The Importance of Blue Light Protection and Combating Eye Strain
As the years go on, our relationship with screens and technology grows increasingly one of dependence. We spend hours in front of our screens daily, between work and our own personal scouring of the internet. Unfortunately, this exposure to blue light emitted by electronic devices is causing unnecessary strain on our eyes, resulting in eye soreness and even blurry vision.
The concept of blue light filtering glasses has increased in prevalence, aiming to combat the pesky blue light that screen time exposes us to. You've likely experienced that seemingly unavoidable pain in your eyes after spending hours on your laptop, which means that it’s probably time to get proactive about blue light exposure.
What does blue light protection do?
It’s not surprising that light affects the body, beyond the obvious visual impact. We have photoreceptors in our eyes that detect light and control our circadian rhythms of sleep and wakefulness. These cells contain a photopigment called “melanopsin,” which is sensitive to light at the blue-green end of the visible light spectrum. We also have photoreceptors called “cones” that allow us to see blue-violet light, too.
As humans, we require a regular cycle and balance of light and dark hours in order to sleep optimally. Some wavelengths of blue light that can help us stay awake, whether through the sun or electronic devices. This is why during the day, blue light can be helpful — everything in moderation, though. But exposure to blue light at night is a surefire way to disrupt your sleep cycle, making it both harder to fall asleep and degrading the quality of your rest.
In the work-from-home era with hours of video-conferencing, there’s no harm in seeking out glasses to reduce digital eye strain caused by screen time. Some studies have shown that blue light filtering glasses improved work outcomes and performance, as well as sleep. And though different from blue light glasses, there are also computer glasses that can help ease the strain of your day-to-day computer use while helping them focus. Some even contain multifocal lenses so you can shift between close, medium, and far distances.
Tips for avoiding eye strain
While it’s okay to be weary about blue light, you may also want to take a look within to analyze your personal relationship with technology. Beyond your choice of eyewear, considering eye strain in general makes a difference to the overall health of your eyes.
There’s the classic 20/20/20 rule, wherein you look at an object that is around 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. When possible, try to put a distance between yourself and the screen – aim for at least an arm’s length away — and reduce glare by adjusting your screen's brightness accordingly.
You've also likely fallen into the social media "trance" where you can’t peel your eyes from the screen. But in between bouts of staring, you’re also going to want to take some breaks to blink in between the apps of your choice.
As tempting as it might be to have your brightness turned up to see everything clearly, staring at a screen as bright as Times Square while in a pitch black room isn’t doing great things for your eyes. Try to adapt your brightness settings to your environment, or opt for an auto-brightness feature, so your device will auto-adjust for you.
Your eyes do hard work for you all day long! That's why we like to share the above tips — to help them take a load off.