The blue light in the multitude of colors our eyes can pick up hurt us the most, to the point of even causing blindness. Scientist have known of this for some time now, but only recently discovered the “why.”
Researchers at the University of Toledo have shown that prolonged exposure to blue light rays triggers damaging molecules to be generated in the eye’s light-sensitive cells that can cause macular degeneration, the primary cause of blindness. Their findings show that blue light causes retinal to set a chain of reactions that leads to toxic chemical molecules being created in the photoreceptor cells.
These various colors of light our eyes are subjected to on a daily basis are not equal. Blue light rays, which have shorter wavelengths and more energy than other colors, can damage our eyes over time. Macular degeneration is typically the death of our retina’s photoreceptor cells.
The light from the sun contains all the colors of the light spectrum, from red to orange, yellow, blue and green and many shades of each of these colors, depending on the energy and wavelength of those individual rays (also called electromagnetic radiation). Combined, this spectrum of colored light rays creates what we call “white light” or sunlight, and it’s our primary source of blue light exposure. Being outdoors during the day is where most of us get most of our exposure to it. But, it is the screens we stare from a close distance all day that have increased our exposure to blue light.
As we also made a habit of using our devices at night, and that’s when blue light is the most damaging.
Every year millions of new cases of age-related macular degeneration are reported around the globe. The human eye is not very good at blocking blue light. The cornea and lens of the human eye are very efficient at preventing UV rays from reaching the light-sensitive retina at the back of our eyeballs. Only one percent of this UV radiation from sunlight reaches the retina.
But, blue light passes through the cornea and lens right into our retinas. Damaging light-sensitive cells in the retina. Causing macular degeneration. High energy, shortwave blue light scatters more efficiently than all other visible light, because of this it is not easily focused.
So when we stare at our screens, this unfocused visual noise reduces the contrast and contributes to digital eye strain.
So how do you protect your eyes? Computer glasses with yellow tinted that block blue light with wavelengths less than 450nm can increase visual contrast and increases comfort while viewing digital devices for extended periods of time. You could also purchase a blue light filter, and these prevent significant amounts of blue light from reaching your eyes.