What is Blue Light?
Blue light is the visible part of a larger spectrum of light known as electromagnetic radiation. Blue light falls in between violet and green on the electromagnetic spectrum, hence it is commonly termed as violet-blue light. The health hazards associated with blue lights are due to the fact that they are the strongest lights in the visible light spectrum.
Blue lights or violet-blue light are not good for our eyes and can cause some serious damage to our health, both visually and otherwise. We ought to know what are blue lights emitted from computer screens and phones and what are the health hazards associated with using such devices.
Blue light emitted from the computer and phone screen can affect your health in a variety of negative ways. Blue light is a form of radiation that enters your eyes and if exposed for long periods of time or in high amounts can damage your eyes causing eye strain, vision issues, headaches, migraines, or other eye problems.
Blue Lights Coming From Electronic Screens Have Negative Effects On Health
Blue light, the high energy visible (HEV) light that is emitted from screens of TV, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics is capable of penetrating the retina directly and has a negative effect on health. The first and most obvious effect of blue lights has been their association with sleep deprivation.
Scientists have concluded that blue lights emitted by digital devices come out as potential causes of cancer. They are also harmful to your brain as they affect the pineal gland which leads to depression, anxiety, mood swings, and sleeping disorders.
Blue light suppresses melatonin in the body which is the hormone responsible for inducing sleep. This brings about two effects:
- Reduction in your sleep quality as you tend to fall asleep faster but wake up feeling more tired than usual. Your amygdala, the centre for emotions, is also affected by blue lights. This causes you to be more irritable and suffer from mood swings.
- Reduction in the release of growth hormones that keeps you feeling younger.
Effects of Blue Light on Your Skin
Blue light affects your skin because there is a relationship between ultraviolet radiation and the production of free radicals, which can damage the skin's cellular DNA. It damages the DNA and makes them age faster, which can make you look old before your time. It also affects our sleep patterns by suppressing the hormone melatonin, which keeps our bodies on a regular sleeping pattern.
The eyes sense blue light when it gets reflected into the retina by special photoreceptor cells called cones.
Blue light causes skin problems in two ways:
Firstly, it damages DNA directly by modifying its structure, which can lead to skin cancer.
Secondly, it inhibits vitamin B3 (niacin) synthesis, which leads to an increase in skin melanin production and thereby darkening of the skin. This phenomenon is called photoaging.
Ageing of skin – the most common effect is accelerated ageing of the skin. Since it has shorter wavelengths, it penetrates more deeply into the skin than red light and therefore can cause more damage to the dermal cells.
A recent study has reported that long-term exposure to blue light can accelerate skin ageing by reducing levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin.
How To Protect Your Skin From Computer Radiation?
The skin is a major organ of the body and its sensitivity has to be recognized. She says, "Sensitive skin reacts to various irritants and pollutants in the environment.
It is important to avoid unnecessary stress on the skin. When a person is exposed to excessive heat or cold, the skin may suffer as it has no capacity to adapt to extreme temperature variations.
We are exposed to about 100 billion particles of radiation from various sources throughout our life, including medical procedures like CT scans.
Your skin, which is the largest and most widely exposed organ, can be adversely affected due to excessive exposure to radiation. The exposure of this delicate part of the body to ultraviolet rays and the direct emission of electromagnetic radiation from the computer screen needs to be carefully monitored.
- Buy a dedicated monitor screen for your work computer. These monitors have higher refresh rates, which is an added shield against harmful radiation.
- Wear sunscreen (SPF 30+) regularly while working on the computer.
- Use a humidifier if you live in a dry environment.
- Moisturize your skin regularly every day, especially if you work long hours in front of the computer.
- Make sure you take regular breaks and stretch regularly during your breaks as well.
- Use a pair of blue-light blocking glasses over your regular glasses.
- Watch out for high-frequency radiations: Cordless phones, cell phones, laptops, tablets, iPads and other electronic devices send out the highest frequency radiations - microwaves.
Blue Light Eye Damage
High levels of blue light from computer screens can be damaging to your eyes and can cause dark circles under-eyes. This is especially true with the use of electronic devices before bedtime. Blue light is a kind of light that stays in the retina, causing damage to the retina. However, there are other changes that may be caused by blue light during the day and night. These can cause vision problems and change the way your eyes work.
The damage of blue light to the eyes is more than the damage caused by any other colour. Blue light is more intense and closer to the sunlight used in the daytime, which makes it more difficult for your eyes to adjust to blue light at night. This is why people who use computers have reported symptoms such as eye strain and difficulty sleeping.
At night, blue light interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone needed to fall asleep.
Blue light is being used in the manufacturing of computer screens, and it is known to cause damage to your eyes when you spend long hours in front of the computer.
Exposure to blue light affects people differently and sometimes we aren’t able to truly enjoy the activities that we love because our eyes are being strained.
Due to the distances between our pupils and our computer monitors, cell phones, tablets, etc., the intensity of the harmful blue light exposure from these devices is perceived to be lower than it actually is. However, it still has the potential for harm.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS is a term used to describe eye strain and discomfort caused due to excessive computer usage. CVS is caused by the eyes being exposed to prolonged exposure to blue light. An average human eye can see around 10 million colours and these colours are produced by the stimulation of the retina with different wavelengths of light.
The retina is mainly made up of two types of light receptors, cones that detect colour and rods that are responsible for our vision in dim light. The cones are most prevalent in the fovea at the back of the eye, which provides us with our central vision for fine detail. The rods are used for peripheral or side vision and night vision.
A computer screen produces light with a peak in the blue/violet range, this wavelength has quite high energy which causes more stimulation of the cones leading to the symptoms of CVS being worse.
Computers, televisions, mobile devices and other electronics emit light in the blue spectrum. Ultraviolet frequencies of light may cause damage to the skin or eyes. While all of this seems very scientific, all you have to do is see the number of people with sore eyes in this generation.
The harmful ultraviolet and blue radiation from computers and television sets can be a major cause of eye disorders like Sjogren's Syndrome and dry eye syndrome. The retina gets damaged due to long exposure to blue light emitted from computers.
You will get some early symptoms like dryness in your eyes, burning sensation, excessive blinking or watery eyes. To reduce wrinkles and fine lines on your face, prevent these problems by using sunglasses or a blue light filter on your monitor.
The blue light filters contain yellow-tinted lenses. They block harmful blue rays and are helpful for those who have to expose themselves to computer screens for long hours. Computer glasses are another option that can reduce eye strain.
Think you are safe within the four walls of your home? Think again. Most computer screens and televisions emit large amounts of blue light.
When using your devices, keep them at least 20 inches away from your face and avoid looking directly at your screen once the sun goes down. You should turn off all screens at least two hours before you go to bed and if you can't do that then try and set your electronic devices to emit green or amber light.
It is also important to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 if you're going to be exposed to daylight for long periods of time.