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The Blue Light Effect: Being Grateful for Technology but Protecting Yourself, Too

The Blue Light Effect: Being Grateful for Technology but Protecting Yourself, Too

Do you find yourself spending more and more time staring into a screen? Whether you’re working from home, in the office, or have recently developed a TikTok addiction, screen time is a big part of our lives these days. And while screen time has increased since the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not only affecting adults. 

Why does it matter if everyone is turning to screens for entertainment, news, and to stay connected? It’s because screens are one source of blue light, and it’s believed that the blue light spectrum can cause a host of different problems, including health concerns.

Blue Light and Your Computer 

Why is blue light bad? It’s been suggested that blue light can: 

♦ Negatively impact eyes in many ways

Cause sleeplessness by suppressing melatonin

♦ Disrupt your circadian rhythm

♦ Possibly contribute to certain types of cancers

♦ Help in the development of diabetes

♦ Fuel obesity

♦ Prompt heart disease

♦ Increase the risk of depression

Not just that, if we dive deeper into what the blue light effect on eyes is, we find that it could cause permanent eye damage, may contribute to age-related macular degeneration,  which includes vision loss, and it can prompt Digital Eye Strain Syndrome or, as it’s sometimes known, Computer Vision Syndrome.

A Little More About Blue Light

What is blue light? Blue light occurs naturally in the visible light spectrum. You are exposed to blue light when you’re outside, as the sun emits this short wavelength and high energy source of light. Blue light is also found in your tech devices, such as fluorescent and LCD lights, flat-screen televisions, computer screens, smartphones, and other digital devices with screens.

Not all blue light is bad for you; in fact, some exposure is believed necessary and useful. The problem is that there are so many modern devices that emit blue light, and people spend a lot of their time staring at it and keeping it in close proximity to their eyes.

The good news is that there are ways you can cut back on your blue light exposure to protect your eyes and possibly your health.

Cut Down on Blue Light Exposure

If you learn how to protect your eyes from blue light, you can avoid some of the associated potential downsides.

Less Screen Time

Cutting down on screen time is an obvious way to remove some blue light exposure from your life. Some people will love this idea because they instinctively know they could benefit from less screen time and more time connected to the real world. Other people will see this as a totally impractical option because their screen time is vital to their life. This is where you need to make a judgment call.

Take Breaks

If you can’t cut down on your computer time, then make a point to take breaks. The 20-20-20 rule is a great practice. It’s based on the idea that you take a 20-second break from your computer every 20 minutes and force your eyes to look at a spot 20 feet away. This gives your eyes a bit of a break. 

Covering your open eyes with your hands is also a way to reduce strain. It lets your eyes adjust to the darkness and can even relieve some stress and tension you might be feeling.

Scheduling hourly computer breaks is also a good way to break up your screen time while giving your eyes and brain a little break. Get up every hour, walk a lap, or go to the restroom, grab a snack, or do something that takes you away from a screen for a minute or two.

Filter the Blue Light

While your body needs some blue light, it’s probably going to get that when you go outside. Using a blue light filter on your computer, tablet, and phone is a smart idea. There are so many options available now. Blue light filters include:

♦ Screen protectors

♦ Blue light blocking glasses

♦ Tinted glasses. Some popular tints are amber, orange, and “espresso.”

♦ Use blue light filters built into your devices

♦ Try an app like F.lux to reduce blue light

♦ Keep your screens further away from you

If you want to make your blue light filtering even more effective, try layering a few different tips to benefit even more. And what are your blue light filter benefits?

♦ Less eye strain

♦ Improved sleep

♦ Prevention of certain types of eye disease

How to Boost Eye Health

An even better approach to boosting eye health is to support your eye health through your diet and supplements. Certain foods with the “right” vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are great for your body and boost health. There are some specific compounds that are proven great for your eye health. If you focus on adding the following to your diet, you might give your eyes a little extra power to ward off future problems.

♦ Lutein: Lutein is a carotenoid, a pigment found both in plants and in your retina. 
Adding more to your diet increases the density in your retina. They are also good at naturally absorbing blue light.

♦ Zeaxanthin: Zeaxanthin is very similar to lutein in both its properties and the way it works.

♦ Astaxanthin: Astaxanthin is a very powerful antioxidant that can fight oxidative stress and improve blood flow in the eye.

♦ Vitamin B/Thiamine: This vitamin is often recommended for eye health because it’s thought to reduce your risk of cataracts. It’s considered an anti-stress vitamin.

♦ Vitamin C: This is a prevalent antioxidant that the American Optometric Association says can lower the risk of cataract and helps slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.

♦ Vitamin E: Another natural antioxidant, vitamin E, is great for your eyes and other tissues and organs. Vitamin E also supports your immune system, helps the body use vitamin K, prevents blood clotting by widening blood vessels, and helps cells interact with each other to perform regular tasks throughout the body.

♦ Omega-3 fatty acids: Found mainly in fish, this fatty acid is believed to help develop retinal cells and help the retina and cornea heal after damage from light exposure or aging.

Unfortunately, our bodies don’t create these antioxidants on their own, but that’s where we can help. LiveWell’s OptiWell is formulated with lutein and astaxanthin, which can help protect your eyes from the damaging effects of blue light. We’ve also added vitamin E to help your body maintain proper immune function as an effective defense against free radicals. 

We want to continue to enjoy what technology offers us, thankfully we have options that ensure nutrients and protection when and where we need it most.  

Living Well

We love our screens, they’ve become essential in modern lives in so many ways, yet they’re probably not the best thing to be staring at all day long. Cutting back, limiting, and reducing the amount of blue light that your eyes are bombarded with can help you live a healthier life and protect your eyes.  

While blue light is everywhere and has some benefits, it’s the length of time and close proximity that makes blue light potentially hazardous to your eyes, sleep, and health in other ways. Taking proactive steps to reduce the strain on your eyes by blocking and limiting blue light exposure is a great way to show your eyes your support.

LiveWell’s OptiWell and eating foods with key nutrients can also bolster your eye health. Being truly healthy means being committed to your body. Focusing on making good choices and fueling it efficiently goes a long way toward looking and feeling healthier today and in the future.