Here we demonstrate the different colors and the wavelengths attributed to each one of them. Now, the longer the wavelength, the less health effects you’re actually gonna see on your eye. So red, green, above 550, you’re not gonna see as many health effects. Violet light, may have heard of a UV light. That’s when it starts getting dangerous, and blue light is right on that same hinge. But we also, wanna show you how the human eye works, so you can understand how you even see these different colors.
Right here, you have the human eye. There’s the optic nerve, cornea, pupil, lens, retina. Right here, when the light comes in, it goes through the eye, goes right here to the retina and then hits. These photo receptors are what allow you to see color. And there’s four types of these photo receptors. Three of them being cones. One of them being rods. The cones are red, green, and blue, and they allow you to see color in the daytime. Rods allow you to see at night without any color.
Let’s talk blue light and your health. The most evidence we have in the way that blue light affects your health is through our biological clock. Also known as our circadian rhythm. Blue light actually suppresses melatonin. That’s a hormone released in our brains to make us sleepy, to help us fall asleep at night, and stay asleep during the night. Now, if you’re exposing yourself to a lot of blue light at night, immediately before going to sleep, that can make you less sleepy. As you can imagine, that’s problematic.
All different types of light can actually suppress your melatonin hormone. That’s why in all my sleep videos, I recommend keeping it as dim as possible before bedtime. But that being said, Harvard actually studied it and compared blue light to green light, and they found blue light suppressed melatonin almost twice as much as green light, and shifted your circadian rhythm twice as much as compared to green light three hours to one and a half hours.
Now, that’s not all bad news. When you wake up in the morning. The first thing I tell you guys is to open up your shades. The reason is, the sunshine that has a lot of blue light in it, will actually suppress that melatonin hormone, making you less sleepy, more alert and resetting your circadian rhythm, so you can fall asleep easier for the following night. This actually brings up an interesting dilemma because as we’re moving to become more energy efficient, we’re using more LED lamps, more fluorescent lights, as opposed to the traditional incandescent light bulbs. And while that’s great for the environment, that may come at a personal health cost.
So how do we balance this moving forward? I think in the future, we’re gonna have lamps that release blue light, but perhaps the coverings of the lamps can actually filter some of that blue light out. Unless we have a major innovation in the next five to 10 years, which can also be a possibility.
Let’s talk about a couple of health conditions for your eyes where blue light is not necessarily the culprit.
Starting off with eyestrain. Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome. This happens when we’re staring at a computer, TV, cell phone screen. When you do that for a long period of time, people tend to develop this eye strain, this eye fatigue. The real reason this occurs, is from that intense focus that happens, leading to muscle fatigue around your eye. And also because when you’re that focused, you’re not blinking as much, and not blinking as much leads to more dryness, which leads to irritation, burning, stinging. And guess what? I have a few tips for you on how to battle that eyestrain.
- You want to be at least two feet awayfrom your computer screen.
- If you’re gonna bestaring at a computer screenfor a really long period of time, think about using eye lubricating drops.
- This one is my all time favorite, 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, you want to stare at a point that’s 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This wall out your eyes to relax, the muscles to recover, and for your focus to regain. This is the most important step in preventing or treating digital eye strain.
Macular Degeneration. This is the center portion of your retina. And if you lose your macula, if you have degeneration, you actually lose the central part of your vision. There’s been some evidence linking UV and blue light exposure to the acceleration of age related macular degeneration. But here’s what we actually found. It takes an enormous amount of blue light to actually do damage to this part of your retina. So if you stare at the sun where there’s a tremendous amount of blue light, absolutely you can cause yourself some damage. But when we look at research and we see the amounts that you’re getting from your screens, it’s a lot less and probably not enough to the degree to cause significant damage. In fact, when you compare blue light exposure from electronics to aging, smoking, being overweight, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, the electronics are just a minimal risk and not something you should spend a lot of time thinking or worrying about.
So how do we protect ourselves from blue light affecting our ability to fall asleep and altering our biological clocks? My recommendations actually fall in line with Harvard Public School of Health.
- First, get rid of the screens at least two hours before bedtime, maybe even three hours if you can.
- Two, use dim lights before bedtime, ideally red dim lights. Red lights are less likely to shift your circadian rhythm and affect your sleep.
- Three, consider blue light blocking glasses if you have late shifts or have work to do at night. Glasses I’m wearing right now are actually filtering out blue light. And I wear them when I watch videos late at night on the computer. I’m a big fan of all the different styles that Jim Halo has.
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