Q: What is Blue Light?
Blue light rays in the visible spectrum of light have the shortest wavelengths and, therefore, have the most energy. Blue light and even higher energy UV light rays primarily comes from the sun, but artificial blue light can also be produced by devices with a digital screen, flat screen LED TVs, and fluorescent and LED lights. Blue light is often referred to as HEV, or high-energy visible light. This high energy light can be harmful to your eyes.
Q: What are the negative effects of Blue Light?
Blue light from the sun can cause macular degeneration and cataracts while blue light from screens can cause visual fatigue.
Q: How can we counter the negative effects?
Use of sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays and certain lens materials or protective treatment on eyewear can counter some of these harmful effects.
Q: What can an OD do to help me in this area?
Because many people need a correction for clear vision, we as optometrists can prescribe your correction to be put into a protective pair of sunglasses. We can also recommend the appropriate lens materials and filters for everyday eyewear to protect your eyes while at work or school.
Q: What is the relationship between Computer Vision Syndrome and Blue Light?
Blue light is emitted from digital screens. This includes all smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, laptops, TVs, etc. These high energy light rays stress the accommodation (focusing) system of the eyes which in turn can cause visual fatigue to happen faster.
Q: What type of lenses/eyewear do you offer to combat the negative effects of Blue Light?
We offer varying levels of blue light protection. Depending on the needs of each individual patient, we can customize the lens for their favorite frame. As it pertains to blue light, we focus on three aspects of the lens: design (Eyezen+TM), lens treatment (anti-glare such as Crizal® Prevencia TM or Shamir Blue Zero TM), and photochromic lenses (such as Transitions®). One or all of these lens features may be necessary to provide the best result to our patient.
Q. Do children need to protect from blue light?
Absolutely. Children are just as vulnerable as adults. Because children are often outdoors more often than adults, they can be exposed to a greater quantity of blue light. Children and teens are also spending hours on devices whether it be for entertainment or school purposes. Therefore, protection from this blue light is important.
Q. Is there a certain amount of screen time that would require blue light protection?
I find that many patients begin to experience the effects of blue light after 15-20 minutes of screen time. Therefore, I recommend blue light protection to all my patients exceeding roughly 20 minutes of screen time in a day.
Q. I don’t use a computer much. Do I need to be concerned about blue light?
Yes. Blue light is all around us. For instance, if you work in a building with fluorescent lighting or your desk is next to a window, you are exposed.
Q. I saw a blue light screen protector for my kids iPad, does that really work?
Some of these screen protectors may filter out a small percentage of blue light, but they often fall short on performance and can greatly decrease screen visibility.
Q. Anything else you wish to say about Blue Light and what your practice does in that area?
Blue light impacts people of all ages every day. With the number of hours we spend in front of screens dramatically increasing each year, it is important to address blue light exposure early on to prevent visual fatigue or permanent damage to the eyes. I discuss blue light exposure with nearly every patient that sits in my chair because it is that important.