Blue light is a high-energy visible light, defined with a wavelength that falls between 450-495 nm. Like ultraviolet light and radiation, it poses both benefits and dangers to human beings.
If you spend two hours or more in front of a computer or mobile device, you are exposing your eyes to blue light which can lead to digital eye strain. Digital eye strain is defined as physical eye discomfort after using digital devices for extended periods of time. All phones, laptops, and tablets use LEDs, which emit significant amounts of blue light.
Below, we detail some facts about blue light.
Understanding Blue Light
While blue light is primarily present in sunlight, it is becoming increasingly common indoors as well. This is due to the popularity of fluorescent and LED lighting and appliances. Flat screen televisions, computer and laptop display panels, smartphones, and tablets are all significant sources of blue light. Even though they only emit a fraction generated by the sun, the amount of time we spend in close proximity using these devices have had many eye care professionals concerned about its possible long-term effects.
Blue Light’s Effect on the Eye
While the cornea and lens of the eye are effective at blocking the sun’s ultraviolet rays from reaching the retina, all blue light passes through the anterior parts of the eye.
Because the light can make its way to the retina, it can damage the light-sensitive cells contained within. This results in changes to the retina that can cause degeneration of the macula, which can then lead to permanent loss of vision as the macular pigment deteriorates.
Benefits of Blue Light
Blue light is important in regulating the body’s natural sleeping and waking cycles, also known as the circadian rhythm. Exposing yourself to it during the day can help you maintain that rhythm, but it can be disrupted if you expose yourself to artificial blue light sources excessively at night. You may want to look into lowering the brightness on your devices or using its “night mode” if it is available. In this way, you can prevent sleepless nights and feeling fatigued during the day.
High-energy visible light like blue light has also been shown to boost alertness, memory and cognitive function, as well as elevate your mood. For those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (a depressive condition that is tied to the changing of seasons), light therapy using HEVs is usually administered.
Dry Eye Syndrome
More than 22 Million People suffer from Dry Eyes.
Symptoms you may be experiencing: Burning, stinging, itchiness, light sensitivity, grittiness, scratchiness, redness, blurred vision.
The exact causes of your dry eyes are as individual as you are. Our Dry Eye Specialists will give you a comprehensive evaluation to assess the specific cause of your condition. Some conditions that could be causing your discomfort are outlined below:
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye is a multi-factorial disease of the tears and the ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort and tear film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface. Dry eye is accompanied by increased osmolarity of the tear film and inflammation of the ocular surface. It results when your body is unable to produce good quality tears at the rate your body needs.
Blepharitis is a common condition resulting from a build up of debris and bacteria on the eyelid margin and lashes. It can also affect the small oil glands of the eyelid margins. The symptoms of blepharitis may include burning, itching, irritation and tearing of the eyes. This condition can usually be treated with proper lid hygiene, but sometimes requires medications.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian glands are the oil producing glands in the upper and lower eyelids. They are responsible for the slow release of oil into the tear film. When the glands are clogged, the absence of the oily layer can cause evaporation of the natural tear layer causing dry eyes. This chronic obstruction can also result in swelling of the eyelid, termed a hordeolum/chalazion or more commonly “stye”.
We initiate a multitude of treatment modalities including medicinal therapy, dry eye vitamin supplements as well as puntal occlusion with collagen punctual plugs.
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms above, please call our office to make an appointment.