The Dark Side of Blue Light

2020/12/02
The Dark Side of Blue Light
Blue light is everywhere - in the sunlight- which makes the sky blue- & in your electronic devices.

Blue light is everywhere. It’s in the sunlight- which makes the sky blue- and in your electronic devices. This includes flat-screen TVs, computer screens, and mobile phones. 

 

Sunlight comprises 7 component colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet- as illustrated by the image above, which would also make a good album cover for a rock band.

Compared to the sun, electronic devices don’t emit very much blue light. However, if you’re like most people, you probably spend all day staring at screens.

Wake up, check handphone. Eat breakfast, check handphone. Next, get on the computer while simultaneously resisting/ giving in to the urge to Whatsapp, watch videos, pay bills, sneak a couple of games and occasionally snoop on your ex. In the evening, we eat our meals with a spoon in one hand and a mobile in the other. Followed by TV-time.

If you spend say 5 hours a day in front of a screen, that works out to 1,865 hours or 76 days a year staring non-stop at a computer. Scary! No wonder you’re squinting just to read this line.

 

How blue light affects the human eye

Our cornea and lens are great at blocking UV rays from reaching the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eyeball. So much so that less than 1% of the sun’s UV radiation reaches the retina, even if you aren’t wearing sunglasses. It’s not so good at blocking blue light though. Almost all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and hits the retina.


If blue light was a footballer, it would have no problems dribbling past your defenses.

  1. Blue light weakens the retina

The retina is covered with delicate light-sensitive cells. The central part of the retina is called the macula. If a surface is pounded repeatedly, that surface becomes weaker over time. Similarly, long-term exposure to blue light weakens the macula - potentially leading to permanent vision loss.


The macula is only about only about 5mm across but is responsible for all of our central vision, most of our colour vision and the fine detail of what we see. Macula is not related to Dracula. Image from Freepik/ Katemangostar

  1. It causes digital eye strain

No, we not talking about your robotic left eye. This is about straining to read the little words after staring at the computer for some time. Scientists say it takes as little as two hours to cause digital eye strain. Symptoms include dry, irritated eyes; blurred vision; eye fatigue; and headaches.


Digital eyestrain has overtaken carpal-tunnel syndrome as the number one computer-related complaint. That, and losing to 14-year olds on Clash Royale. Image from Pexels.com

  1. People with cataracts are especially vulnerable

If you have cataracts and are about to have cataract surgery, your surgeon may insert intraocular lens (IOLs) into your eye. IOLs are medical devices implanted inside the eye to replace the eye's natural lens after it is removed during cataract surgery. There are many types of IOLs- ask your surgeon how much blue light protection your IOL offers.

Wait, does that mean blue light is evil?

Like most things, blue light should be taken by moderation. Research has shown that high-energy visible light enhances alertness, helps memory and cognitive function, and puts you in a better mood overall. As well, blue light is helps regulate your circadian rhythm, ie the body’s natural wakefulness and sleep cycle.


Not to be confused with Cicada Rhythm, a folk music group from Athens feat. the sounds of Andrea DeMarcus and Dave Kirslis.

However, too much blue light, especially late at night, disrupts this cycle. It’s probably one of the reasons why you toss and turn all night and feel tired the next the morning.

Protect your eyes with Essilor Blue Light Glasses

Now available on dmart.my, Foster Grant® Blue Light e.Glasses are the perfect complement to your daily work day. These glasses come without magnification- meaning, they do not make things look bigger, sharper or clearer than they already are. It does however reduce glare and improve contrast.

More importantly, the patented lens coating blocks out approximately 30% of potentially harmful blue light- helping fight the temporary effects of digital eye strain. And yes, you can use it both indoors and outdoors.

Wearing glasses will not make you unrecognizable, no matter what Clark Kent tells you.

Designed for comfort, our e.Glasses feature spring hinges and comes with a soft travel pouch. Available in kid and adult sizes. Until science figures out how to grow an eyeball, protecting your vision is the least you can do while staring at the computer.

Right, time to look at something else now.

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Protect your eyes with Foster Grant Blue Light Glasses by FGX, an Essilor Company. Article was written with Essilor Singapore.