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Beware of the Blue Light Special! Computers, Tablets, Cellphones... How much do you use them?

By Eye Candy Casey

Flashback to the 80’s…Remember when Kmart was cool? Just kidding. My memories of Kmart are few and far between, but there is one thing that still stands out… the ever cheerful Blue Light Special. For those of you that don’t recall or just plain erased this painful childhood shopping experience, the Blue Light Special was this crazy blue light that would flash on periodically  to announce a in store special at the Big K. Fast forward to the present and Blue Light has a whole new meaning, not so cheery either.

Blue light emanates from all our favorite technology devices.  It turns out I have had a steady diet of Blue Light for years while having no idea that it was bad for me. Long gone are my high school years when I sat in front of the family computer talking to my friends on AOL all night (Does AOL still exist?).  It turns out those long stretches in front of the PC were not so good for me and not just because Johnny86 dumped me in the cyber world for Trixie87. B@#ch!  Actually, looking into those monitors was hurting my baby blues… who knew!!

I did some digging into Blue Light and I wanted to share the scoop with my Eye Candy friends. All the cool stuff we have glued to our hands (cell phones, tablets, etc.) come with an invisible and harmful light…BLUE LIGHT.  You and I can’t see it but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.  So what does this invisible light do to us?  BLUE LIGHT can and will cause damage!!!

So how does this whole thing work and what can we do about it?

First let’s keep the techies happy and have a quick review of what our eyes do. Here’s a 101 crash course in optics… it gets a little sciency so if you bored by theory skip ahead to the next paragraph.

  • Light enters our eyes.
  • Our cornea filters out some of the harmful UV light.
  • Light continues to travel to our crystalline lens (this is the lens that focuses the light) and more harmful UV light and SOME BLUE LIGHT is filtered out. 
  • The remainder of the harmful UV and Blue Light that doesn’t get filtered of the now focused light ends up at our eyes’ retina. (This is where the trouble starts).
  • The retina then produces an image and sends it to our brain to tell us what the heck we are looking at.
  • However with the good (the image) comes the bad (BLUE LIGHT).
  • The Blue Light that reaches our retinas inhibits cellular respiration (which is a fancy way to tell you Blue Light is damaging our retinas!

So what happens if things get bad?  The answer is Macular Degeneration which is the loss of vision due to the damaging of the macula (the small spot in the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision).  

So where are we coming into contact with Blue Light and what can we do about it?

Your Candy Crush addiction may be part of the problem.  Laptops, cell phones, and tablets all radiate blue light so, besides your frustrating quest to beat level 37, extended periods of time in front of these screens increases your exposure.  But surely if you cut down on your Facebook time, the problem will go away.  Not really… energy efficient LED lighting is another source of Blue Light.  So while we are all saving the planet by reducing our carbon footprint, we may not be able to see the results of our ecofriendly work.

If this isn’t depressing enough, here is something that will keep you up at night.  BLUE LIGHT has also been linked to interrupting your sleep pattern.  BLUE LIGHT fools your body into thinking that it’s still day out.  By doing this our bodies are not ready to produce melatonin.  Melatonin is a sleep hormone that helps us fall asleep quicker and to sleep more deeply.

(Quick fix - As for the sleep deprived, turn off the devices 2-3 hours before bed and keep the phones and tablets out of the bedroom!  This will keep your eyes and your lover happy!!)

If you are like me you don’t want to stop Candy Crush or saving the planet… what’s a girl to do?

Ask your optician for a BLUE LIGHT filtering non-glare lens.  Good quality optical lenses will filter out UVA and UVB rays.  And a non-glare option will reduce eye strain.  This occurs when the non-glare treatment allows more light to pass through the optical lens into your eye rather than reflecting off the front surface of the lens.  The visual clarity is better than a non-treated lens. 

Also a non-glare Blue Blocking treatment will reduce the BLUE LIGHT reaching your retina. So in the end you will improve your general health by getting a better night’s sleep and you are taking the first step to save your retina and enjoy a better vision into your golden years.  Candy Crush away!

Stay sweet!

By Eye Candy Casey, 09.05.2014 | Posted in Blue Light, LED Light, UV protection

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