After a long day of work, you come home feeling dreary with those aching eyes. You sit down in front of the TV just to relax, and it ends up just making you feel worse.
If this has ever been your experience, you may be suffering from the effects of blue light on your eyes.
Blue light is an inescapable aspect of our modern world, but that doesn’t mean that you have to accept the consequences and live in discomfort. If you want to know how to protect your eyes from blue light, keep reading!
What Is Blue Light?
You may have heard that it’s dangerous, but what exactly is blue light?
When we receive light from the sun we experience the whole color spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). We experience that combination as white light. Each color has a different wavelength. The colors closer to red have a longer wavelength and less energy, but the colors closer to blue contain much more energy.
You experience blue light from the sun every day, but your eyes are subjected to even more blue light from other everyday sources. Fluorescent lights, LED lights, flat-screen TVs, smartphones, tablets, and computers all emit blue light.
Think about how much blue light you experience every day. That’s a lot of energy for your eyes to handle. Although screens give off less blue light than the sun, the proximity and length of time you spend looking directly at them presents a significant risk.
What Is the Damage From Blue Light?
So what is the risk? Premature eye aging is the main effect of blue light damage.
Blue light is able to pass through the lens of your eye to reach your retina. There it can cause damage to your retinal cells and cause age-related macular degeneration.
Because you don’t experience the proper variety of lights, staring at a blue light screen can also result in eye strain. You may have eye strain if you experience sore eyes, irritated eyes, dry eyes, and even fatigue.
You may also discover after a full day of eye strain and subjecting your eyes to blue light that you have difficultly slept. Blue light helps regulate your sleep patterns, but like anything else, too much of a good thing has detrimental effects.
How to Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light
Now that you know what blue light is and what it can do to you, you’re probably wondering how you can prevent the damage. Screens are such an inherent part of our lives from work to communication to entertainment. You can’t just cut blue light out entirely.
Luckily there are steps you can take to protect your eyes from blue light.
Limit Your Screen Time
It may seem impossible at first, but limiting your screen time is one of the most effective ways to protect your eyes against blue light damage. If you work a job at a screen all day, take the time to consider what tasks can be done on paper, over the phone, or even in person as opposed to over email.
If it’s impossible to cut down your screen time at work, consider new wind-down activities for home. Instead of a nightly TV show consider a book or a podcast. Make a specific day of the week your TV night or at least make sure you aren’t binge-watching TV shows absentmindedly.
Use Dark Mode at Night
At night, your eyes are especially susceptible to the effects of blue light. This is the time that your eyes should be resting and preparing you for a proper night of sleep, but they can’t do that if you’ve been staring at a screen. But if you work late nights or have other reasons to use a screen at night, you need another option to protect your eyes.
Setapp.com has a guide on how to turn on dark mode on your Mac and when you should be using it. Dark mode changes your white screen so that it protects your eyes from blue light even better than even turning down your brightness can.
Download a Blue Light Filter App
So you know how to protect yourself on your Mac, but do you know how to protect your eyes from blue light on your iPhone? iPhones have a nighttime setting, but even that isn’t always enough.
Consider a third-party blue light filter app that you can use all day for the most protection. You can also set your apps to dark mode in the settings which will also limit some of the blue light emitted from your smartphone.
Remind Yourself to Blink
One of the causes of eye strain is dry eyes from not blinking enough! Blue light can trick you into believing you don’t need to blink as often, but this is not the case!
Take breaks to look away from your screen and blink for a while to help moisten your eyes. You can also put a post-it note on the corner of your laptop with a message to remind you to take the time to blink. Your eyes will feel much better immediately and be more protected as you age.
If just this section alone doesn’t have you blinking like crazy, I don’t know what will!
Wear Blue Light Glasses
Do blue light glasses work? Of course, they do! If you can’t be sure that every screen you encounter has some kind of filter (like your television), a pair of blue light glasses can be your best friend.
These glasses have their own filtering process and some even come with a blue light laser so that you can see the effects for yourself before you even try them on.
Schedule Regular Eye Exams
As with any health concern, the best measure to take is to seek the advice of a professional. Schedule regular eye exams with your optometrist. He or she can keep an eye (no pun intended) on the progression of your eye health and tell you any changes that you should be made to your routine or preventative treatments you should consider.
Healthy, Well Rested Eyes
With regular check-ups, limits on screen time, the right filters, and a fancy new pair of glasses, you can go back to not feeling fatigued and uncomfortable again. You won’t believe the change you’ll feel when you know how to protect your eyes from blue light encounters.
Looking for other ways that technology can improve your health? Take a look at our other articles today!