In recent years, blue light has become a hot topic of conversation. But what is blue light, where does it come from, and why should we be concerned about it?
As parents, we must understand the importance of protecting ourselves and our children from overexposure to blue light.
Let’s explore what blue light is, where it comes from, and how we can protect against its damaging effects.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is part of the visible spectrum with a wavelength between 400 nm and 500 nm. Because of blue light's proximity in wavelength to UV light (200 nm and 400 nm), it is well known that blue light (specifically short-wave blue light with a wavelength between 415 nm and 455 nm) can cause eye and skin damage.
Most of the blue light we are exposed to comes from the sun, but a small percentage is emitted by manufactured light sources (e.g., LED lights, mobile phones, computers, and other devices).
The Potential Dangers of Blue Light
Because high-energy blue light passes through the cornea and lens directly to the retina, it can cause photochemical damage to the retina. Overexposure can lead to several diseases, including dry eye, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and more. Blue light also damages the ocular surface through oxidative stress.
In addition, research has shown that exposure to blue light can stimulate the brain while inhibiting melatonin secretion – leading to poor sleep quality. Blue light can cause an increase in adrenocortical hormone production which can disrupt our natural hormonal balance.
It is also less harmful to the skin than UV radiation; however, long-term exposure can still lead to premature aging signs like wrinkles or dark spots if not adequately protected.
How Can We Protect Ourselves From Blue Light?
Here are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your family’s exposure to blue light:
- Consider investing in special blue-light-blocking eyeglasses for everyone in your family (especially kids and teenagers) who spends time on digital devices;
- Limit your children’s screen time;
- Increase natural lighting in your home;
- Utilize apps that filter out blue light;
- Turn off all electronics at least one hour before bedtime;
- Invest in blackout curtains for bedrooms;
- Take regular breaks when using digital devices;
- Drink antioxidants to guard against the oxidative stress caused by blue light; and
- Use the correct blue light sunscreen to protect against UV and blue light exposure when heading outdoors.
Overexposure to blue light can have damaging effects on both our eyesight and skin health. Hence, it’s important for us all – especially parents – to protect ourselves from this dangerous type of radiation.
By limiting screen time when possible, utilizing night shift modes or computer glasses when needed, and wearing sunglasses and blue light sunscreen outdoors, we will reduce our exposure while still benefiting from modern technologies such as computers, cell phones, and tablets.
These simple steps will help ensure that our children don’t suffer unnecessary injury down the road due to exposure over time.
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