In the age of computer technology we spend a great deal of our lives staring at screens. Whether it’s the computer screen at work, your television screen at home, or your smart phone screen everywhere else, your eyes spend a lot of time looking into the blue light of manmade devices. Our constant exposure to the blue light wavelengths in these devices is not necessarily healthy and can lead to serious eye strain. Luckily, Phillips Safety Products, Inc. has designed a line of StrainCutters blue blocking computer glasses, a product that is sleek and functional, helping your eyes fight off the blues.
All About Blue Light
Blue light occurs naturally and is not at all bad for you – or your eyes – in natural doses. Sunlight contains plenty of blue, and the high-energy visible (HEV) light rays on the blue side of the light spectrum is actually what makes the sky look blue. Light travels in waves (wavelengths) that are measured in nanometers from crest to crest or valley to valley. The visible spectrum of light is between 400nm and 700nm. Blue light comprises of about one-third of the visible spectrum, sitting in the 380nm to 500nm range. HEV or “blue” light consists of the shortest wavelengths in the spectrum as well as the highest energy.
Our main source of blue light is the sun and it is actually a very important part of maintaining good health. HEV light has been shown to boost alertness and improve both memory and mood. It also helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm – the natural cycle of wakefulness and sleep our bodies naturally follow. But even though blue light is good for us to some extent, the additional exposure we receive from our electronic devices may also put us at risk for eye-related health problems.
Your Eyes and Blue Light
Our eyes are not very good at filtering out blue light. While the cornea and lens are effective at blocking UV light from reaching the retina, they have no stopping power against blue light. This is vital information as studies have shown that exposure to too much blue light could damage the retina cells and cause changes that closely resemble those of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration can lead to permanent loss of vision so many eye care providers are understandably concerned with the additional blue light exposure of computers, phones, and tablets.
Long-term eye problems are certainly a major concern, but day-to-day eye problems are also becoming increasingly common. Digital eye strain is a computer-related eye problem that is quickly becoming widespread. In a 2015 survey over 65% of American adults reported symptoms of digital eye strain. But what exactly is digital eye strain and what does blue light have to do with it?
Digital Eye Strain
Digital eye strain is the physical discomfort and weariness that is associated with prolonged use of digital screens. This eye problem manifests itself in dry, tired, irritated eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. And, yes, blue light plays a big part in causing these symptoms.
Since high energy blue light is made up of short wavelengths it scatters more easily than the rest of the visible spectrum. This, in turn, means that it is not easily focused. This unfocused visual “noise” (AKA the blue light emitted by your device) is hard to look at and reduces contrast with surroundings, contributing to digital eye strain. But research has shown that you can fight digital eye strain and even get a better night’s sleep with the use of special blue-light blocking lenses such as those made by Phillips Safety Products, Inc.
You read that right, blue-blocking glasses can indeed help you get a better night’s sleep. Remember when we mentioned that blue light helps regulate our natural circadian rhythm? Well, the additional blue light from your computer screen may be a cause of decreased melatonin levels that can actually disrupt that natural cycle. The disruption of your circadian cycle brought on by, say, the late-night exposure to a tablet, can bring on sleeplessness and fatigue.
Melatonin is the hormone that helps us sleep, and, unfortunately, blue light has been found to suppress melatonin production. As mentioned, blue light is by no means bad for you. But it should be experienced in natural moderation. Our bodies respond to the blue light stimulus of the sun during daylight hours, but continued exposure at night can damage our melatonin levels and sleep patterns. Fixing sleep problems is just another benefit of wearing a pair of blue-blocking glasses while working on your digital devices.
How Do Blue-light Blocking Glasses Work?
Blue-light blocking glasses are designed to block wavelengths less than 500nm ( the range in which blue light exists). This is done with lens filters that absorb or refract blue light, instead of allowing it to reach the eye. By cutting the blue light emitted from your electronic devices you can work and browse with greater comfort. These glasses are non-prescription and have a slight yellow tint to them. They are designed specifically to protect against dry eyes, retina damage, headaches, and sleep disturbance caused by decreases in melatonin.
If you would like to learn more about blue-blocking glasses and our advanced StrainCutters line, please contact us. We specialize in safety eyewear, and pride ourselves on a wide range of technologically advanced filters that work to protect your eyes from all kinds of wavelengths. Our business is your safety!