The Dark Side of Blue Light

With the recent uptick with many folks working and schooling from home, we spend more time on our devices now more than ever! Did you know that around 50% of adults are not aware of the harmful and long-lasting effects of blue light exposure? Of course, not ALL blue light is bad. Blue wavelengths can be beneficial during daylight hours in small doses, as they boost attention, reaction times, and mood. It is when we extend the time in front of our devices and even use them into the nighttime hours that it starts to take a negative effect on both our bodies and minds.

What is Blue Light?

Like any visible light, Blue Light is made of electromagnetic particles. Unlike other forms of light, Blue Light has one of the shortest, highest energy wavelengths of any kind of visible light.

Where does Blue Light Come From?

Blue light exposure can be natural, such as from the sun and some is man-made such as digital screens. Some examples of sources of Blue Light are the Sun, Digital Screens and Fluorescent and LED lighting.

What effect does blue light have on my health?

  • Sleep Disruption and blocks natural production of melatonin
  • Tired, Sore or Dry Eyes
  • Headaches
  • Retina Damage
  • Memory issues

How can I protect myself and my family?

  • Take frequent breaks, get more sleep and blink often.
  • Make sure to set reminders to take breaks away from digital screens, be especially focused on this at nighttime, when many of us stay up longer than we should in front of our phones, TVs, and laptops.
  • Wear blue light reducing eyeglasses.
  • Set your device, website, program or all 3 to “dark mode” white backgrounds increase blue light exposure and eye strain.
  • Consider using the 20-20-20 guidelines: For every 20 minutes of screen time, focus your eyes for at least 20 seconds on an object that is 20 ft. away. The 20-20-20 guideline does not deal with blue-light exposure and does not work at night or in darkened conditions, where there is no object in sight other than a screen.

Critically, if you are fully aware of the risks involved and you can’t-look-away-from device screens, you will be more likely to make better decisions about how you’re looking at your screen, how long and how often you’re looking at it, and when it’s time to put the screen down and away.