Whether you work in an office and stare at a computer all day, regularly scroll through social media on a phone, or binge-watch shows on a laptop or TV, the average person in today’s society is heavily exposed to blue light. The eyes are constantly exposed to stimulation and information, working hard to process everything without us even thinking about it. With more exposure to screens every day, however, the human eye becomes stressed by blue light.
What Is Blue Light?
If you dig deep into your memories from physics class, you’ll recall that visible light is defined by how long wavelengths are and the amount of energy that is produced. Longer wavelengths produce less energy, meaning that they are safer for the human eye. Shorter wavelengths produce more energy and may cause damage to the eye’s ability to function correctly. Blue light from computers, screens, phones, or TVs has the shortest wavelengths. This means that the highest energy is being produced, ultimately damaging the eyes by directly penetrating the light-sensitive retina.
The eye can tolerate the small amount of blue light from the sun during the day, but increased screen time has exposed the human eyes to excess amounts of blue light. Staring at screens can cause eyestrain, headaches, irregular sleep schedule, dry eyes, and blurred vision. One study, conducted by Harvard Medical School, found that exposing the eye to blue light at night suppressed the production of melatonin and shifted circadian rhythms. You can protect the eyes from blue light by using the following tips.
Eat Foods For Eye Health
Just as there are foods that nourish other organs and systems in the body, there are fruits and vegetables that provide carotenoids to help protect the eyes from blue light. The best three carotenoids for your eyes include lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin. These carotenoids have the ability to pass through the blood-retinal barrier to bring protection and nutrients to the eyes.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
These potent antioxidants are found in the inner parts of the eye and work to reduce the risk of light-induced macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, and collards, or in yellow or orange fruits and vegetables like carrots, peppers, and tomatoes.
Working to help the eyes recover from eye fatigue, astaxanthin helps to reduce the risk of dryness, blurred vision, and eye soreness. Astaxanthin is the red pigment that is found typically found in algae, which is what gives crab, crawfish, krill oil, salmon and lobster the pink or red colors.
Good Phone And Computer Habits
How long do you think you spend looking at screens each day? The real answer most likely exceeds whatever number you thought. According to a small study in England, British psychologists found that the average adult spent about five hours per day on his or her phone. Add the additional time of looking at computers for work or watching TV shows later in the evening. Rather than going on your phone for your 10-15 minute break, take a quick stroll outside or simply sit outside and absorb the fresh air. Take action and limit the time you spend looking at screens. Be diligent and don’t resort to screens because of laziness. There are also blue filters, which can be installed on smartphones, to help reduce eye damage.
Making small changes to your daily routine can drastically relieve your eyes of stress. Some small changes you can implement in your daily life can include:
Since most people are going to have a hard time giving up screen time, protect your eyes other ways by wearing sunglasses during the day. It is optimal to purchase polarized lenses, especially those with an amber tint to provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.
When you smoke cigarettes, you produce cyanide, which can negatively affect eye health. In fact, consistently smoking cigarettes can increase the risk of macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome.
Keep Your Eyes Moist
Take time to blink throughout the day in order to help keep your eyes moist. For those who live in dryer climates, it may be beneficial to use a humidifier or homeopathic eye drops to avoid dry eyes.