Blue Light and Your Eyes

A young woman in a dark apartment looks at her bright phone screen

Prolonged exposure to blue light is becoming more common, and it could have important repercussions for the longevity of our eyes. Below is more information on how blue light affects your eyes and the preventative measures you can take in order to maintain healthy eyesight.

What is Blue Light?

Blue light is a form of light that comes from several sources—typically digital screens—including televisions, smartphones, and tablets. As a consequence of the technological revolution, blue light has become a part of our everyday lives, with people spending more time in front of screens than ever before. Most of us need access to devices that emit blue light for our jobs, our social lives, and our familial lives, but it’s still important to pay attention to their potential impacts on our health, especially our eye health.

Blue Light Affects our Bodies in Many Different Ways

Physicians and medical researchers are beginning to examine some of the many effects that prolonged exposure to blue light has on our bodies and our minds. You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t spend too long looking at digital devices without taking a break, and there are very clear reasons for that advice. This is especially true of smartphones, which we tend to hold closer to our eyes than other devices.

Too much exposure to blue light can cause eye strain, dry eye, blurred vision, and it can also reduce your blinking rate. Exposure to blue light just before going to sleep has been found to be particularly worrisome, as it can disrupt your sleep patterns, impair your memory, and increase the risk of other conditions such as obesity, depression, and certain cancers.

Backlit Screens are Changing the Shape of our Eyes

Doctors are also noticing more and more people developing myopia, also known as nearsightedness. What’s especially alarming is the increase in the number of children with the condition. It’s likely due to the fact that many more kids now have smartphones, and they are spending increasingly more time using them throughout the day. Holding a screen that emits blue light so close to your face for long periods of time can actually stretch your retina, because the eyes have to do more work to focus on the near images.

Simple Tips for Protecting your Vision from Eye Strain

Smartphones and tablets aren’t going anywhere, so we all have to learn how to use these devices responsibly in order to protect our eye health. There are several precautions you can take, including:

  • Use the 20/20/20 rule – Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
  • Schedule time for kids to put their phone down and play in the natural light
  • Try to remember to hold your devices farther away from your eyes
  • Keep your devices away from your bed to avoid exposure just before sleep

If you have any questions about the effects of blue light on your eye health, contact Florida Eye Specialists. Our team of experienced ophthalmologists have been serving the Northeast Florida community for decades, and we are committed to helping our patients stay healthy in a world where blue light exposure is the norm.