Is Your Light Making You Blue?
Whether you’re working from home or at an office, you’re probably spending a lot of time in front of a computer during your working hours. Worse yet, you probably spend a lot of your off-hours winding down with your smartphone or tablet.
All that technology produces high levels of blue light. In excess, blue light can cause long-term damage to your eyes. Here’s what you need to know about this pervasive light source.
Q. What Is Blue Light?
A. Blue light refers to a particular wavelength of light. All sunlight contains red, orange, green, yellow, and blue light rays. They combine to create the color we know as sunlight or white light.
Rays on the red end of the light spectrum are warmer and longer. On the blue end, they are short and cool. Blue rays affect our sleep cycles and a sense of well-being.
Q. How Does Blue Light Affect You?
A. Sunlight and blue light have similar effects on you. They enhance alertness and help you stay focused. Research has found that exposure to blue light keeps you alert and improves cognitive function. It can also improve your mood.
Too much blue light, however, can interfere with your sleep. An excess of sunlight or blue light blocks your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep.
After hours of work on a tablet or computer, your body finds it hard to wind down. If you usually end your day by reading an e-book or playing a computer game, consider finding other ways to relax. Those activities increase the amount of blue light you’re getting.
Q. Is Blue Light Harmful?
A. Blue light is beneficial if you don’t overdo it. Prolonged exposure to excessive blue light, however, can cause eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, and insomnia.
Q. What’s the Best Way To Give Your Eyes a Break?
A. If you want to avoid eyestrain and other computer-related eye problems, there are simple ways to give yourself and your eyes a break.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Placing your desk by a window can help with this.
- Every hour, stand up from your desk and stretch your legs.
- Walk outside in the fresh air for a few minutes every day.
Q. What Are the Chief Sources of Blue Light?
A. Sunlight is the principal source of blue light, but most of us get it from indoor sources. These include:
- Computers and tablets.
- Gaming systems.
- LED light bulbs.
- Fluorescent lights.
Q. How Can You Minimize the Effects of Blue Light?
A. Besides giving your eyes frequent breaks as we suggest above, you can try these ideas.
- Wear special glasses. You can buy glasses that block blue lights. Designed for home use, these glasses often have amber-colored shades. There are many types of lenses that block blue light. Talk to your optometrist about the best lenses for your situation.
- Set your screen to night mode. Change the monitor settings to a dark or night mode. Some computers, tablets, and smartphones automatically shift to night mode at a certain time of day. You can also install an app that filters blue light on your device.
- Cut back before bedtime. Two or three hours before you go to bed, stop using all digital screens.
- Make it red. Use a red light bulb in your bedroom. Red light doesn’t affect your circadian rhythms and may help you sleep.
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If you have questions about residential or commercial lighting, talk to SESCOS. We’re the lighting and electrical experts who are available when you need us.