call this the circadian rhythm. Your immediate environment can dictate how it flows. If your bedroom is filled with artificial light, you may have trouble sleeping on a regular schedule.
Other colors are in the visible spectrum, but blue light tends to be more disruptive than the rest. For example, a comparison between blue and green light exposure showed that the former suppresses melatonin exposure for twice as long as the latter. Mitigation measures that focus on blocking blue light will therefore have better outcomes.
Problems Due to Blue Light
Don’t let exposure continue to escalate. You may already be feeling the early signs and symptoms. If you act early, you could turn things around and have a better outcome. If you ignore them, your problems could get worse over time. Below are some of the issues brought about by blue light:
1. Temporary Eye Strain
Do you feel tired all the time? Are you having difficulty looking directly at screens? Perhaps you are suffering from eye strain. The short wavelength of blue light results in a higher flickering frequency. Your eye muscles can get tired processing the information in front of you. After a few hours of working, you may experience blurred vision and debilitating headaches. Step away from your desk if this happens and try to relax your eyes.
Researchers also found out that we tend to blink less when looking at our smartphones, computers, and television screens. It is common to have a 60% reduction from the average blink rate. The eyes dry up faster this way since blinking is a natural method of lubrication. It contributes to eye strain and related difficulties.
2. Decreased Productivity
The physical pain can prevent you from focusing on your work. You can try to power through eye strain, but it will be inefficient. It is far better to prevent it in the first place by being mindful of your screen time. Reserve your best hours early in the day for work. Take breaks every half an hour or so to prevent tiredness. Limit scroll time at night so that you can sleep well and feel better when you wake up. Longer rest will replenish your energy.
3. Long-term Damage
Work can force people to stare at their screens all day. Examples include video editors, software engineers, and data analysts. They could work up to 18 hours a day just to beat deadlines. After a few years, they might feel the long-term damage from their unhealthy work habits. Welders and other manual laborers who are exposed to intense light may exhibit the same symptoms. These include cataracts, cancers, and macular degeneration that can lead to blindness.
Take blue light seriously. Its ill effects can lead to short-term inconveniences and long-term diseases. Reduce your exposure through the strategies discussed above. You can also wear glasses with a blue light filter to minimize the amount reaching your eyes. With this kind of eyewear, you can do your work and play your video games with more confidence. Talk to your eye doctor about your symptoms and consult them about wearing these glasses.