Did you know that exposure to artificial blue light takes a toll on your eyes?
Life as we know it wouldn’t exist without light – natural light, that is. The same can’t be said, however, for artificial light, specifically the type found in your screens and devices. In fact, researchers are just starting to uncover the long-term side effects of blue light exposure on a person’s overall health. Even worse, it doesn’t even matter if you aren’t looking directly at it: The presence of blue light in your immediate vicinity can still adversely affect you. (1)
It’s a good thing that you can escape the pitfall of artificial blue light. Here are 11 ways that you can minimize the damage that exposure to blue light can do, not just to your eyes, but also to your overall health.
- Get away from your screen and rest your eyes.
This may be the easiest way to limit exposure to artificial blue light. Turn off your screens or get up from your desk. If you can, spend your whole lunch break just catching up with your workmates or doing another screenless activity instead of replacing the artificial blue light from your computer with the artificial blue light from your phone.
- Observe the 20-20-20 rule.
If you can’t spend a lot of time away from the computer screen, you can at least try and minimize the harm artificial blue light can do to your eyes. One easy way to do this is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. (2) Either set an alarm on your phone that goes off every 20 minutes or download an app that tells you to take a break. After every 20 minutes, take your eyes off your computer screen and stare at an inanimate object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Keep your eyes on your blank wall or stare at the pavement outside your window. It’s difficult to measure 20 feet with just your eyes, but this rule isn’t a strict one, as long as the object is far enough away.
- Tilt your screens.
Try to tilt your computer screens to a lower angle, and raise your chair so the artificial blue light doesn’t hit you directly. When you look at your screen, you should be looking down by a 15 to 20-degree angle.
- Adjust your brightness settings.
If you can, lower the brightness on all your screens, from your computer to your TV and smartphone. Ideally, your screen’s brightness should match the lighting in the room you’re in, so as not to strain your eyes with the high contrast.
- Replace the lightbulbs in your home.
Chances are, you work at an office that uses “cool” or “bright” white fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs can lead to vision problems and other health concerns down the line. Unless you can petition your boss to change the lightbulbs in the entire office, chances are you can only change the bulbs you have at home. Consider switching them out with bulbs that emit a “warm” white tone. (3) Some LED bulbs that emit this tone have less blue light, but you’re better off with incandescent bulbs, which barely emit any blue light at all.
- Limit your exposure by staying away from screens for at least two hours before bedtime.
If you can limit yourself to only looking at screens during work hours, that would be the best option for your eye health. However, many people may not be able to do this. So, in order to prevent artificial blue light from throwing off your circadian rhythm – which is your internal biological clock that controls your sleep-wake cycle – avoid looking at screens for at least two hours before you go to sleep. Instead of scrolling through your social media before shutting the lights off, consider reading a book, solving a puzzle or listening to music or a podcast.
- Use blue light-filtering features and apps on your smartphone.
The average person spends about three hours and 15 minutes a day on their smartphone, amounting to around 49-and-a-half days out of the entire year spent staring at a screen. (4) This doesn’t even account for how much time the average person spends looking at computer screens in the office. Luckily, many smartphones come with built-in features that can at least limit the amount of artificial blue light they emit. If your smartphone doesn’t have this feature, there are many downloadable apps that can provide you with the same effect. If possible, always keep this feature on.
- Avoid looking at screens in the dark.
The lack of ambient light in your surroundings can cause you a lot of eyestrain due to the extreme contrast with your bright artificial blue light-emitting screens. Avoid doing any more damage to your eyes by not using any smartphone or computer altogether when the lights are out. Darkness means sleep, so avoid scrolling through your social media accounts in pitch black. Get some sleep.
- Eat foods that support healthy eyes.
Some studies have shown that certain nutrients can maintain healthy eyes. These nutrients include zinc, copper, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin. To ensure that your eyes are fully supported against the effects of artificial blue light, consume foods that are high in these eye health-promoting nutrients like fish, spinach, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, eggs, lemons, oranges, chia seeds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews and lentils.
- Consume supplements that support optimal vision.
With the amount of artificial blue light being emitted in any one person’s immediate environment, there’s a chance that the body can’t consume enough eye support nutrients through diet alone. Integrating dietary supplements that have eye health-supporting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin into your everyday routine can maintain the healthy levels of these retinal antioxidants in your system.
- Invest in glasses that block blue light.
Taking a break from staring at your screens might not be enough, especially if you spend all day in front of a computer at work. There are certain kinds of glasses that can minimize or outright eliminate the amount of blue light that enters your eyes. These blue light blocking glasses are especially useful if you can’t avoid looking at digital screens. Blue light blocking glasses work by having filters in the lenses that can block or absorb most or all blue light from getting through. Not only can blue light blocking glasses support optimal eye health, but they can also promote the healthy functioning of your circadian rhythm.
Artificial blue light is everywhere, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Follow the steps above, and you will be better prepared in combating blue light. Fortunately, there are products and services, such as blue light blocking equipment and technology, that can mitigate the damage this modern world can cause.
When it comes to blue light blocking glasses, make sure you only purchase blue light blocking glasses from vendors that you trust. Many vendors in the market sell blue light glasses without providing the transmittance spectrum of the glasses they are selling. Moreover, make sure the blue light blocking glasses you buy can truly block "blue light" within the wavelength range of 400-480, the range in which over 88% of the risk of photo-oxidative damage occurs.
With Groovy Bee® Blue Light Blocking Amber Glasses, you can get maximum eye protection and enjoy superior optical clarity, while still feeling comfortable and looking stylish.
Do you have any other tips on limiting your exposure to artificial blue light? Let us know in the comments below.
Share this article with your friends and tell us how you personally minimize your contact with artificial blue light.