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Is Blue Light Damaging Your Eyes?

What is blue light, and how can it damage your eyes?

The summer is finally here, and the sun is shining bright! Although sunlight is beautiful, you probably notice yourself blinking uncomfortably to protect your eyes. That's because there are some kinds of light that your eyes don't like, two of them being UV light and some forms of blue light. 

What Is UV Light?

The sun contains both visible and non-visible light that can be harmful to your eye health. UV light is a part of the non-visible light spectrum that we encounter on a daily basis. 

UV rays are harmful to your eyes, especially to the cornea and lenses. With too much UV light exposure, your eyes have the potential of developing cataracts as well as other eye health problems. 

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is the visible part of the light spectrum. Although you can see the light, it’s just as harmful to the eye as UV rays. When blue light makes contact with the eye, it can cause severe damage to the retinas.

The level of blue light may vary depending on the time of day, the season or the location. Typically, the amount of blue light found in sunlight is about 25 to 30 percent. A common misconception that many people have is that, if it’s cloudy out, the sun’s rays cannot pass through the clouds. However, even on a cloudy day, about 80 percent of UV rays can pass through the clouds, which also includes some harmful blue light rays. 

Is All Blue Light Harmful?

With all this talk about bad light, it’s important to understand that not all blue light is bad for your vision! 

The blue-turquoise light range -- approximately 465 nm to 495 nm -- is actually integral to our vision, pupil reflex, sleep/wake cycle, and overall health. Without a healthy amount of blue light exposure, our well-being can be thrown out of whack.

How Can You Protect Your Eyes From Blue Light?

Similar to wearing 100 percent UV-ray blocking glasses, you can wear blue-light blocking sunglasses that offer both front and back side protection. The front side of these lenses will help deflect the UV light along with blue light. These “blue blockers” are created to provide you the highest level of eye protection but still allow you to get a healthy dose of blue light.

People with a high exposure to LED or fluorescent lights, such as light bulbs, LED computer monitors, tablets, or smartphones are more at risk of an overabundance of blue light than others. Many technology companies are working on ways to block harmful blue light while still providing functionality. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the effects of blue light and how you can protect your eyes, contact your Vision Source eye care provider.

Author Vision Source — Published June 23, 2015

Posted In Eye Safety