The Unexpected Health Effects of Blue Light Exposure

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You may be surprised to learn how blue light exposure is secretly impacting your eye health and daily lives. VSP network ophalmologist Dr. Jeffrey Morris fills us in on the unexpected impact blue light exposure has on vision and overall health. Below is a guest post by Dr. Jeffrey Morris.

Many patients I see are unaware of the impact that blue light exposure can have on their daily lives, which can contribute to digital eye strain, restless sleep and a variety of other health issues including long-term effects on vision.

Blue Light and Your Sleep Cycle

We are not meant to be exposed to blue light except during daylight hours. An immediate effect of excessive blue light exposure is restless sleep. Exposure after dark (from computer monitors, LED lights, smartphones, TVs, etc.) confuses the brain and decreases melatonin production. This causes us to get poor sleep, which can lead to many health issues—hypertension, obesity and even distractibility.

Digital Eye Strain

Many patients complain of fatigue and dry eyes that they relate to computer usage. This is called digital eye strain, which can also result in back and neck pain, and even headaches. Just think about how many hours you spend in front of a computer each day.

Kids and Blue Light Exposure

Children are even more susceptible to the harmful effects of blue light. Children and young adults have almost no macular pigment (internal blue light filtration) so damage can be significant in the first two decades of life.

Video games, television and reading from tablets 2-3 hours before bed can also be affecting their sleep.

Preventing Damage Caused by Blue Light

An easy way to significantly reduce the impact of blue light exposure is by wearing glasses with blue light protection, such as those made by UNITY Performance Optics.   You don’t need corrective lenses to qualify for them – these are available in plano lenses for people without a need for vision correction, but are nevertheless exposed to blue light.

I wear UNITY lenses with blue light protection myself because of how much time I spend in front of a computer. This is just a small way I am working to preserve my vision, which is important because I want to live until I’m at least 100.

View this infographic to find out more about the benefits of blue light protection.


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