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Blue Light Is Everywhere—Is It Good or Bad?

By Essilor News

Light is something we take for granted; it's all around us—in our homes and offices, shining from our televisions and phones. Nobody stops to think about light, much less the effects different colours of light can have on our bodies, moods, and overall health. Did you know blue light can make you feel better? It can also lead to insomnia, and the wrong type of blue light can be dangerous to your eyes. Read on to learn how to get the benefits from blue light while keeping yourself protected.

Is Blue Light Good?

Without even thinking about it, your body uses blue light to regulate your biological clock, or sleep/wake cycle. Blue light also plays a role in basic functions of the human brain such as alertness, memory, emotion, and cognitive performance. In certain conditions, light therapy using the correct wavelengths of blue light is known as an effective treatment to help people of all ages.

In fact, phototherapy in the form of blue light waves is a standard treatment used to reduce high levels of bilirubin in the blood of newborns. Due to frequencies that effectively destroy bacteria, some dermatologists use blue light therapy to treat skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis.

Blue light therapy is also used to help people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression resulting from a lack of daylight in the winter. While it's fairly common for people to experience minor mood changes without adequate sunlight, severe forms of SAD can result in debilitating fatigue, appetite changes, and mood disorders.

Is Blue Light Bad?

In its natural form, blue light from the sun helps our bodies determine day from night, and thus, when it's time for sleep. At night, blue light has a tendency to throw off the body's circadian rhythm, or biological clock; and with the widespread increase of digital devices and LEDs in our lives, blue light is having more and more of an impact on our ability to sleep.

You've probably heard this before, but getting enough sleep every night is very important to your overall health. While we sleep, our bodies restore mental and physical energy and rebuild muscle tissue. Here's something you might not know: Light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that tells your brain it's time for bed. So beware: Staring at your television, computer, tablet, or phone right before you go to bed is having a negative impact on your good night's rest.

Harmful Blue Light

Research has also shown that a specific band of blue light can be harmful to our eyes. High-energy blue-violet light at the lower end of the visible light spectrum, near ultraviolet (UV) light, has been found to cause significant damage to retinal cells and is a risk factor for the onset of age-related macular degeneration, a deterioration of the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision.

Tips for Protecting Your Eyes from Harmful Blue Light

A simple way to protect your body and eyes from the dangers of blue light is to limit your exposure. Rather than watching television or checking your email in bed at night, try a warm bath or reading a book to help you relax.

For times you need to be in front of a computer, check out the apps and computer hacks available to help reduce blue light exposure. You can also talk to your eye doctor about eyeglass lenses that help protect eyes from harmful blue/violet light while letting the good blue light through to your eyes.