How to Reduce the Impact of Harmful Blue Light on Your Eyes

Chicago at sunset with Lake Michigan in background

Vienna, Va. (Feb. 26, 2019) – As digital technology becomes embedded in all aspects of our daily lives, more consumers are aware of the blue light these devices emit. With increased usage of digital devices, it’s important to understand potential visual and ocular health risks, like digital eye strain, and take proactive steps to protect our eyes.

Visible light exists on an electromagnetic spectrum measured in wavelength; where harmful blue light encompasses wavelengths that sit close to Ultraviolet Light (UV).  The major source of naturally occurring UV and blue light is the sun, but digital devices and fluorescent lights can artificially emit blue light.  Although, beneficial blue light (which sits further away from UV on the spectrum) plays an integral role in setting circadian rhythms, boosting attention and enhancing mood, constant exposure and close proximity to harmful blue light from digital devices can carry potential health risks.

According to a new study by market-research group Nielsen, American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading or simply interacting with media, up from nine hours and 32 minutes just four years ago. As screen time increases, so does the risk of digital eye strain and related side effects like headaches, tiredness and dry eye.

To reduce your risk of digital eye strain and take control of digital device consumption, MyEyeDr. is sharing four quick tips:

  • Wear your latest prescription. If you have prescribed vision correction, it is important to wear your prescription and follow recommendations provided by your optometrist. Visit your optometrist every year to ensure your prescription is up to date. If you’re one of the many Americans who use digital devices every day, consider lenses that increase contrast and moderate the effects of glare, also known as blue-blocking lenses.
  • Give your eyes a break. Increase the text size on your digital devices and adjust contrast to make content more readable. When working on a computer, position your display so that the top of the screen is at or slightly below eye level to decrease tension in the neck and back, and make sure it is at least an arm’s length away. Additionally, focusing on digital devices up-close for an extended period of time causes the retina to lengthen, which can increase the risk of developing conditions like myopia. Finally, incorporate daily walks into your routine to give your eyes a break, focusing on something far away, take in some new scenery and don’t forget your shades.
  • Make the 20-20-20 rule a habit. Do you have dry, tired eyes? You aren’t alone. According to The Vision Council, roughly 65 percent of Americans suffer from digital eye strain. Sustained digital device usage can wear out your eyes and negatively impact their performance. As a rule of thumb, use the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. This refocuses your eyes and allows blinking to return to a normal rate.
  • Schedule an annual eye exam. Having a routine comprehensive eye exam is the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat computer vision problems. Studies show that continued exposure to blue light over time can lead to damaged retinal cells and vision problems like age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Consult your local optometrist and schedule an annual eye exam to detect any vision issues early and ensure digital device usage does not impact your quality of life.

“According to The Vision Council, close to 49 percent of American adults say they aren’t familiar with digital eye strain,” said Dr. Artis Beatty, chief medical officer at MyEyeDr. “By educating patients on the risks of extended digital device usage, we can help them alleviate short-term discomfort and mitigate potential long-term issues.”

Schedule an annual eye exam with MyEyeDr. today, and our trusted optometrists will help advise you on any issues associated with prolonged digital device usage.