Do We Require Blue Light Computer Glasses?

Your mother wasn’t far off when she said, staring at computer screens all day would give you square eyes. Several scientific studies have identified blue light to be as harmful as the sun’s ultraviolet light on our eyes. The American Optometric Association has recognized the overuse of computers causes computer vision syndrome. This groups together numerous eye and vision-related complications linked to extended computer use.

Blue Light At The Beach

Take 30 seconds now to concentrate on your eyes, do they feel sore? We tend to ignore minor discomfort, but as the time spent on a computer increases, the pain in our eyes increases.

If you close your eyes now for 30 seconds, does the pain go away? That’s very close to what it feels like after 10 minutes of wearing blue light computer glasses while looking at the screen.

The average Australian spends approximately seven hours a day in front of a computer screen and 4-6 hours a day in front of a mobile device. To help relieve digital eye strain, you should look away from the screen at 20-minute increments, out a window, down the street if at all possible.

Blue Light At The Beach

The most common effects of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain are;

– Eyestrain
– Headaches
– Blurred vision
– Dry eyes
– Neck pain
– Shoulder pain

 

Blue Light At The Beach

It’s common for these effects above to be associated with;

– poor lighting around your computer
– sunlight glare or auxiliary light on your computer screen
– improper viewing distances or computer screen angle
– incorrect seating posture, either above or below the screen
– vision problems

Numerous scientific studies published across the globe have identified Blue Light as dangerous. Researchers from the University of Toledo identified it could cause molecules inside the eye to become “toxic.”


Over time this can lead to macular degeneration — one of the most likely causes of blindness.

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Blue Light, Depression & Anxiety

A Harvard study identified preliminary results that link blue light to diabetes and possibly obesity.

Blue Light At The Beach

The researchers put ten people on a schedule that gradually shifted the timing of their circadian rhythms similar to what occurs when you look at a screen or mobile phone. The test subject’s blood sugar levels increased, placing them into a pre-diabetic state. Their levels of leptin, a hormone that keeps people feeling full after a meal, went down.

Here’s a link to the Harvard Study: Link

Here is why. Nighttime exposure to blue light delays the nocturnal melatonin peak (shifting the circadian rhythm) which decreases the production of cortisol. A balanced consistency of cortisol is much needed to increase the body’s metabolism of glucose.

Studies showed that sleeping with a light or a television on in the bedroom is conclusively associated with gaining five kilograms or more. Also, the study showed the body mass index increase of at least 10% over five years among women. This study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine and concludes Blue Light puts us at a higher risk of being overweight or obese, compared with being exposed to no artificial light during sleep.

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Blue Light, Obesity & Diabetes

A Harvard study identified preliminary results that link blue light to diabetes and possibly obesity.

Blue Light At The Beach

The researchers put ten people on a schedule that gradually shifted the timing of their circadian rhythms similar to what occurs when you look at a screen or mobile phone. The test subject’s blood sugar levels increased, placing them into a pre-diabetic state. Their levels of leptin, a hormone that keeps people feeling full after a meal, went down.

Here’s a link to the Harvard Study: Link

Here is why. Nighttime exposure to blue light delays the nocturnal melatonin peak (shifting the circadian rhythm) which decreases the production of cortisol. A balanced consistency of cortisol is much needed to increase the body’s metabolism of glucose.

Studies showed that sleeping with a light or a television on in the bedroom is conclusively associated with gaining five kilograms or more. Also, the study showed the body mass index increase of at least 10% over five years among women. This study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine and concludes Blue Light puts us at a higher risk of being overweight or obese, compared with being exposed to no artificial light during sleep.

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Blue Light & The Immune System

While we sleep, our immune systems release sleep-promoting proteins/peptides called cytokines. The body requires specific types of cytokines to increase if you’re feeling stressed, have an infection or inflammation.

Blue Light At The Beach

Cytokines act through receptors and play an essential role in the immune system. They are moderating the balance between humoral immunity (release of antibodies that rapidly respond against toxins) and cell-based immunity (release of cytokines that permanently act against disease-causing virus/bacteria. Cytokines also regulate the maturation, growth, and responsiveness of other cell populations that respond to trauma, sepsis, cancer and reproduction.

