“Don’t sit so close to the TV. You’ll go blind.” How much truth is there to that? We went from believing the statement when we were children, to deciding it’s complete nonsense, to going back to the possibility that it makes sense …. sort of. A television screen, computer screen, or phone most likely won’t “make you go blind,” but it certainly can result in headaches, red eyes, blurry vision, and maybe even dizziness. So, what’s the deal here regarding how blue light affects your eyes? And what can you do to save yourself?
Blue Light Defined
The issue isn’t so much the television screen or monitor, or even constantly moving those eyeballs back and forth to follow the motion on the screen. The issue is more about the “blue light” that emanates from technological devices.
In very basic terms, sunlight contains different rays of light, and one of them is blue. Blue light has a short wavelength, resulting in the production of a higher amount of energy that some argue could cause long-term damage to your eyes. Exposure to blue light comes from televisions, phones, computer screens, lightbulbs, and, yes, the sun.
How Blue Light Affects Your Eyes
You get more blue light from the sun than from a monitor, but the problem is the short distance from the screen to your eyes.
According to the Prevent Blindness.org website, blue light passes through the cornea and lens to the retina, possibly resulting in digital eye strain and retina damage. Because blue light decreases the contrast of what you’re seeing on the monitor, you strain your eyes to be able to see, resulting in sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing. In addition, eye strain can lead to headaches, and too much exposure to these forms of technology can lead to retinal problems like age-related macular degeneration.
Protecting Your Eyes from the Effects of Blue Light
All that being said, there’s no concrete evidence that blue light damages your eyes. Instead, most of the effects are related to eye strain. Following are some ways you can protect your eyes when you’re using a digital device or when you spend a lot of time in the sun.
- Wear UV protection sunglasses Sunglasses that are labeled UV 400 are especially effective at blocking harmful rays. The sun does have positive effects on your eyes and overall health though, so do get out to enjoy it.
- When using a digital device, remember the “20-20-20” rule. Look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Your eyes basically get tired of looking at nearby objects for too long, so gazing off into the distance every now and then relaxes them.
- Use eye drops if your eyes get dry. During your next eye exam, ask your eye doctor which brand of eye drops is best for you.
- Remember to blink. Sometimes when we stare at digital devices, our eyes don’t naturally blink as much as they should. We have to consciously remember to do so, especially if our eyes start feeling dry.
See Your Local Eye Doctor
Most of us use a variety of digital devices for most of the day, whether it’s a basic television or a high-tech computer system. Eye strain is something that could affect all of us, and how blue light affects your eyes only exacerbates the problem.
If you have frequent headaches or dry eyes, ask one of our eye doctors in Flint, Lapeer, Fenton, Grand Blanc, or Lake Orion for advice about the best remedies for you.