Over the last year, there have been many news stories and media outlets reporting that the blue light emitted from electronic devices, such as phones, computers, and tablets, can be blinding.
That is a scary thought!
The truth is there is evidence that some kinds of light exposure from the sun, specifically UV light, raises the risk of eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, growths on the eye, and cancer.
However, based on the latest evidence and research, the amount of blue light emitted from electronic devices is not blinding and has never been demonstrated to cause any eye disease. As such, the American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend computer or special glasses for blue light protection at this time.
A study by the National Library of Medicine found no measurable UVA or UVB radiation from computer monitors – this type of radiation is the most harmful part of sunlight for the eyes and skin. Furthermore, “there are no data to suggest a health risk from exposure to the electromagnetic fields associated with the use of monitors,” according to the Radiation Protection Program at MIT.
Long hours at the computer screen, phone, or tablet, can cause digital strain and dry eyes as a result of decreased blinking. This result is secondary to how we use the screens and the length of screen time; it is not an effect of blue light or radiation from these devices.
How to Protect Your Eyes from Digital Strain
- Sit about 25 inches from the computer screen
- Position the screen so you are gazing slightly downward
- Reduce screen glare by using a matte screen filter
- Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every twenty minutes shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds
- When your eyes feel dry, use artificial tears to lubricate them
- Adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain
- If you wear contact lenses, give your eyes a break by wearing glasses
Many of these symptoms can be temporary and easily managed using the tips above, and they usually improve after one stops using the computer.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone get a baseline eye exam to inspect the health of the eye by the age of 40. Getting regular comprehensive eye exams from a board-certified ophthalmologist is critical in diagnosing any potential eye disease, or risk thereof.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about blue light, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions or concerns.