Written by: Henry Smith & Mary Smith
Most businesses and schools have been using exclusive electronic means to work and communicate throughout this pandemic. While this has streamlined work and school, increasing your screen time (including your phone and TV) can have serious health effects if the right precautions aren’t followed. Aside from the most discussed negative of daily inactivity from sitting and working in front of a computer, another one of the biggest threats from computers is to your eyes. Blue light from technology can have one of the biggest impacts on your daily mood and performance.
Have you ever considered the health effects associated with staring at a computer screen? You may not know this yet but staring at a computer screen all day isn’t good for you. Generally speaking, staring at a computer screen will cause eye strain, eventually giving you computer vision syndrome or “digital eye strain.” This is due to computers and electronics having a special kind of light known as blue light. Furthermore, you may experience hormone changes resulting in loss of sleep or mood swings, macular degeneration (which is when the photoreceptor cells in your retina die), or even partial blindness which occurs when the retina is damaged.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light particles are extremely bright light particles that illuminate from almost all your technology’s screens. Once this blue light enters your eyes, the negative health effects mentioned above begin to take effect immediately. Recent research gives us a look at why some of these health effects might be happening. Dr. Ajith Karunarathne and her team conducted research by shining blue light particles into the retina and examining the results. They found that once the light interacts with the retina, it triggers a deadly chemical reaction that kills photoreceptor cells. Unlike some cells in our body, photoreceptor cells never grow back.
Although blue light molecules come with many negative health effects, your potential to damage your own health generally stems from two factors. First, how much time you spend in front of your screens. People who spend large amounts of time exposed to blue light have the highest risk for damage. Second, research shows that with age people begin to lose a naturally made molecule in the eye called Alpha Tocopherol. This molecule is an antioxidant in the body and eyes that helps prevent the cells from dying. Because of this, people of higher age are at a significantly higher risk for eye damage than those of a younger age.
How Do We Fix It?
After the discovery of how damaging blue light can be to your eyes and overall wellbeing, many doctors and glasses companies have started providing tips and engineering products to counteract the negative effects. Below, we listed some of the top products and tips for combatting harmful blue light molecules.
Blue light filtration glasses
Several members of the IA team swear by their blue light glasses! This helps with eye strain and headaches at the office.
Check these out from Amazon! Both Mary and Henry use these blue light filtering glasses while working.
Avoid electronic lighting before bed
Blue light keeps your brain awake and disrupts sleep, even long after you’ve ended electronic use.
Blue light phone screen filter
For those of you who love to work on the go (or for those of you who can’t resist using your phones before bedtime).
Rest your eyes
If you feel eye strain begin, give your eyes a rest. Most eye doctors recommend the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes looking at your computer or other blue light device, spend 20 seconds focusing on something 20 feet away.
With businesses and schools increasingly growing in online activity, it is important to consider some of the negative health effects that come with electronic use. Protect yourself, your team, and your children by implementing some of the solutions laid out in this blog! The health risks associated with blue light exposure are not worth it. It is important to treat all your body with the respect it deserves, including your eyes. Make sure that you are equipped with the knowledge and materials to combat the negative health effects of this upcoming age of technology.