What’s the Deal with Blue Light?


If you lie in bed or sit in the dark and play with your cell phone or other electronic devices, you could be damaging your eyes. Using digital devices in bed cause a disruption in your sleep cycle. Also, the blue light that emanates from these devices can contribute to a variety of health problems.


The blue light coming off of these devices is a part of the full light spectrum. Everyone is exposed to it during the day when out in the sunlight. However, when you are exposed to it at night, in the dark, it can cause problems. At the high levels that come from cell phones, computers, tablets, and other devices with LED screens, it can cause problems to your eyes and vision.


Problems Caused by Blue Light

When your eyes are directly exposed to blue light, it can cause the retina to become damaged. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, damage to the retina caused by blue light can result in the development of macular degeneration. This causes loss of central vision. And when that happens, you will no longer have the ability to see things in front of you.


It also disrupts your sleep cycle because it limits the production of melatonin in your brain. Melatonin is a hormone that is responsible for your moods, emotions, and regulating your sleep patterns. If you’ve had trouble sleeping well at night, it might be a good idea to skip taking anything to bed with you that produces blue light. Try that and see if your sleep doesn’t improve.


When melatonin production is thrown off, it can cause all sorts of things to go wrong in your body and your brain. It can even lead to an increased risk of health issues such as depression and cancer. While blue light has always been around – in the sun and in other devices – the real problem comes from continual usage at close range to your eyes in low-light or dark settings.


Overexposure to blue light can also cause eye strain and vision problems, such as dry eye and blurred vision. Digital technology has become such a big part of life over the last several years. With that rise, more and more people are showing up at their optometrists’ offices complaining about blurred vision, strained eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, and a whole slew of other problems. And because this has become such a big issue, there is even a name for this condition: Computer Vision Syndrome.


People who wear corrective lenses may be even more affected by blue light than those who don’t wear glasses or contacts. This is due to the fact that regular corrective lenses are not designed for reading or doing other sorts of activities on computers, tablets, or cell phones.


Steps to Take to Reduce Eye Damage

If you want to protect your eyes from damage, there are many things you can do. For starters, limit or completely eliminate the use of smartphones, iPads, computers, and even the TV at night. That goes for both when you’re in bed or even when you’re sitting in a dark room. This alone will help to reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration. It will also help prevent other eye and vision problems, and it will allow you to get a good night’s sleep.

Limiting your use of devices that emit blue light during the day is also a good idea.


Are you cringing at the thought of being without your smartphone for any length of time? Well, there was a time when there was no such thing as a smartphone and everyone survived just fine without having one glued to their hand all day. A small price to pay if you want to save your eyesight and decrease your chances of vision loss. It will be worth it to spend a few hours of the day without your smartphone, computer or any other type of digital device.


If your job requires you to use the computer for long periods of time, be sure to take frequent breaks. This will give your eyes a rest. You may also want to make sure there is sufficient light in the room and that there are no glares from windows or lighting on your screen. These issues can also cause problems with your vision.


Get regular eye exams. This is probably the most important step you can take to ensure your eyes stay healthy. Some vision problems are symptomless and can only be detected through a thorough eye exam. So if you’re getting regular eye exams, you can feel better knowing many problems can be detected early enough for treatments to begin.


This post originally appeared on Rebuild Your Vision.