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Think about your average work day and the things that you put your eyes through. More than likely, you check your smartphone while still laying in bed, or at least while eating breakfast, and you drive to work where you end up sitting at a computer for most of the day. As if that wasn’t enough exposure to digital screens, many of us end up spending time on a laptop or tablet at night too. Maybe we’re watching our favorite show as a way to unwind or we’re texting with friends, but no matter the activity, one constant remains the same - we are all exposing our eyes to damaging blue light at an alarming rate every single day.

When we think about eye problems, typically some sort of trauma or infection comes to mind instead of harm from a computer screen, so what exactly are we talking about? Today, we’re going to learn about what blue light actually is, how it can both help and harm our eyes and bodies, and uncover the one tool that will become a total game changer when it comes to dealing with blue light.

How Can Light Be Blue?
Many people wonder if the term blue light is something fancy that scientists use because a simple look around the room will tell anyone that light isn’t actually that color. While it’s true that we may not experience light in varying tones with the naked eye, there is actually an entire spectrum of light that reaches us in an array of shades and when combined, creates the light that we see each day.

You may have heard of ultraviolet light, or UV rays, and know that it’s the section of the light spectrum that can cause damage. These light rays contain a ton of energy and because of their high frequency can lead to various issues on a cellular level. At the other end of the spectrum is the light that’s visible to us, and within the entire light spectrum show up as red, yellow, and green tones. Again, our eyes don’t specifically detect these colors, but when isolated, you can actually see them take on each of their unique tones.

In between UV and visible light comes the section that we’re focusing on today - blue light. It contains a decent amount of energy, as it’s sandwiched between normal light and UV light, and this energy can cause damage if someone is exposed to it in large amounts. How exactly can blue light affect us and why would we need to even think about blocking it? Let’s find out!

Three Cheers For Blue Light
It’s important to realize that the sun isn’t the only source that actually emits this spectrum of colors, as lightbulbs and digital devices also produce an assortment of light. Digital devices, a true modern day miracle, tend to expose our eyes to a large amount of blue light specifically, but we’ll get to more on that in a moment.

While blue light does have its downsides, there is actually a benefit to having it around us. The human body knows exactly how to process blue light and can use it to its advantage. Blue light works with specific receptors in the body to boost mental alertness, help to bolster one’s mood, and can even assist with cognitive function and memory. Many studies have shown that seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that typically occurs during the fall and winter, can also be treated with light therapy, proving that blue light can actually help to cheer us up on a microscopic level.

One of the most important functions that blue light can help with is the circadian rhythm, which is the body’s own sleep-wake cycle. Imagine if you lived in a dark room and had no exposure to the sun or any type of artificial light, and ask yourself if you would still fall asleep and wake up at around the same times you do currently. It’s highly unlikely, as blue light contributes to our ability to know when it’s time to fall asleep and wake up. While many other elements work to keep our circadian rhythm in check, blue light is definitely an important factor.

When Blue Light Is Concerning

We know that blue light is all around us as a natural part of the visible light we see, so how exactly can it suddenly be a danger to our eye health? Think back to how people lived 100 years ago - there weren’t any digital devices at all that emitted blue light, so the only exposure people had was from natural sources and the few lights in their homes. Our bodies were designed to be able to handle this level of exposure, but as technology advanced, our capability to process blue light didn’t increase along with it.

Blue light has been found to affect a person’s eyes in a number of ways, leading many in the eye care industry to become concerned. One of the major issues that has come up in recent years is digital eye strain, where the blue light that comes out of laptops, tablets, and more often leads to eye fatigue, headaches, and more. Blue light waves tend to be more scattered compared to other colors, meaning that as you look at your screen, your eyes pick up a certain amount of visual “noise.” This contributes to the symptoms that many people experience after using a screen for long periods of time.

A more serious concern has to do with a disease called macular degeneration, and while many adults will naturally develop this condition as they age, there’s speculation that increased exposure to blue light actually increases one’s risk of developing it earlier. Blue light passes through all portions of the eye and hits directly upon the retina, the portion of the eye that receives light and helps us to see clearly. Many believe that the wavelength of blue light damages cells in the retinal area in a way that mirrors macular degeneration, and with regular exposure, may lead to a disruption in one’s vision.

Finally, we know that blue light is responsible for helping to keep our circadian rhythm in check, but it can also throw things off quite easily as well. Individuals who like to lay in bed at night watching television, scrolling through social media on their phone, or using any other type of digital device likely have a difficult time falling asleep, and that’s due to the brain interpreting this blue light exposure as a message to stay awake. Insomnia and other sleep issues could potentially be prevented by limiting one’s blue light exposure a few hours before bed.
Blocking Blue Light
Since most of us are absolutely inundated with blue light on a regular basis, how can we reduce our exposure to this harmful light while still maintaining our effectiveness? We can’t exactly tell our boss that we have to work fewer hours per week because of the blue light coming out of the computer, and giving up fun activities like watching television or playing computer games doesn’t sound too appealing either. Thankfully, industry experts have developed a tool that can protect your eyes no matter what you’re doing on your device.

Blue light glasses have become quite popular in recent years and the way they work is very simple. We know that different colors of light have varying wavelengths, and while the eye works to block some types of light, it allows blue light to pass right through to the retina. When you wear a pair of blue-blocking glasses, the lenses themselves work to stop blue light from reaching your eyes, thus allowing you to have a reduced amount of exposure when on laptops, cell phones, and more.

They work by utilizing a yellow toned lens and a special type of anti-reflective coating designed for computer use, and when both of these elements are used together, they literally absorb blue light and stop it in its tracks. Individuals who use blue-blocking glasses on a regular basis have found that they are able to sleep better at night, remain productive and focused at work, and experience fewer symptoms of digital eye strain compared to those who don’t use any eyewear on the computer at all. Initially, it may take some adjusting as seeing everything with a bit of a yellow tinge is a bit odd, but before long, your eyes will feel relaxed even after hours at the computer.

If you find that you’re using a digital device during a large portion of the day, even if it’s for personal use rather than at work, you’ll want to explore the great selection of blue-blocking glasses by Gamma Ray. We offer high-quality lenses with a yellow tint along with superb anti-reflective coating in a range of frame styles to suit everyone’s needs. Best of all, they’re incredibly affordable, allowing you to keep a pair at the office, one on your bedside table, and maybe another near the television at home. Take some time to consider how blue light might be affecting your eye health, then head over to our blue-blocking glasses selection to start shopping!

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