The production of these infection-fighting antibodies and cells slow down during stages of sleep deprivation.

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Blue Light & Age Macular Degeneration

Research has found that a molecule called Alpha-Tocopherol, which is present in the human body and eyes, is a natural antioxidant which stops effected Photoreceptor cells from dying.

Blue Light At The Beach

As we grow older, our immune system becomes less effective. We produce less of this natural antioxidant, subsequently losing the ability to fight against harmful retinal chemical molecules, caused by retina exposure to Blue Light. A significant contribution to deteriorating eye-sight such as Age-related Macular Degeneration.

 

Statistics produced in 2004 by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare shows that 444,400 Australians aged 55 and over have vision impairment. 51,500 (12%) of the 444,400 have Age-related Macular Degeneration. The total population of Australia in 2004 was 20.13 million.

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What Is Blue Light? The Electromagnetic Spectrum

All light, including blue light, is made up of electromagnetic particles that travel through the air to our body in waves. These waves emit energy and depending on the colour, the strength and range of the light can differ. A shorter wavelength is associated with higher energy levels. The unit of measure for light is nanometres (nm) with 1 nanometre equalling just 1 billionth of a meter. Grouped up these items create the electromagnetic spectrum, but only some of these are visible to us.Blue Light & The Electro Magnetic Spectrum. Radio Waves, Microwaves, Infared, Visible Light, Ultraviolet, XRays, Gamma Rays. Wavelengths and Visible Light

Electromagnetic Wavelengths

  • – Gamma Rays
  • – X-Rays
  • – Ultraviolet (UV) Rays
  • – Visible Light
  • – HEV Light (High Energy Visible)
  • – Infrared Light
  • – Radio Waves

 Blue Light & The Eye

Science has proven the human eye is especially sensitive to light inside the ‘visible light’ spectrum. Visible light consists of these colours: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.The Visible Light Spectrum from 700nm to 400nm, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo & Violet

Blue light has one of the shortest wavelengths and produces a much higher amount of energy. Many studies suggest exposure to the blue light spectrum over time causes severe long-term damage to your eyes and can affect other areas of our brains.

The blue wavelength is excellent during the day as it increases attention, improves reaction times, and lifts mood, but it is the most troublesome wavelength at night. Many of us are surrounded by screens everywhere, from the second we leave for work, school, in the car to the last minutes of awake time before (trying) to go to sleep. Overall it makes blue light very difficult to escape.

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Blue Light & The Retina

Photochemically-induced retinal injury is caused by the absorption of light by photoreceptors in the retina. Photoreceptors such as rod cells & cone cells convert light into electrical signals in the eye via the chemical process where Rhodopsin (an extremely light-sensitive receptor protein influential to visual phototransduction) & Blue Light collide.Diagram Of The Retina Displaying Optic Nerve, The Retina, Chroid, Sclera, Amacrine Cells, Horozontal Cells, Cone Cells, Rod Cells, RPE, Gangloin, Amacrine Cells

Normally, when light hits Rhodopsin, Rod & Cone cells bleach and becomes ineffectual until they have recovered through a metabolic process (approximately 30 minutes) called Wald’s visual cycle. This visual cycle is the biological process which converts photons, such as electromagnetic radiation (UV light & Blue Light) into electrical signals in the retina.

Blue Light & Retina Damage

Photoreceptor cells are noticeably more sensitive after this process and become responsive to light before they are ready. Damage to Photoreceptors can occur when the retina is subjected to a Blue Light wavelength of 400 – 500 nanometres. Blue Light Retina damage can occur within a few minutes of exposure to Blue Light at 408 nanometres. This is enough to cause permanent death of photoreceptors and lesions of the retinal pigment epithelium.Blue Light Blocking Glasses On Woman

The catch is, Photoreceptor cells need retinal molecules to sense light. When retinal molecules are exposed to Blue Light, a reaction is triggered in which the retinal releases poisonous chemical molecules that dissipate the photoreceptor cell membranes.

