What is Blue Light?

Blue light might be technical jargon for many of you, but after reading this it won’t remain as an unknown concept for you. Blue light, in technical terms, refers to any light rays of UV rays that are transmitted through digital devices or gadgets. These rays exist both inside your house and outside at any place because we are always surrounded by gadgets and screens. Many people think that it is an exaggerated notion that blue light can harm your eyes. However, we have extracted the fact that long-term exposure to UV rays is harmful, which implies that blue light acts as a slow poison that gradually penetrates through the eyes and causes digital eye strain. It is commonly observed that after looking at a screen for longer, we all feel pressure on our eyes and that is because the 415 nanometers of light are passing through our eyes. The blue light on a light spectrum lies between 415nm -455nm, which is a sharp intent light with UV rays that can damage the eye muscles and affect the vision of many people. The range of blue light on the spectrum is observed as:

Figure 1 Range of Blue light on the spectrum (Miller)

Thus, if you want to protect your eyes for longer time period then you must avoid long-term use of screens or take preventive measures like blue-light-blocking glasses.

How Does Blue Light Affect Us?

A familiar situation encountered by all of us every day is to search for our phones as soon as we wake up. After getting up from our sleep, we look at the gadgets, and then throughout the day, we keep checking our phone to drop a text, call someone, or simply enjoy our leisure time by watching series on our cell phones. The common routine of today’s digital world is a manifestation that an average human is exposed to digital light no matter what. Digital light or technically speaking, blue light is a form of light that belongs to the High-Energy Visible section (HEV), which means that the wavelength of the light is much shorter than the wavelengths of the other lights. Moreover, when the wavelength of the light is shorter the frequency of light tends to increase and penetrate at a higher pace to the eyes. The color spectrum of light is as follows:

Figure 2 Color Spectrum of Light (Zilnicki)

The increase in the penetration capacity of the light disturbs the sleep cycle of people, causes memory issues, and retinal damage. In later stages, blue light can also cause age-related macular degeneration. Thus, the cons of exposure to blue light are high, and they need to be avoided through a reasonable countermeasure.

Benefits of Blue Light Glasses

Blue light glasses are the protective aid that prevents the light to penetrate directly into your eyes. These glasses block the harmful blue light and allow only the essential light to pass through the glasses. There are many benefits of these glasses, these include:

  1. Better Sleep: If a person stays exposed to blue light or electronic devices for a long time, then the melatonin levels in them have deviated. Melatonin is a hormone that is usually produced at night to maintain the sleep cycle. However, exposure to shorter wavelengths of light causes disturbed/delayed production of this hormone. To prevent this change, there is a need to wear blue light glasses that can keep your eyes safe.
  2. Reduced Eye Strain: Muscle and eye strain are common due to the continuous use of electronic devices, this is because the eyes remain focused on the screen, and the muscles get stressed. To avoid stress to the eyes there is a need for glasses that can block harmful rays and let you see without pressurizing the eyes.
  3. Reduces Headaches: Additionally, blue light is a source of migraines, and only blue light glasses can help to reduce the pain.
  4. Reduces Risk of Eye Disease: Your cornea is unable to block blue light from reaching your retina. Damage to your retina can increase the chances of developing macular degeneration. Macular degeneration may increase the risk of developing cataracts and may cause blindness.

When Should You Wear Blue Light Glasses?

Blue light glasses are the only thing that can protect the eyes from exposure to blue light. Blue light refers to digital light that is propelled through the television screen, laptops, and smartphones. These rays are also produced by the sun and are the UV rays that put stress on the retina and cornea. These glasses should be worn by everyone who has to be exposed to blue light for a long time. If you work at an office where you have to be glued to a screen or monitor, then you should have blue light glasses that can prevent your eyes from further damage. If you want to maintain the circadian rhythms and enjoy a night of peaceful sleep, then it is highly recommended that you wear blue glasses all the time. These glasses do not have to be worn at a specific time, instead, they can be worn any time when you use a gadget or are exposed to sunlight.

Figure 3 Blue Light Blocking Sunglasses (Eyes Optics)

20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule is a technical term mentioned by many eye doctors, this rule means that whenever a person has been glued to a screen for twenty minutes, then they should look away from the screen for twenty seconds at something twenty feet away. Obviously, a person can measure 20 feet using a measuring tape, but most do not have a measuring tape handy. Therefore, what this means is that you should focus your eyes on something far away. For instance, you can look at the corner window for twenty seconds or look at another object to deviate your attention. As for the time limit of twenty seconds, it is the time to relax your eyes and feel at rest. Lastly, remind yourself after every 20 minutes you should keep a pop-up alarm that beeps every 20 minutes. This will remind you to take a break of 20 seconds and give a break to your eyes. Thus, this rule is a therapy for your own self to live healthily while cherishing the beauties of nature around you for a longer time.

Figure 4 20-20-20 Rule Infographics (Chou)

Works Cited

Chou, Brian. Deconstructing the 20-20-20 Rule for Digital Eye Strain. 2021, https://www.optometrytimes.com/view/deconstructing-20-20-20-rule-digital-eye-strain.

Eyes Optics, Eagle. “How Blue Light Blocking Glasses Can Help Protect Your Vision.” Eagle Eyes Optics, 2021, https://www.eagleeyes.com/blogs/news/how-blue-light-blocking-glasses-protect-vision.

Miller, Dr. Mathhew. “Blue Light Glasses | Best Blue Blocker Glasses | EyeBuyDirect.” EyeBuyDirect.Com, 2020, https://www.eyebuydirect.com/prescription-lens/digital-protection.

Zilnicki, Dr Miki Lyn. “What Are Blue Light Glasses and Do I Need Them?” GUNNAR Computer Eyewear, 20 July 2021, https://gunnar.com/blog/what-are-blue-light-glasses/.