Could your digital devices be harming your health?

The plethora of electronic devices in use today, such as cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers, has drastically increased our exposure to blue light. 

Blue Light and Vision Loss

Blue light may cause oxidative damage to the eyes, and may play an integral role in causing age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to significant vision loss.

 Blue Light and Sleep

Melatonin is a sleep hormone in our bodies that helps to regulate our circadian rhythms. Our eyes contain receptors that give information to our body that regulates our sense of day and night. Blue light has been shown by researchers to actually boost attention and mood during the day, but chronic exposure to blue light at night can give messages to our brain to reduce melatonin secretion, which tells us to wake up and be more alert—potentially disrupting our circadian rhythm.

 Blue Light and Health Risks

Although blue light has been loosely linked to an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and disruptions in the circadian rhythm, it remains an important part of natural and artificial lighting. Ask your optometrist or ophthalmologist if you’re at particular risk for eye conditions that may be associated with blue light exposure. This usually includes a review of your family history and a dilated retinal eye exam

 As always, keep the following tips in mind for UV eye protection:

  • Limit extended sun exposure whenever possible.
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats while in the sun.
  • Consider a melanin pigmented polarized lens. Although it may cause changes in color perception, it cuts down outdoor blue light exposure.
  • Reduce blue light exposure by keeping digital devices out of the bedroom.
  • Reduce internet browsing in the evening to reduce potential blue light from your computer screen and potential changes in circadian rhythm.

 Sources: Blue Light Exposure Is It Really a Concern?

By Troy Bedinghaus, O.D., About.com Guide