Pollution is an issue people should not take lightly these days. Modern research has opened our eyes to the dangers caused by exposure to toxic chemicals and small particles that could be lurking in the air that we breathe, the water we drink, the food that we eat and the products we use on our bodies.
But there’s another type of pollution many of us overlook that has the same detrimental impact on our health as other types of pollution. Although not an uncommon concept, light pollution is something we need to be paying more attention to as it affects more than just the health and function of our eyes.
According to studies, light acts directly on the retina – the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue located at the back of the human eye – to allow us to see things and to fulfill several non-image-forming tasks. These include synchronizing our circadian rhythms to a 24-hour cycle and suppressing pineal melatonin secretion, both of which have a huge impact on our physical, mental, emotional and metabolic health. 
Unfortunately, technological advances have introduced artificial illumination into our daily lives. Unnatural light sources like LED lights and digital screens have now become inescapable sources of light pollution. This constant exposure to different wavelengths and intensities of light not only threatens to damage our retinas permanently, but also wreaks havoc on our overall health.
How Artificial Blue Light harms your eyes
Light is composed of energy-emitting particles that travel in waves of varying length. These waves make up the electromagnetic spectrum and are represented by different colors. The human eye only sees what belongs to the visible end of this spectrum, which is represented by the colors violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. 
Light rays with longer wavelengths belong to the red end of the visible spectrum and emit less energy than light rays at the blue end. Blue light rays have shorter wavelengths that range from 380 to 500 nanometers (nm) and produce high amounts of energy. About one third of all visible light is high-energy blue light.
Besides ultraviolet rays, sunlight contains various shades of red, yellow, green and blue light rays. As sunlight travels through the atmosphere, the particles that make up high-energy, short-length waves collide with air molecules, causing blue light to scatter everywhere. This is what causes the sky to appear blue to the human eye. 
According to research, about 25% of sunlight is blue light, although the actual amount may vary depending on the season, the time of day and the latitude of your location.  Unlike other forms of light, your eyes cannot effectively filter blue light, so more of this high-energy light passes through your eyes and makes it to your retinas. 
Because too much high-energy light is bad for the eyes, we humans have developed ways to limit how much blue light enters our eyes. Squinting in bright sunlight and that instantaneous reflex to look away from the sun are just some of the evolutionary adaptations we’ve managed to come up with to protect our eyes from blue light damage.
Unfortunately, these physical responses aren’t very helpful when we’re dealing with artificial blue light. Aside from the fact that we spend hours and hours staring at our phones or computer screens, the proximity of these artificial blue light sources puts our eyes in danger of retinal damage. 
In case you’re wondering, there’s a valid reason why artificial blue light is considered more damaging than natural blue light. Although sunlight is a bigger source of blue light than digital devices, natural blue light has a longer wavelength, somewhere between 455 to 495 nm. This range is actually not harmful but is, in fact, beneficial to overall health. 
On the other hand, most of the blue light emitted by digital devices is in the 400 to 490 nm range, with LED screens peaking somewhere between 435 to 440 nm. This shorter-wavelength, high-energy blue light has been found to cause irreversible oxidative and photochemical damage to cells in the cornea and retina. 
According to a study published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology, blue light with wavelengths between 415 to 455 nm like that emitted by LEDs can cause dry eye, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. It can also inhibit melatonin production and enhance adrenocortical hormone production, which could lead to hormonal imbalance and poor-quality sleep. 
Blue Light exposure affects your overall health
Your circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, is a set of physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.  These changes are part of the non-visual effects light exerts on your brain. While all types of visible light can influence your circadian rhythm, studies have found that blue light has the largest impact of all. 
As noted by a study published in the Journal of Biophotonics, blue light is responsible for synchronizing your biological clock to the solar 24-hour cycle. This synchronization is crucial to your overall health because it affects your mood, brain function and sleep quality. Studies show that people with sleep-wake patterns that are not in-sync with the night and day cycle have a high risk of developing psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. 
Whether you benefit from blue light or suffer from it depends on the time of day and the intensity of the blue light you’re exposed to. For instance, exposure to natural blue light during daytime can increase your alertness and help your brain perform optimally. But chronic exposure to low-intensity blue light emitted by modern devices, especially before bedtime, can have a negative effect on your sleep quality and cause your circadian rhythm to get out of sync.
A population of specialized nerve cells called retinal ganglion cells reside in the retina of your eye. These cells, which help regulate your brain’s responses to light, are extremely sensitive to blue light. A study published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences traced these responses specifically to brain regions associated with alertness, fear and stress responses, hormone regulation, emotional responses and appetite regulation, suggesting that blue light exposure influences a broad range of physiological processes and behaviors. 
