Ever purchased blue-light blocking glasses? If not, then congratulations – you have saved an amount of money that is unnecessary to spend.
Although blue light has been blamed for loss of sleep and eye damage, which was indeed proved in previous lab experiments in mice, new research on real people shows a different story.
Blue light isn’t your biggest concern
If only a statement cannot convince you, think of the Sun.
Sunlight is mostly blue light, the same as what we try to escape from when we look at electronic screens. More than that, the sunlight on a sunny afternoon is nearly 100,000 times brighter than your computer screen.
However, people don’t escape from sunlight like escaping from e-screens. Also, few human studies have found any link between sunlight exposure and retinal diseases.
If being outside on a sunny afternoon is okay for you, so is looking at your dim-by-comparison tablet.
The reason why we got the conclusion that blue light was bad for eyes in mice experiments is that human eyes are actually different from rodent eyes. We have protective elements, such as macular pigments and the natural blue-blocking ability of the crystalline lens. These structures absorb blue light before it reaches the delicate retina.
However, you still need your sunglasses, because they offer more help than preventing blue light. For example, they can slow down the development of cataracts, which cloud vision.
Why can’t I sleep if it’s not the blue light to be blamed?
The answer is simple – it’s not just the blue light; it’s all light. Your cells in your eyes will sense any color of light and remind you that it’s daytime now and do not go to sleep.
Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, or ipRGCs, sense how light it is in the environment and report to the brain’s master. When you look at a brightly lit screen even at night, the cells help set your internal clock for daytime-level alertness.
Similarly, it’s not the blue light’s fault that you feel eye fatigue after using e-devices for a while. When you stare at your computer screen, your blink rate will drop from about 12 blinks per minute to 6. Tears evaporate off your eye, and of course you feel your eyes dry and tired.
Stop buying yourself blue-light blocking products anymore
As previously said, it doesn’t make sense to block the blue light of all colors of light.
When it turns to sleep quality, any bright light before bed will prevent you from sleeping. It also robs you of restorative rapid-eye-movement sleep, dulls focus ad diminishes brain activity the next day.
As for the products themselves, research has revealed that only about 15% of the blue light is blocked, equally the effect of you holding your phone one more inch from your face. If you don’t feel comfort by keeping one more inch away from your phone, a blue-light blocking product cannot help you either.
What really works
To have a better sleep, turn off your e-devices before bed. “Screen-free” zones are not just for children – we all need that. Avoid e-screens in your bedroom, and outside your bedroom, lower the brightness when you look at your screens.
If you have myopia, hyperopia, or other eye conditions, use professional glasses to help you.
Take care of the surface of your eyes. If you need to stare at your computer screen all day, follow the “20-20-20” rule. This means looking at something 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds every 20 minutes of work.
You can also use a lubricating eye drop before extended computer use. this tactic will reinforce the body’s natural tears and keep the eye’s surface hydrated. Find a product labeled “preservative free”, it works he best.
To conclude, keep screens out of your bedroom, dim the e-devices before bedtime and keep your eye lubricated. And don’t forget to blink.