Reducing The Effects of Blue Light

Blue light -- the kind from your smartphone, tablet, TV, and even energy-efficient light bulbs -- can trigger eyestrain and lead to a range of health issues. These include cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, poor sleep, and mood disorders.

Since ditching all digital devices isn’t a realistic option, here are a few tips to ward off blue light’s effects.

Cut down on screen time. Taking regular breaks from computer or TV screens rests your eyes and limits blue light exposure. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and focus on an object 20 feet away. Do this for at least 20 seconds.

Take a break from blue light at night. Screen breaks are most important in the evening. Try to power down your devices at least 3 hours before bed. This can help stop blue light from affecting your body’s release of the sleep hormone melatonin. More melatonin means better sleep.

Get new glasses. Computer glasses with special lenses can lower exposure. The yellow-tinted lenses increase contrast on your screen, filtering blue light and easing digital eyestrain. More research is needed to know how well blue light-blocking glasses work. But one small study found that people who wore glasses with filtering lenses had less eyestrain, blurred vision and dry eyes after long screen times. Another found that filtering lenses helped with melatonin suppression. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep. Blue light slows or stops your body from releasing it. Lenses with anti-reflective coatings may also help by reducing glare, increasing contrast and blocking blue light.

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Use a filter. Adding a screen filter to your smartphone, tablet and computer helps filter the amount of blue light your screens give off. Switching your devices to “night mode” may also help. The setting lowers your screen’s brightness. This can ease digital eyestrain and may even help you sleep better.

Try supplements. One small study found that taking supplements with lutein and zeaxanthin for 6 months eased eyestrain, poor sleep quality, and headaches from excessive screen time. Ask your doctor if these supplements are safe for you to take.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Whitney Seltman on October 03, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Harvard Medical School: “Blue Light has a Dark Side.”

International Journal of Ophthalmology: “Research progress about the effect and prevention of blue light on eyes.”

American Macular Degeneration Foundation: “Ultra-violet and Blue Light Aggravate Macular Degeneration.”

Chronobiology International: “Systematic review of light exposure impact on human circadian rhythm.”

Translational Psychiatry: “Timing of light exposure affects mood and brain circuits.”

Prevent Blindness: “Your Sight.”

American Academy of Ophthalmology.

University of Washington: “Is Blue Light the Bad Guy?”

Mayo Clinic: “Protect Your Eyes from Harmful Light.”

Journal of Medical Imaging: “Impact of blue light filtering glasses on computer vision syndrome in radiology residents: a pilot study.”

PLOS One: “Blue-Light Filtering Spectacle Lenses: Optical and Clinical Performances.”

Foods: “Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance, Sleep Quality, and Adverse Physical Symptoms in Those with High Screen Time Exposure.”

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