I moved from Taiwan to Manchester 5 years back. This place is different in a lot of ways. Where I come from, it’s always sunny (at least for the most part of the year) and Manchester barely sees sunlight.
So when I first got here, I realised that I never really appreciated the sun. Who doesn’t love warm sunshine on their skin after cold, rainy days? I mean life itself on earth wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the sun.
While I am a fan of a good, bright summer, I also know the dangers of unprotected sun exposure.
What comes to your mind when you think about the harmful effects of sunlight? Probably UV rays. That is right, but do you know that sunlight also has ‘High-Energy Visible Light’ which can harm your health in more ways than UV rays ever could.
No matter the source or type of HEV light, growing numbers of research are signifying the damaging effects of visible light on our health.
HEV Light vs UV Light
The spectrum of visible light refers to the light waves that the human eye can see. It is present in the sunlight and makes up the colours of the rainbow. High-energy visible light wavelength ranges from 390 nm to 700 nm.
UVA and UVB light from the sun are invisible to the human eye. But they are most definitely felt by your eyes and skin, especially during the daylight hours. Even in the winters when the sun is low, these lights are doing their work. Where UVB causes sunburns, UVA penetrates deeper and damages your skin from within.
Visible light is what makes the sky look blue. Sunlight is a mixture of both visible and invisible lights. However, the range of high-energy visible light wavelengths is shorter and thus conducts more energy.
The wavelengths of HEV light coming from the sun or your electronic devices range from 380 nm to 500 nm. It includes the most dangerous range of blue light wavelengths i.e 415 nm - 455 nm. This is present everywhere and there’s no escaping it except if you are wearing blue light blocking glasses. It’s not like blue light is all bad, it is in fact crucial in our daily light. It regulates a hormone in our body that manages our sleep cycle. But overexposure to these high energy waves - particularly from such close proximity as phone screens - is what makes things tricky.
The blue part of the sunlight is what makes the sky look blue. Due to the short wavelengths, blue light scatters easily and we see the blue sky.
As I’ve said, blue light or HEV light is emitted by our devices as well. So, if you are indulging in computer work or watching late-night television, you are exposing yourself to damaging light.
Dangerous Effects of Visible Light
Research is still being done to find out the long-term effects of HEV light on human health. However, it’s a known and proven fact that blue light exposure can lead to the following issues in the human body.
1. Skin Damage
Blue light triggers free radical generation and poses potential harm to your skin. It encourages oxidative stress in your skin which steals its youthful appearance. This leads to premature skin ageing.
Unlike UVA or UVB, visible light goes deeper into your skin and can destroy proteins such as collagen and elastin. As a result, your skin loses its firmness and you may get visible lines.
So, what should you do to protect your skin from the effects of blue light? Applying sunscreen seems like a logical first step. But don’t just shop for any sunscreen. Go for the ones that have SPF 30 or more on the label and filled with plenty of antioxidants.
2. Sleep Disruption
This is related to what we talked about in the previous section. The natural form of blue light is known to control your psychological alterations. It boosts your mood, improves alertness and brushes up your cognitive functions. Told you blue light isn’t all that bad!
However, it’s the artificial sources of HEV light that should be a cause for concern. It affects the release of the melatonin hormone and disrupts your circadian rhythm. That is why it’s a bad idea especially to use these devices late into the night. So if you’ve been having sleepless nights lately, I guess you have something (not someone) to blame.
Blue light has both positive and negative effects. That’s just how it rolls. It’s you who needs to be careful about your habits. Putting down your smartphone a few hours before bed can help you get a sound sleep.
But, if you are working night shifts or you are a gamer who prefers late-night gaming binges, we have a vast collection of gaming glasses online for you. You can browse through our website real quick and don’t forget to try on your glasses using our virtual mirror.
3. Eye Problems
Due to the short high-energy visible light wavelength, it is more scattered and less focused. When you are looking at a computer or laptop screen, blue light reduces the contrast and makes your eyes buckle down. After some time, you are bound to feel digital eye strain accompanied by headaches or neck and shoulder pain.
One of the effects of blue light is a higher risk of macular degeneration. The blue light goes deep into your eyes and reaches for the macula that makes up your central vision. According to some experts, it may also destroy the tiny light-sensing cells on your retina. This situation could lead to macular degeneration - one of the leading causes of vision loss.
To prevent blue light eye damage, wear glasses with protective blue cut lenses. You don’t have to go anywhere to buy them. Just place an order with us and we will get them to you in no time. And if you want to take them for a test run first, we can give you a free home trial for our glasses and lenses.
How to cut down the Effects of Blue Light?
Since blue light is so destructive, you can take a few easy steps to protect your eyes. Here is what you can do.
- Consider getting a blue light filter on your prescription glasses or even the fake ones.
- Cut down screen time when you can. The less, the better!
- Consider getting blue light screen covers for your devices.
- Adjust the screen setting on your computer.
- Wear transition or polarised sunglasses that filter out 100% visible spectrum sunlight.
- Enjoy meals rich in vitamin A, C and E to boost your ocular health.
- When in front of a computer, take 20 seconds breaks every 20 minutes.
These steps should be enough to guard you against the harmful effects of blue light. Remember, you must not get too much exposure to blue light even if it is coming from the sun.
All it takes is a specialised coating on your lenses to give the best protection to your eyes. Use these tips and if you need glasses, our online spectacles store has no shortage of high-quality blue light glasses.
Like many other things in life, blue light also has both good and bad sides. Strike a balance in your screen habits and use protective gear to protect your vision.