How does blue light affect your eyesight?

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Prolonged screen hours during work from home or online schooling or online entertainment in the disrupted routines of the pandemic have made us all vulnerable to several optical defects and diseases. While we have got enough time to feed ourselves with healthy home cooked food, there are other essential measures like wearing blue light blocking glasses to avoid blue light damage. 

What is blue light?

You might have probably read about blue light in school science. Just for a recap, read below:

• The sunlight is not just one yellow colored light, but a spectrum of seven light waves of different colors namely, Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red.
• This spectrum is further divided into visible and invisible spectrum as the two lights violet and indigo are not visible to the human eye. 
• As we move from red light to violet light, the wavelengths decrease and their energies increase.
• This way, blue light becomes that one light that moves with the shortest wavelength and the highest energy in the visible spectrum. 
• This high energy of the blue light rays contributes to their damaging nature. 

How does blue light affect us?

There are multiple reasons for doctors to recommend blue light glasses. Here are some of the most prevalent optical diseases and syndromes caused by blue light:

• Cataract

As the blue light rays enter the eye, they are absorbed by the eye lens cells as the eye lens attempts to block these rays from reaching the light sensitive retina. However, this absorption process results in the production of some substances and derivatives that get added to the cells of the lens. This addition gradually turns the lens yellow opaque, thus resulting in cataract formation. 

• Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration is the major cause of old-age blindness among the UK population. Macula is that region of the eye that stores antioxidants like Lutein and Zeaxanthin that absorb blue rays passing through it. At one point, the macula is not able to absorb every blue wave entering the eye. So, when these rays fall on the retina, they induce some toxic chemical reactions in the retinal cells. This leads to the gradual degeneration of the macula part of the retina. 

• Digital Eye Strain

Extended tech screen hours expose us to high intensity blue light rays, resulting in the Dry Eye Syndrome. The symptoms include painful red, dry, itchy, and irritated eyes. Along with this, the patient experiences headache and neck issues along with an increased sensitivity to light. 

• Insomnia

The sleep cycle in the human body is regulated by the sleep hormone called Melatonin. In presence of blue light from the sun rays during day time, melatonin production decreases, thus making us feel awake and attentive. During nighttime, melatonin production increases. This signals the body that it’s time to sleep and we start to feel drowsy. However, blue light exposure from artificial sources suppresses melatonin production, consequently increasing awakeness and resulting in loss of sleep.

Preventive measures for blue light damage

• Limit screen time and try to look for alternatives. You can start by switching Kindle with paperbacks.
• Follow the 20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from the computer screen for about 20 seconds.
• Wear blue light glasses. You can get the anti-blue light coating added on your prescription glassesor varifocals. This special coating on the lenses can reflect back any blue rays falling on them, hence preventing them from reaching your eyes.
• Blink as often as you can when you sit on the screen. Blinking ensures even spreading of tears in the eyes.
• You can also try using artificial tear drops to lubricate your eyes. Put in one or two drops twice a day or whenever your eyes feel dry.
• Add a humidifier beside your workstation. A humidifier sends cold, humid vapors into the atmosphere. A humid environment will again help to prevent dry eyes.
• Eat healthy foods rich in nutrients for the eyes. Carrots, oranges, blueberries, legumes, nuts, and green leafy vegetables are some great foods to be included in your diet. 

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