When blue light reaches your retina, retinal ganglion cells are stimulated to produce a photopigment called melanopsin. This protein suppresses your production of melatonin, the hormone released by your pineal gland at night to promote sleep. This is what keeps you awake during the day.
And because blue light triggers your melanopsin production, using blue light-emitting devices at night can mess with your sleep and week cycle. As reported by a study published in BMC Research Notes, artificial blue light not only decreases your sleepiness at night, it also reduces your alertness the following day. 
A Harvard study also found that disruptions to your circadian rhythm can increase your risk of developing diabetes and obesity.  An out-of-sync body clock not only raises your blood sugar levels, it also causes your leptin levels to go down. The hormone leptin is what makes you feel full after meals. Having low leptin levels can cause you to overeat, which can raise your risk of becoming overweight or obese.
Studies show that the hearts of overweight or obese individuals need to work harder in order to keep blood circulation going. This means that there’s a lot of strain on their blood vessels, which are primed to respond by resisting the flow of blood. As a consequence, their blood pressures go up. High blood pressure eventually damages blood vessels and can lead to heart disease. 
How to protect your eyes and health from Artificial Blue Light
Chronic exposure to artificial blue light from smartphones, tablets, TV screens, computers or laptops, fluorescent lights and LED lights can lead to serious health issues. It can also cause retinal degradation and accelerate genetic diseases that affect the retina. To maintain healthy vision and optimal health, you need to protect your eyes from artificial blue light.
Due to their shorter wavelengths, blue light rays flicker more easily than rays with longer wavelengths. This flickering creates a glare that, according to experts, causes the headaches, eye strain and physical and mental fatigue people often experience when they stare at LED screens for hours. 
Experts also say that people who use digital devices for long periods tend not to blink as often as they normally do, which can cause discomfort and dry eyes.  Although your eyes are equipped with natural light filters, these are not enough to protect your retina from the irreversible damage caused by artificial blue light. 
Once your retina is damaged, you’ll inevitably develop visual problems that can ultimately lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a progressive eye disease and is the leading cause of permanent loss of vision particularly in older adults aged 50 and above.  In addition to AMD, excessive blue light exposure has also been linked to glaucoma and other retinal degenerative diseases. 
Today, eliminating all sources of artificial blue light from your life is quite impossible. After all, digital devices with LED screens have become indispensable tools for us in almost every aspect of our daily lives. So if you’re one of the many people required to spend hours in front of a digital screen as part of your job, the best thing that you can do to circumvent the negative effects of artificial blue light is to reduce your exposure to it.
Blue-light blocking glasses like the ones offered by the Health Ranger Store can help you reduce the amount of blue light that enters your eyes while you’re working.
Groovy Bee® Blue Light Blocking Amber Glasses and Groovy Bee® Unbreakable Indoor Blue Light Blocking Glasses (Tea Tint) are protective eyewear specially designed to filter out artificial blue light emitted by digital devices without affecting your vision. These high-quality glasses are fitted with special lenses that provide superior visual clarity and protection from digital eye strain. The amber blue light blocking glasses are designed for outdoor use as well as indoor prior to bed time, while the tea tint blue light blocking glasses are meant for indoor use.
According to a study published in the journal PLoS One, removing the blue component of artificial light sources is an effective way to protect your eyes.  Wearing blue-light blocking glasses while you’re using your computer, phone or tablet offers the following benefits:
- They support healthy vision
- They provide great protection for your eyes
- They prevent tired eyes and digital eye strain
- They support healthy sleeping patterns
Designed for outdoor and indoor use prior to sleep, Groovy Bee® Blue Light Blocking Amber Glasses can help reduce your overall exposure to blue light no matter where you go. Registered as medical devices with the FDA, our blue-light blocking amber glasses boast superior optical clarity that lets your eyes work long hours with less strain. They are also lightweight, windproof, waterproof and shockproof, and are capable of blocking both UVA and UVB rays.
Groovy Bee® Unbreakable Indoor Blue Light Blocking Glasses (Tea Tint) are designed for indoor use only and are suitable for dim environments. Made of a highly durable material, these glasses have passed the falling ball impact test and won’t break easily. They are also fitted with special lenses that not only block blue light but also provide superior visual clarity and a more effective contrast between red and blue objects. This protective eyewear is also registered as a medical device with the FDA.
Groovy Bee® Blue Light Blocking Amber Glasses and Groovy Bee® Unbreakable Indoor Blue Light Blocking Glasses (Tea Tint) feature a simple, sleek design and provide full eye coverage. They come with adjustable, non-slip nose pads that ensure they stay comfortably in place no matter how long you wear them. For better sleep quality, wear blue light-blocking glasses at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime, especially if you’re going to use any digital device. Both of these products are expertly made in Taiwan.
Prevent artificial blue light from wreaking havoc on your eyes and health by wearing blue-light blocking glasses for maximum protection!