Is blue light that bad for the eyes?

In large amounts, high-energy light from the sun like ultraviolet rays and blue light can increase the risk of eye diseases. It can damage your retinas and can cause photo-toxicity. The amount of damage depends on wavelength and exposure time. Almost all blue light passes straight through to the back of your retina. Some research has shown blue light may increase the risk of macular degeneration, a disease of the retina. Research also shows that blue light exposure may trigger the release of toxic molecules in photoreceptor cells.

Digital eyestrain: Blue light from computer screens and digital devices can lead to digital eyestrain. Fatigue, dry eyes, bad lighting, or how you sit in front of the computer can cause eyestrain too. Digital eye strain, sometimes also known as computer vision syndrome may also be related to proximity to the screen and focusing on a single focal length for an extended period. Symptoms of eyestrain include sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing.

Retina damage: Studies suggest that continued exposure to blue light over time could lead to damaged retinal cells. This can cause vision problems like age-related macular degeneration.

Blue light and children:

According to a recent study, children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adults from digital device screens. Child’s eyes don’t filter blue light as well as adults. Too much of it from device screens may raise their chances of developing nearsightedness and attention focusing issues. To protect their eyes, limit your child’s screen time. And have them put all electronic devices, including handheld game devices, away at least a half-hour before bedtime. This is because, at night, more melatonin is produced in children as compared to adults.

Sources of blue light:

The largest source of blue light is sunlight. In addition, there are many other sources:

  • Fluorescent light
  • CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs
  • LED light
  • Flat-screen LED televisions
  • Computer monitors
  • Smartphones
  • Tablet screens

Is blue light beneficial too?

Apart from having many disadvantages, blue light is needed for good health too. It boosts alertness, helps memory and cognitive function, elevates mood, regulates circadian rhythm. However, too much exposure to blue light late at night can disturb the wake and sleep cycle. 

Not enough exposure to sunlight in children could affect the growth and development of the eyes and vision. A deficiency in blue light exposure could contribute to the recent increase in myopia/nearsightedness.

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