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Avoid the Blues for Better Sleep and Healthier Eyes

January 7th, 2016 | Eye Health, Eyeglasses

We recently blogged about Hoya’s blue blocking eyeglass lens coatings. This post is a follow-up on that to highlight the key reasons why it’s important to control your exposure to blue light.

It’s common to wind down after a long day by sitting down in front of the TV to watch a show, spending some time on the computer catching up with Facebook, or bringing the iPad to the bedroom to get some e-reading in before going to sleep. This is on top of daily usage where many are looking at computer screens and mobile devices throughout the day. Electronics are a major part of our everyday routines. They improve our quality of life in many different ways. They, however, have other effects that you need to be aware of.

Linear visible spectrum

TVs, computers, e-readers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices with screens all have one thing in common: they emit light. The spectrum of light that we can see ranges in colour from violet to red. Closer to the violet end of the spectrum is blue light. Blue light isn’t just emitted by electronic devices, but it’s a part of all visible light including sunlight. It has benefits during daylight hours because it boosts attention, reaction times, and mood. Blue light also regulates our circadian rhythms—our internal clock that tells us when to wake up and when to go to sleep. However, excess blue light, both during the day and night, can be harmful causing eye strain, fatigue, trouble falling asleep, poor sleep and increased risk of eye disease such as macular degeneration.

Child on iPhone

Harvard Medical School recommends a few solutions. One of them being simply turning off your electronic devices a few hours before going to bed. Easier said than done, of course. The convenience, usefulness, and productivity improvements that devices such as laptops and mobile phones provide definitely make it hard to go offline. Kids are spending much more time in front of electronics too. New surveys show that children are spending an average of 6 hours a day in front of a screen compared to just 3 hours only 10 years ago. While reducing time on electronic devices at night may be possible, steering away from devices and avoiding light isn’t really feasible the rest of the day. Luckily, there’s another solution. Harvard also recommends blue blocking glasses.

When you buy glasses from us, we can fit them with lenses that have a blue light blocking coating such as Hoya Recharge, Essilor Crizal Prevencia, Nikon SeeCoat Blue Premium, or Zeiss BlueProtect. These products work by filtering out the undesirable, harmful UV and blue light (also known as blue-light hazard) wavelengths. As a result, you’ll have less blue light affecting your circadian rhythms at night. But, more importantly, these lenses reduce the risk of eye disease such as macular degeneration by blocking wavelengths that contribute to photochemical damage of the retina. Choosing a blue light blocking coating for your lenses will keep you and/or your family better protected from harmful rays throughout the entire day.

If you’re concerned about the effects blue light may be having on your sleep and health or want to learn more about blue light blocking lenses for your eyeglasses, give us a call, send us an e-mail, or book an eye exam with one of our optometrists. We’re always happy to help!

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