Debunking the “Dangers” of Blue Light

 

Most of us spend a lot of time using screens. Computer monitors, TVs, gaming consoles, and smartphones compete for our attention every day.

Parents constantly tell their kids that too much screen time will strain their eyes. Many people complain of headaches after too much time working on the computer.

But what’s really going on here? Is blue light really damaging our eyes? If so, how can you protect them?

Double-edged sword

The spectrum of light that we can see is made up of a range of different colours with different wavelengths. For example, what we see as blue has a different wavelength than red. Screens emit many spectrums of light, but sometimes put out a higher percent of blue.

According to Harvard Health, this blue light is a double-edged sword. While blue light actually has the effect of increasing our alertness and reaction time during the day, that same effect may interfere with your natural sleep cycle at night. This can confuse your body into thinking it’s still daytime, causing it to reduce the crucial production of the melatonin it needs to help you rest.

But does it do any actual damage to your eyes?

No evidence of real harm

CBC’s Marketplace investigated some optical chains’ claims that too much blue light may cause retinal damage, eye diseases, or even cancer.  

On the surface, those claims might seem like they make sense, given the sleeplessness, eye strain, and headaches caused by too much screen time. Lenses being sold by those chains that filter out excess blue light would, in turn, seem like the logical choice to protect your eyes.

The optometry experts canvassed in Marketplace’s investigation confirmed that, as it turns out, there is actually no current evidence that would suggest blue light can do any such damage. Issues like tired or strained eyes don’t stem from blue light, they explain, but from staring at screens for a long time.

Going further, Dr. Rahul Khurana of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (or AAO) told Marketplace that the use of blue light filtering lenses could potentially cause “more harm than good”, if people continued eye-straining activities thinking the filtering lenses would protect their eyes from that strain.

Protect your eyes

There is no question that blue light can have a detrimental impact on screen-lovers, it’s just not in the way the big chains might suggest. 

Many devices have “night mode” settings that will reduce the amount of blue light emitted at night. Alternatively, using screens sparingly — or avoiding them entirely — late at night will help to prevent any disruption to your sleep.

As for blue light filtering lenses? They aren’t necessarily harmful in and of themselves, as long as users do not think they are protected from the primary source of eye issues stemming from screen use: strain.

Instead of costly new lenses, the AAO helpfully suggests using the “20-20-20 rule” to protect your eyes: when you can’t take a full break away from your screen, take a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

MORE ARTICLES

Our Hours

Monday – Friday: 11am – 6pm

Saturday – 10am – 5pm

Sunday – Closed

Our Services

Adult Eye Exam

At Invision Eye Clinic we recommend that every adult from the age of 19 to 65 have a comprehensive eye exam every year. As we get older, there is a higher chance to develop ocular conditions such as cataracts,  glaucoma, and macular degeneration. For this reason, an annual eye exam is all the more important for adults over the age of 65. An annual eye exam is also recommended for anyone with a systemic condition like diabetes or multiple sclerosis where there can be a significant impact on vision and ocular health.

Our doctors strive to provide outstanding eye care with visual solutions that are custom designed to meet each patients’ individual needs. Our experienced staff will then work one on one with each patient to find the glasses and lens options that best suits their respective lifestyle.

Child Eye Exam

At Invision Eye Clinic we recommend children have their first eye exam by the age of 3, and then yearly thereafter. With every child, we strive to support them with their visual development and help them meet the visual demands of the world around them.

During your child’s eye exam, our doctors will assess them for near-sightedness (myopia), far-sightedness (hyperopia), an eye turn (strabismus), lazy eye (amblyopia) and other ocular pathologies. We will also assess your child’s eye movement (tracking) skills, and the coordination of their eyes while they are performing visual tasks.

It is important to remember that your child does not need to be able to read or to identify letters to have an eye examination. Our tests are designed for all ages and provide vital information about your child’s eye health.

Dry Eye

Dry eyes can show up in various different forms; red eyes, watery eyes, itchy eyes, tired or uncomfortable vision. When the delicate balance of tears on the eye is unbalanced, a cascade of these symptoms can present. Crustiness around the eyes in the morning and chronic styes can also be traced back to a dry eye problem. The impact of our habits and environment cannot be overlooked. Our habits, environment and changes in season can all play a role in severity of our symptoms.

At Invision Eye Clinic, each exam includes an evaluation to not only identify potential dry eye, but to also investigate the possible causes and factors that have contributed to it.

For patients who are suffering from more advanced cases of dry eye, we offer in depth dry eye testing that investigates the root causes of the disease. We can develop a treatment plan that will involve both the management of symptoms and a preventative maintenance protocol.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease affecting how the body uses or produces insulin, a hormone that controls blood glucose (sugar) levels. Those suffering from diabetes are at risk of developing various other health issues, including impacts to their vision and eye health.

At our clinic, we implement the latest OCT technology to monitor and assess the impact of diabetes in the eye so that vision can be kept at optimal levels. Our diabetic eye exams not only include digital retinal imaging to look for diabetic changes, but also an internal sub-surface scan to create a detailed map of the eye. When required, our doctors can also use OCT angiography to map out individual blood vessels in the eye to look for even the earliest signs of damage from diabetes.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a slow progressing disease and can often go unnoticed without regular testing. It involves an increase in eye pressure that can slowly damage the optic nerve inside the eye, causing vision loss. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can easily lead to blindness.

At our clinic, we screen each and every patient with an OCT scan of their optic nerve to assess the risks of glaucoma. For patients who are at risk or who are diagnosed with glaucoma, comprehensive eye exams and visual field tests are crucial alongside more detailed OCT scans.

Glaucoma can be a confusing and stressful disease for patients. At our clinic, our doctors take the time to perform the necessary tests and discuss all the treatment options with our patients.

Eye Wear

At Invision Eye Clinic attention to detail is the key feature in dispensing personalized eyewear suited to your visual needs. Prior to dispensing, each order is inspected by our opticians to ensure accuracy & quality.

From Hand Made Boutique Eyewear to big names in the fashion industry, we carry a wide variety of colours and styles to fit every age group and taste. We make sure that our inventory is fresh and current throughout the year.

Contact Lenses

At Invision Eye Clinic our doctors can help you find the contact lenses that right for your eyes. Whether you have an active lifestyle, don’t like the look or feel of glasses, or just want something part time for social occasions, our optometrists are here to help.

First time contact lens wearer? Worried if contacts are the right solution for you? Rest assured, at Invision Eye Clinic, we take the time to perform an individual trial fit of each contact lens to make sure we have the right lens for each patient. We have a wide selection of contact lens brands and styles, and are confident that we can meet your visual needs.

Our Technology

At Invision Eye Clinic, we strive to provide the highest level of eye care. To help us achieve this goal, we have invested in state-of-the-art technology. Our integrated electronic medical records enable you to book your appointments online and have your third-party medical insurance submitted electronically at the time of your visit. All our patient records are stored using encrypted security measures and in compliance to the privacy policies within the health industry.

Our OCT retinal imaging camera takes a detailed scan of your retina allowing for early detection of many retinal diseases. Retinal imaging also allows for making close comparisons and watching for trend patterns between scans so that changes in the eyes can be monitored over time. The OCT has enabled eye care professionals to detect and monitor the subtle changes that can occur in diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinal toxicity, and multiple sclerosis.

Visual field testing is done at our clinic through the world of virtual reality. With our portable VR headset, we are able to accurately and quickly perform all types of visual field tests. Alongside this, the wearable technology also allows us to perform screenings, colour vision, and pupillometry measurements right in the headset.