Blue Light: A Health Threat Hiding in Plain Sight

Is your vision at risk?

 A Health Threat Hiding in Plain SightHow many hours of screen time are in your day?
Most of us spend the bulk of our waking hours staring at a digital screen. Studies suggest that 60% of people spend in excess of 6 hours daily in front of some electronic device. Just a generation ago, parents worried primarily about the number of hours their kids watched television. Today, 93% of teens have a computer or have access to one, and digital displays are everywhere, including school classrooms. In addition to computers and TV screens, hand-held video games, Kindles, tablets, and smart phones lure us with numerous tempting opportunities to keep our eyes glued to them. The evolution in digital screen technology has advanced dramatically over the years, too, and many of today’s electronic devices use LED back-light technology to help enhance screen brightness and clarity. These LEDs emit very strong blue light waves. LED and fluorescent lighting are also a source of blue light. Unfortunately, there’s growing evidence that overexposure to this blue light is harmful to your eyes and detrimental to your health.

What is Blue Light and why is it harmful?
Blue light waves are among the shortest, highest energy wavelengths in the light spectrum visible to the human eye. Because of this, they flicker more easily and create glare that may be a cause of eyestrain, and headaches. Our eyes’ natural filter do not provide sufficient protection against blue light rays from the sun, let alone the blue light emitted by electronic gadgets and fluorescent lights. Prolonged exposure to it may cause retinal damage, and, according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, increases your risk of macular degeneration, and ultimately vision loss. Also, when one is exposed to blue light at night for long periods, the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone which regulates sleep, lowers over time. The resulting sleep disturbances can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm, and lead to physical and mental fatigue. A Harvard medical study has linked working the night shift, with its inevitable exposure to blue light, to the development of heart disease, obesity, several types of cancer, and an increased risk of depression.

Who needs protection from blue light?
Everyone who regularly uses a tablet or computer, watches a widescreen TV, checks their cell phone frequently or uses LED or CFL lighting needs to to take some precautions. It’s important to note that youngsters are especially vulnerable. Before age 10, the crystalline lens and cornea are not yet fully matured. According to statistics from a study, children and teenagers spend more than 7 hours per day consuming electronic media, so parents should make a concerted effort to limit the amount of screen time their children are allowed in order to prevent damage from occurring.

How can we get protection from
blue light exposure?
There are simple common sense ways to minimize blue light, such as reducing glare by adjusting the screen brightness setting on your device or changing the background color of the home screen to a cool gray. Consider getting a glare reduction filter, and clean your screen often. A dust and smudge-free screen helps cut down glare. Dim surrounding lights competing with your screen indoors, and when outside, try to avoid using your device in direct sunlight. Try increasing the text size setting to make screen content easier to read. Most importantly, blink more often! Take a 20-20-20 break: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something else 20 feet away.

But by far the most effective way to protect your vision is wearing eyewear that shields your eyes from blue light’s detrimental effects. Dura Vision

BlueProtect is a new eyeglass lens product developed by Zeiss, which is specially designed to filter out undesirable high energy blue light. As well as cutting the penetration of harmful rays, BlueProtect lenses improve contrast by visually reducing screen brightness, flickering and providing an overall visual experience that is comfortable and strain-free. The Eye Associates is proud to be a ZEISS
certified provider, and BlueProtect lenses are available at every one of The Optical Gallery locations.

The Eye Associates

Richard E. Hector, MD
Robert S. Friedman, MD
Cathleen McCabe, MD
Brian Foster, MD
Joshua Mali, MD
Charles Anthony II, MD
Todd Berger, MD
Jeffrey Kasper, MD
Ahmad Tarabishy, MD
Scott B. Han, OD
Michael Camp, OD
Edwin Detweiler III, OD
Lori Ann Long, OD
Robert Rego, OD

Toll Free: 1-866-865-2020

6002 Pointe West Blvd
(1 block south of Blake Medical Center
off 59th St West)

7230 55th Avenue East
(12 Oaks Plaza at SR 70 & I-75)

7915 US Hwy 301 North, # 101
(Harris Professional Center,
corner Hwy 301 N & 80th Ave E)

2111 Bee Ridge Road
(South of Southgate Mall off US 41)

3894 Sun City Blvd
(on SR 674 across from Burger King)

Dermatology & Hearing only
2101 61st Street West

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