With the increasing use of digital devices and computers in daily life, we’re all exposed to more and more blue light. They may be convenient and help us stay connected, but prolonged exposure could pose real health risks.
One of those risks is interfering with the body’s circadian rhythm, the “internal clock” which regulates a person’s sleep cycle. Throwing it off can cause insomnia, headaches and eye strain.
Dr. Joseph Nezgoda, president of the Florida Society of Ophthalmology, said it does not mean a person should completely block out blue light, because a broad spectrum of light is needed throughout the day. But it is important to manage exposure.
“Individuals are just usually on their devices much longer and later than usual,” Nezgoda pointed out. “Potentially during those times, it may be good to limit the exposure. Again, there’s been convincing data in animal models, but in humans, the jury’s still out.”
One tip is scheduling an eye exam, others include taking breaks around every 20 minutes from digital screens, by looking at something else at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. And of course, limit screen times before bed.
Dr. Scott Edmonds, chief eye care officer for United Healthcare Vision, said eye specialists became concerned during the pandemic about blue-light exposure as more people started using digital devices for longer time periods at home. He worries soon, some of the same concerns will surface about blue light that happened with ultraviolet light.
“The photo receptors can certainly process blue light, but it puts a lot of strain on them,” Edmonds noted. “We’re concerned that over time, the retina will become damaged, and we’ll start to see age-related macular degeneration from this, like we did with UV light.”
In addition to taking screen breaks, eye-care professionals recommend making sure your computer screens are clear and clean, as researchers continue to study potential dangers.