Blue Light – how harmful is it?

What’s all the fuss over BLUE LIGHT?

Blue Light from a ComputerBlue light wavelengths, which are especially present in the morning light, are beneficial during the daytime in many ways because they increase attention span, boost reaction times, improve mood, and suppresses the sleep producing hormone melatonin. Human eyes are sensitive to light frequencies within the “visible light spectrum” of 400-700 nanometers in wavelength. Blue light is sometimes called “near uv light” because it is at the short end of that spectrum, closest to the wavelengths we refer to as “ultraviolet” or “uv”, and can be harmful in high doses.

Blue light exists in sunlight of course, but is also emitted from a variety of things most of us use every day like smart phones, laptops, tablets, even new flat screen TVs with OLED screens. While blue light rays are helpful during those morning hours, using your iPad, smartphone, or laptop before bed can actually trick the body into speeding up metabolism, thus making sleep more difficult!

As if all the tossing, turning, and sleepless nights weren’t enough, there is mounting medical evidence that prolonged exposure to blue light could permanently damage your retina and contribute to cataracts. The natural lens of the eye actually improves in its ability to filter blue light as it yellows with age. The lenses of 65-year-old who has not yet had cataract surgery filters out almost all of the near uv light entering the eye because of the yellowing of the lens with age (as cataracts form). The downside is that this results in poor vision in lower light conditions, like nighttime driving.

So what can you do to prevent the harmful effects of blue light? We here at Milwaukee Eye Care have come up with a list of our favorite tips and tricks to keeping blue light at bay…..

1) Put down your smartphone, computer, or tablet at least an hour before bed.

WHAT!?! We know, we know…this may be a seemingly impossible feat for some, but blue light stimulates your brain and prevents you from feeling tired! Giving technology a rest an hour before bed will in turn help you catch the zzzz’s your body needs.

2) Protect your eyes from harmful blue light with the latest technology in anti-glare coatings.

The entire staff at Milwaukee Eye Care loves Crizal anti-glare products. Crizal Prevencia is a product out on the market that not only reduces glare, but filters out harmful uv and blue-violet light. It’s the perfect coating for the tech savvy individual who frequently uses their smart phone/computer.

3) Pick a Pair of Sunglasses.

wrap glassesSunglasses that fit properly and have the correct protection are crucial, especially for children and patients who have had cataract surgery. Consider yellow pigmented or polarized lenses to block out UV and HEV light, and choose frames that have more wrap to ensure maximum protection.


Amanda A., Optician for Milwaukee Eye Care