More and more people are talking about blue light. Blue light cancelling screens and glasses are certainly on the rise. Our beloved energy-saving LED lights may be helping the environment, but they’re also exposing us to more blue light than ever before.
Is blue light really harmful?
Although some lens companies may cite studies claiming increased retinal tissue damage when exposed to high frequency light waves from the “blue” part of the spectrum, these studies were done using energy levels many times above those emitted by any commercially available electronic device, and for very long periods of time. Truthfully, there is little to no evidence suggesting that every day blue light exposure causes lasting damage to the eyes. Most blue-light filtered lenses only block around 30% of the blue light emitted from screens. If it were truly a health risk, you would be better served to simply turn down the brightness on your devices.
However, this doesn’t mean blue light comes without any visual effects whatsoever. Because it occurs on the end of the color spectrum, blue light has more energy than other colors, and there is some evidence to suggest that this increased energy may be responsible for limiting the brain’s ability to produce melatonin, which in turn could affect sleep patterns.
The brain’s rhythm of knowing when to wake up and fall asleep has much to do with light. Unfortunately, blue light’s high frequency may be signaling the brain that it’s time to wake up. This might explain why some have trouble falling asleep when looking at bright screens before going to bed.
What you can do
In any case, many screens are now coming with the function that enables them to replace blue light with a lower-frequency colored light. We recommend that you enable this function for night-time screen use. Screen protectors and glasses may also be worth looking into. As further studies teach us more about a possible relationship between blue light and vision, more evidence-based recommendations will be available, but for now we hope that you and your family can mainly focus on taking care of your eyes in those night-time hours when the brain needs to get ready to fall asleep.