For the third year in a row, Filipinos spend the greatest amount of time on social media, with the average user in the country spending almost 4 hours on social every day based on a survey of internet users aged 16-64. (Global webindex, Q2 & Q3 2017). Our eyes are exposed and harmed from visible (particularly blue light) and invisible (ultraviolet) light rays each day. There is numerous evidence that shows that blue light exposure can cause permanent and irreversible eye damage.
A Harvard medical study states that “High Energy Visible (HEV) blue light has been identified for years as the most dangerous light for the retina. After chronic exposure, one can expect to see long-range growth in the number of macular degenerations, glaucomas, and retinal degenerative diseases”. Prolonged exposure can also cause cataract, pinguecula, pterygium, and photokeratitis. Studies show that smartphones, tablets and personal computer use before bedtime can delay sleep onset, degrade sleep quality and impair alertness the following day. Extended use of these devices has also been shown to cause symptoms of dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches.
How do we safeguard our eyes from these harmful lights? After completing a comprehensive eye examination (CEE), your Optometrist will recommend a suitable lens for your visual need. We must remember that by having 20/20 vision reveals nothing about the way you use your eyes while watching a screen. Custom eyeglasses, with or without eye grade, can alleviate or prevent short-term symptoms and may protect against long-term eye damage.
Blue light’s main source comes from sunlight. Digital devices also emit bluelight.
Good Blue and Bad Blue. The good blue light also has some advantages according to research. It is essential for good health and as part of the sleep/wake cycle, blue light triggers the suppression of melatonin in the brain and this keeps us awake. This tells us when we are tired or should be awake. High energy visible light (HEV) boosts alertness, helps memory and cognitive function and elevates mood. On the other hand, the bad blue light may potentially be harmful to the human retina (innermost layer of the eye), once it is absorbed by the layers of the retina, this generates localized oxidative and thermal stress. (Wu J, Seregard S, Spangberg B, Oskarsson M, Chen E, 1999).
If you are exposed to digital screens every single day, you are at risk of having eye problems. And when excessively used at night, it keeps us awake. Therefore, you are responsible for making sure that your two eyes are protected, binocularly functioning, clearly and comfortably. When you visit your Registered Optometrist, you should demand a comprehensive eye exam (CEE) because there are eye examinations that check your binocularity, focusing ability and eye health. Vision matters.