While everybody already knows that too much exposure to sunlight and air pollution can affect us and it’s sometimes just better to stay indoors, not many people really understand that the same indoor environment can also be damaging to the skin and eyes.
This is because of blue light, which more studies are showing to be responsible for creating free radicals that can harm both skin and eyes much like ultraviolet light.
And because nearly all of our workdays are spent exposed to signficant amounts of it, the effects can compound and result in significant damage over time. But what exactly is blue light, and how exactly can it damage you?
Photodamage and Blue Light
Blue light is the light on one end of the visible spectrum that has the shortest wavelength, with yellow and red lights on the other end of that spectrum and having the longest wavelengths.
However, blue light has a really high energy, giving it the name “high-energy visible” light. This high-energy light usually comes from sunlight, but it can also come from the screens of different devices, such as computers and smartphones, as well as fluorescent lights commonly used in offices.
Negative Effects of Blue Light
While our eyes are capable of blocking out ultraviolet light, it’s not as good at blocking blue light. This means that it can have some pretty bad effects after exposure to significant amounts over time, such as the following:
- It increases the risk of eye strain
- It contributes to macular and retinal degeneration
- It can cause uneven skin pigmentation
Reducing Blue Light Exposure
Keep in mind that not all blue light is bad, however – more studies are also showing that a certain amount of it is essential for good health. In fact, in the right levels, it can boost alertness as well as help with memory and cognitive functions.
What makes it bad is too much exposure, so the best thing you can do is to limit your exposure when you can in order to reduce the harmful effects that it can have. You can limit your exposure to blue light by using two things:
- Using blue light filters on your devices – The good news is that there are now more devices that include a feature that filters the blue light emitted from the screen, especially in the case of smartphones and tablets. You can even have physical filters installed for your phones and computers installed for this purpose.
- Investing in protective eyewear – Special pairs of glasses dedicated for use around computers have yellow lenses in order to decrease the wavelength of blue light, and they are usually available without a specific eyeglass prescription.