Blue Light – The Culprit Behind Digital Eye Strain?

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How many hours a day do you spend looking at a computer, phone, tablet, TV, or other digital device? According to a recent survey, it’s at least nine hours for most of us. With our eyes logging so much screen time, it’s no surprise that we often end the day with eye strain, blurry vision, and even headaches.

But what’s really causing these symptoms?  In the video below, VSP optometrist Gary Morgan explains why the blue light emitted from digital devices causes your eyes to work overtime and what you can do to protect your vision from blue light exposure.

20 Comments

  • MJ Fowler says:

    This began as an interesting piece; I had not heard about blue light before. The video was informative, but seemed to end in an abrupt pitch for a particular brand of eyeglasses. I found this very disappointing and came away without information about what steps one could take – yes, talk to one’s eye doctor, but what questions to bring? What are possible solutions or changes we could make? We don’t even know what the feature is about this brand/type of glasses that makes them effective. So I found it disappointing and incomplete, and don’t like having a sales pitch disguised as an informative article.

  • Lourie says:

    Can contact lenses protect your vision from blue light exposure?

    • David C says:

      Hi Lourie – There are no contact lenses that provide blue light protection. It’s possible we’ll see those become available in the coming years, but as a contact lens wearer, you do have another option to protect yourself from blue light: Talk to your doctor about getting a pair of plano lenses (No prescription) in a frame. You could leave your contact lenses in and simply put on your blue light protection glasses while working on a digital device.

  • Rob Seaborn says:

    This doesn’t make sense if you consider that for most of humanity, people have lived and worked outdoors with blue skies. There was and still is blue light in the sky! The sunlight gets filtered by the atmosphere and that’s why the sky is blue.

    • David C says:

      Hey Rob,

      Very true. Blue light is a naturally occurring wavelength of light from the sun that plays a major role in managing our circadian rhythm. Historically, our exposure to this high wavelength of light was limited to the sun’s daily cycle. In the last 10-20 years, however, exposure to blue light has dramatically increased due to the proliferation of smartphones, LED screens, TVs and energy-efficient lighting. The potentially negative effects of this overexposure on the eyes are still being studied and only just now beginning to make headlines. Here’s some additional background info in case you’re interested: https://www.vsp.com/sharper-image-techshield-lenses.html

  • Barbara Peters says:

    Will VSP cover this cost to add a blue light protection to glasses?

    • David C says:

      Hi Barbara — Lens enhancement coverage varies plan by plan. But you can give our customer care team a call at 800-877-7195 and they can look up your personal benefits and walk you through your coverage options, including blue light protection.

  • angelo orsini says:

    my left eye becomes blurred a bit right is o.k. is this due to the blue lite from monitor i have desk top with large monitor i sit arm lenth away.i wear no line bi-focals…i am 55y/o is my monitor or blue lite triggering this blurrey vision in left eye?

  • Mary says:

    FLux – This free download saved my eyes. It takes away the intense light and gives out a sunsetty glow instead; it’s from stereopsis.com and the product is FLux. I use it all the time by setting my location to wherever in the world it is night. So easy, free! I never have to endure blue light. It is great at night because the blue light prevents your body from making melatonin and winding down before sleep.

  • Macie says:

    Living in Alaska and having light sensitivity issues from Migraine headaches, blue light is a HUGH problem for me. What is my biggest problem and concern is the blue headlights that so many drivers are starting to put in their cars. Do you think this type of eye glass lenses would be my best option to protect my eyes? I hate driving in the dark now because all the blue light triggers headaches but Alaska winters are so dark I have no choice as I need to work. Do you have any suggestion? Please HELP!

  • Will says:

    I would agree with most of what the doctor said, but he did not tell you is the constant time spent with blue light could and most likely cause macular degeneration. The center of your eye will go blind. I highly recommend blue blocker lenses. They are a yellow/orange tint and I regularly where them at work or even when I am on my computer at home. A blue eyed person like me is more susceptible then darker eyed people. I spoke to someone in the eye doctor’s office and she said that there are more macular degeneration cases than the 4 heavy hitters such as breast cancer and other 3 (I’m blanking). Anyway, get the lenses or stay away from blue light.

  • Peter Aleff says:

    Industrial safety researchers have long identified the blue-light-hazard which is particularly strong for wavelengths in the 430 to 440 nanometer range. It just so happens that fluorescent lamps emit a high percentage of their energy in a spike at 435.8 nanometers, and that this can damage unprotected retinae. For instance, the current epidemic of earlier onset for age-related macular degeneration could well be related to the exposure of juvenile eyes to this damaging fluorescent light which uses up the spare renewal capacity of their photo receptors. See a discussion of this possible scenario at http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/maculardegeneration.htm.

    Also, the fluorescent lighting in intensive care nurseries is the prime suspect in the baby-blinding by retinopathy of prematurity which started in Boston the year after the introduction of fluorescent lamps, and again after World War 2 in other industrial countries as soon as those lamps became available there. Current medical dogma blames this blinding on oxygen breathing help, but that had been administered generously for many decades before the first baby suffered eye damage from this retinopathy of prematurity. See the clinical article “Baby-blinding retinopathy of prematurity and intensive care nursery lighting” that begins at http://retinopathyofprematurity.org/Babyblindinglights01.htm. I am glad that VSP is now also drawing attention to these dangers from excess blue light to the retina.

    • Robert Seaborn says:

      Has anyone alerted the manufacturers of computer monitors, mobile devices, and florescent lights about this hazard to eye sight?

  • Glen says:

    …and yet almost everything on this page is blue!

  • Sonny says:

    I just got a blue light lenses which transfer more glares to my eyes. On certain angle/direction, I couldn’t see the object because of the glare compared with no-blue-light lenses. I ended up requesting new lenses without blue light. Is there a way to get blue light lenses without adding glares to them?

  • […] Blue Light – The Culprit Behind Digital Eye Strain? […]

  • […] strain caused by blue light exposure in both children and adults. Lots of research is being done on blue light, which is emitted from the screens of digital devices, but the truth is that digital devices […]

  • […] strain caused by blue light exposure in both children and adults. Lots of research is being done on blue light, which is emitted from the screens of digital devices, but the truth is that digital devices […]

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