How does blue light affect you?
Smartphone screens emit bright blue light so you can see them even at the sunniest times of day.
But at night, your brain gets confused by that light, as it mimics the brightness of the sun. This causes the brain to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that gives your body the “time to sleep” cues. Because of this, smartphone light can disrupt your sleep cycle, making it harder to fall and stay asleep — and potentially causing serious health problems along the way. 1
Almost all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina. This light may affect vision and could prematurely age the eyes. Early research shows that too much exposure to blue light could lead to:
- Digital eyestrain: Blue light from computer screens and digital devices can decrease contrast leading to digital eyestrain. Fatigue, dry eyes, bad lighting, or how you sit in front of the computer can cause eyestrain. Symptoms of eyestrain include sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing.
- Retina damage: Studies suggest that continued exposure to blue light over time could lead to damaged retinal cells. This can cause vision problems like age-related macular degeneration.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light?
- Screen time: Try to decrease the amount of time spent in front of these screens and/or take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.
- Filters: Screen filters are available for smart phones, tablets, and computer screens. They decrease the amount of blue light given off from these devices that could reach the retina in our eyes. 2
- Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Lutein and zeaxanthin isomers—known as the macular carotenoids—are natural filters of high-energy blue light. High-energy blue light reaches deep into the eye and can harm the macula – the region of the eye responsible for highest visual acuity– by promoting the production of free radicals. Short-term effects can cause eye fatigue while long-term exposure can lead to a progressive loss of visual function. 3