Constant Headaches? Blue Light Might Be To Blame
Blue light is making headlines this year. A recent Scientific Reports study explained how blue light produced by your computer and phone screens can lead to macular degeneration. In other words, your computer and phone screens may be paving your way toward vision loss and blindness later in life.
Wondering why you’ve been experiencing headaches recently? Do they frequently happen after working on your computer or staring at your phone screen? Blame blue light. And maybe tread on the side of caution and book an appointment with your optometrist.
After all, a mindfulness living lifestyle involves acknowledging a possible problem and tackling it before it becomes bigger than it has to be.
What is Blue Light?
We’ll keep this simple, without going too in-depth into the nitty gritty physics of it all.
Essentially, there is a light spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, there are red light waves. These red light waves have longer wavelengths. Longer wavelengths equates to less energy, so red light is more eye-friendly. Hence, more and more companies have started to produce lamps with a red light option.
On the other end of the spectrum is blue light. This end contains dangerous UV light rays. Blue rays have shorter wavelengths, which means they have more energy. Inevitably, more energy leads to strain and damage to your eyes.
The recent study found that constant exposure to blue light causes the eye to create toxic molecules that destroy photoreceptors. These photoreceptors are necessary to create an image of what you see in your brain. Without them, you can’t see properly.
Blue Light Facts
Here are your need-to-know facts on blue light. What should you be aware of? What is important? Let’s dive in!
1. You can’t escape blue light.
Blue light is everywhere. It’s outside, beaming down on us from the sun. It’s flashing at us from advertisements and signs. It’s blasting at you from your TV, computer, and phone screens. It’s all around us.
There’s no need for mass panic. Like anything, it comes down to balance. You can limit your exposure. You can turn off your TV. You can take breaks from your computer screen. And surprisingly, not all blue light is bad for you (make way for our next fact).
2. Some blue light is good for you.
You may be scratching your head wondering where you’ve heard about blue light before. Blue light is often used to treat depression disorders, more specifically, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s been broadcasted mainstream for years.
Blue light can boost your mood, increase your energy, improve your memory, and helps regulate our sleep-wake cycles. In the winter months, we have less blue light. In turn, some may experience depression symptoms that last from the fall and throughout the winter months.
As aforementioned, balance is necessary. Incorporate mindfulness living strategies by educating yourself.
Exposure to blue light should be limited, but not eliminated (nor would or should it be possible to get rid of entirely).
3. Your eyes don’t block blue light very well.
Your eyes block UV waves really well. Sunglasses also help in this regard.
Blue light, on the other hand, passes directly through the structures of your eye. Again, it then comes down to limiting your exposure to it. You can’t block it, so you have to reduce it.
4. Overexposure to blue light can lead to macular degeneration and eye strain.
Too much blue light exposure leads to eye damage. Eye damage can lead to permanent and irreversible vision loss. Further, short wavelengths of blue light disperse, making it hard to focus, upping your risk of eye strain.
Why does this matter? As technology continues to expand, so does our blue light exposure. It offers another reason to limit your kids video gaming and TV time. Find that balance. Get outside more! Indulge in activities where you aren’t staring at a screen.
So, How Can You Take Care of Your Vision?
Luckily, there are many ways you can avoid the negative effects of blue light. Check out some of the following ways you can save your eyesight and avoid those eye strain related headaches for good!
Use Blue Light Filters
So you spend 8 hours a day staring at a computer screen for work. You’re thinking, “I can’t limit my blue light exposure - it’s part of my job.”
Allow us to crash through your limiting beliefs - download a blue light filter for your computer and phone screens. Many newer phones already come with blue light filters that you can schedule to turn on and off at certain times that suit you best. As for your desktop and laptop needs, there are many free downloadable blue light filters you can find online like f.lux. You can also buy physical blue light filters like this one, which can also act as screen protectors offering a double win for your troubles.
Buy Computer Glasses or Lenses
Certain glasses are specially made to block out blue light. You don’t need an eyeglass prescription to purchase these glasses either.
Lenses also exist that limit blue light exposure. This type of lens can also protect you from UV lights by automatically darkening upon exposure. Talk to your eye doctor, or check out The Bookclub Eyewear for some cool blue light blocking glasses. Some of our staff wear them in the office and they swear by them.
And yes, you might feel silly wearing glasses that don’t necessarily improve your vision. However, they will help you sustain your vision for longer, allowing you to see well into your later years.
Start Using the 20-20-20 Rule
The 20-20-20 rule is simple. Take a 20 second break from your screen every 20 minutes, and allow your eyes to focus on an object 20 feet away.
This rule applies to those who work in front of a computer all day or those that spend hours playing video games or browsing on their phone. Sound like you? Start implementing the 20-20-20 rule. Optometrists and eye care experts recommend it.
Further minimize the damage blue light does to your eyes and your sleep-wake cycles by:
- Avoiding bright screens before bed and limit bright screen time overall.
- Aiming for 2 hours or less of TV and computer time per day (if this is unavoidable, invest in blue light filters or glasses).
- Eating a healthy and leafy green diet to improve your eye health.
- Attending regular eye doctor appointments. If you are concerned about blue light exposure, talk to your optometrist about your options.
Save your vision! Lead a lifestyle integrating mindfulness living strategy. Know what causes your body and your health harm. Then, find methods to reduce the impact. Live a fulfilling, healthy, and long life, with optimal eye sight and start using some of the aforementioned blue light reduction methods today.