Nimesh Shah, Marketing Director at Feel Good Contacts, explores how blue light from your devices can cause digital eye strain and what you can do to keep your eyes healthy
As organisations move towards becoming wholly or partially virtual, sitting in front of screens all day – be it your computer, laptop, tablet or phone, is now part of working life. We then move from this to online classes, binge-watching TV and zoom/social media catch ups in the evening. Staring at screens for long periods of time for work and then entertainment is becoming the norm as people become dependent on their digital devices.
With this increase in digital consumption come the associated fatigue, eye strain, headaches, neck/back/shoulder strains and sleep cycle disruption associated with the blue light emitted from the digital devices.
What is blue light?
Blue light refers to the blue hues of the visible light spectrum, between 380 and 500 nanometers.
Is all blue light bad for you?
No, it’s not all bad. The sun emits natural blue light in balance with all the other colours in the spectrum during the day – and it’s good for you. This natural blue light is vital for regulating your sleep and wake cycles. At night, when there’s no natural blue light, this tells our brain that it’s night-time and our brain releases melatonin so we feel sleepy.
But the blue light from your digital devices (including your light bulbs) doesn’t have the same effect as natural blue light. The light from digital devices has more blue light in it than other colours on the spectrum so when you look at a screen, your eyes are receiving too much unbalanced blue light.
In addition to affecting our sleep, blue light can cause headaches and have harmful effects on our eyes and cause digital eye strain, eye fatigue and dry eyes.
What can I do to protect my eyes?
Blue light blocking glasses have been specially designed with lenses to filter out and block the unwanted blue light given off by digital screens. Wearing blue light glasses can help reduce the effects of exposure to blue light. Blue light has the shortest wavelengths and highest frequencies. Therefore, the light gets scattered into other directions causing haze and blur on screens, making it difficult to focus.
Can you get prescription glasses with blue light filter?
Yes, you can get blue light blocking lenses for your prescription glasses. During the manufacturing process of lenses, a special coating can be applied to block the blue light.
Can you wear blue light glasses all day?
Yes, blue light glasses are safe to wear all day.
What else can I do to keep my eyes healthy?
Since quitting your job and having a digital detox is out of the question and other non-digital forms of entertainment are not so readily available in this current climate, blue light glasses are the modern-day protection for your eyes against digital screens. But there are also other simple things you can do to aid good eye health.
Take a break
Try looking away from your computer screen for a minute or so every now and again to give your eyes a much-needed break. If you have time, try some eye yoga.
When you’re deeply focused on a task, you tend to blink less, even if you don’t realise it. If you’re not blinking enough, your eyes are not receiving regular hydration and moisture from your tears. As a result, your eyes will begin to feel dry and irritated. Get into the habit ‘resting your eyes’ by looking away and closing them purposefully, the eyelids are great protectors with lots of moisturising glands on the inside. I always follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.
Make sure that you’re not too close or too far from the screen. Your overall workstation set-up plays a role in your eye health. So being too close or far will cause eye strain. I recommend positioning monitors at least 50cm from eyes with the centre of the screen about 10-15 degrees below the eyes. That way, the light won’t be so intense, and you won’t be craning your neck.
For some people, lockdown has left a lasting digital legacy. We need to adapt to our new reality, but we also need to be mindful of our body and lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
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