Most of us have an understanding that overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is bad for our eyes. We’ve learned to shop for sunglasses that have “100% UV Protection”. This is still good advice. However, due to a dramatic increase in our use of electronic devices and energy-efficient lighting, there’s increased concern about our exposure to another part of the visual spectrum... blue light.
Blue light itself is nothing new. It’s been present in natural sunlight and in artificial light in varying concentrations since the beginning of time. It’s actually very close to UV light in the visible light spectrum (Ultraviolet = 10-380 nm, Blue-violet = 380-455 nm). The difference is the level of exposure to blue light that we’re receiving in our modern world. The majority of this increase comes from our growing dependence on electronic devices, and how quickly this trend has occurred. Let’s look at a few dates that we can probably all relate to:
Looking back, who could believe that the iPhone and iPad have been in existence for less than 10 years! Many people couldn’t imagine living without them. Try taking away the smartphone from any of your family members and see what kind of reaction you get. According to the recently released 2016 Digital Eye Strain Report from The Vision Council, “Eyes Overexposed: The Digital Device Dilemma,” 90% of Americans spend at least two hours looking at digital devices each day. One in ten spends at least 75% of their waking hours staring at a screen, and nearly 70% of Americans use two or more devices simultaneously. 67% of people in their 30s spend five or more hours a day on digital devices. Children aren’t much better, with 33% of them using a digital device three or more hours each day. So what does all of this increased exposure to blue light mean for our eyes?
Blue light exposure and its impact on daily visual performance, eye disease and systemic health is becoming universally accepted, both in scientific literature and in the medical community. Here are the three major consequences of blue light overexposure:
The optical industry has taken blue light seriously and has developed a whole new generation of products to protect our eyes from overexposure. Innovative new lenses and coatings have been developed to shield our eyes from the flood of blue-violet light which we now endure every day. These products selectively filter out blue light and thereby protect our eyes against the negative effects outlined in this article. The doctors at Brookside Optometric recommend the addition of Sharper Image TechShield to our patient’s lenses. This unique product combines advanced blue light protection with premium AR (anti-reflective) properties to deflect as much as 80% of the blue light associated with visual strain, while still allowing the body and the eyes to receive the positive benefits of blue light like proper color perception, amplified attention levels, wakefulness and the proper regulation of sleep cycles. To learn more about blue light, and read research articles on the subject, go to www.sharperimagevision.com. Talk to your Brookside Optometric doctor about blue light protection for you and your family members.