Photoreceptors cannot regenerate once they die, their fate is irreversible. Research has proven that retinal generated toxicity by Blue Light is universal. Blue Light can kill any cell, such as cancer cells, heart cells, and neurons, as long as it is in the presence of retinal molecules. Blue light has no effect on these cells without retinal molecules and no such destructive activity is present with other light, such as yellow, red or green light.

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Blue Light, The Outdoors & Sunlight

As you step outdoors into the sunlight, the human eye is exposed instantly to several visible and invisible light spectrum’s. Blue light and UV light is the most known of these spectrums; they enter our body through the eyes and skin. Initiating chemical reactions in our bodies both inside and outside. A well-known example from UV light is sunburn.Sunlight Outdoors On The Beach. Sunlight & Blue LightSunlight is part of the human race and has been for millions of years, like most animals on planet Earth. It plays an essential role in our survivability as well as being a major contributing factor in the global ecosystem. Sunlight synchronises human and animal sleep cycles known as the circadian rhythm. It’s linked to every part of us, our metabolism, alertness even our mood and mental state. Have you had a stressful day? A short walk in the park or spending time outdoors can completely change how you think and feel, and this is partly due to sunlight.

Blue Light, Sunlight & The Light Spectrum

Many of us do not realise the light emitted by our sun has all the colours of the rainbow. Each colour has a different amount of energy and capability to impact us as humans. Sunlight contains a range of colours, red, orange, yellow, green and blue light, each of these with their specific energy and wavelength (called electromagnetic radiation). When we combine all these colours, we get “sunlight” or “white light”.

Sunlight, The Outdoors, Visible and Invisible Light

Science has proven that the colour we see (or cannot see) links to the wavelength, and this is linked to the amount of energy each colour contains. Long wavelengths, such as those found in the colour Red, has less energy while Blue’s which have shorter wavelengths have more energy. So while we are all cautious about UV light and its damaging effects on our skin and eyes, it sits back to back with Blue Light.

We hope this article clears up where Blue Light sits on the light spectrum. If you want to read more about the damaging effects of blue light, please follow this link: Is Blue Light Dangerous.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses & Sleep

Before the invention of light bulbs, the human circadian rhythm was entirely in sync with the sun because night time light disruption was minimal. At night, exposure to devices emitting blue light is harmful to sleep and the circadian rhythm (the body’s biological clock). Research has proven that Blue Light prevents body temperature from dropping during the night. A slowly decreasing body temperature is a critical process to which the body progresses into the stage of sleep. Blue light keeps the body temperature elevated at day time levels.

Girl unable to sleep at 4am

Studies show that exposure to blue light, even when dim, can suppress the creation of melatonin. This hormone assists in controlling our circadian rhythms. A minuscule eight lux, the level of brightness well exceeded by desk and table lamps, and about twice that of a night light cause disruptions. Light from fluorescent bulbs and LED lights will also produce the same effect.

 

Blue Light, Sleep & Melatonin

The pineal gland in the brain is responsible for releasing melatonin, and it does so for a few hours before you start feeling tired. Melatonin level reaches its peak in the middle of the night.

Falling Asleep On The Lounge

Reading on a blue light-emitting device like a tablet instead of a printed book at night will take you longer to fall asleep due to the lack of melatonin produced. Essentially, blue light is a stimulant which sends a signal to your brain, tricking it into believing its day time, and you should be awake. Research has identified that people exposed to blue light at night tend to have less REM sleep; this is when when dreams occur. Less REM sleep results in tiredness in the morning, even after a full eight hours of shuteye.

 

Stephen Lockley, a Harvard sleep researcher, stated that light at night is part of the reason so many people don’t get enough sleep. The idea that blue light is so problematic is that it has a short wavelength that affects levels of melatonin more than any other wavelength does.

Dr Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School identified in 1981 that daylight is the mechanism that keeps a person awake. The outside world runs our sleep schedule, so it makes sense that less blue light at night, can help regulate your biological clock.

Wearing blue light blocking glasses at night will contribute to the elimination of sleep and circadian rhythm issues by preventing blue light from reaching your retinas.

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