Amidst this pandemic, a lot of individuals are having to do the majority of their work online. Blue light is something we should be concerned about as we are increasing the amount of screen time. Blue light has become a large concern, but it is not a new discovery. Some are rushing out to purchase a set of ‘blue light’ glasses from Amazon, but there are other ways you can combat your exposure to blue light.

Blue light is a portion of the light spectrum which ranges from 380-500 nm. It is everywhere. It can come from the sun, a smartphone, your computer screen or television.

Blue Light Spectrum

Graphic by Annie Treichel ’22

Why is it important to have blue light? Well, our minds use light to maintain the circadian rhythm. Blue light is something that is present in the morning and afternoon hours. Blue light is used to help cue our biological clock, telling us that its day and it is time to be active!

So, being exposed to blue light during the daytime hours helps maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. But, too much blue light can mess with your circadian rhythm.

Specifically, blue light affects your body when you are trying to fall asleep at night. Blue light simulates the daytime, so having it at night can confuse your body. It is suggested that you should eliminate using digital devices 1-2 hours before bedtime. If this isn’t possible, use “night mode” on your device (or, you can use the blue light filtering glasses).

In addition, the eye is not good at filtering blue light. Over-exposure to blue light can damage light sensitive cells in our eyes and contribute to digital eye strain. The big take home message is that you should listen to your eyes, and care for them in whatever works best for your lifestyle.

Here are some tips to help you if you are concerned with blue light exposure:

Purchase Blue Light-Filtered Glasses:

You don’t have to have a glasses prescription to wear these glasses. They are super helpful for those who have jobs that require a lot of screen time on various devices. You can buy them online or in some retail locations. (Personal plug: I have a pair! They are wonderful!)

Orange Glasses, reduce exposure

Graphic by Annie Treichel ’22

Use a blue light filter.

Most laptops, tablets and smart phones have “night-time” settings that help us filter out the blue light at night. I set up my settings to turn on around 7pm and they stay on until 8am. I like it not only because it makes the iPhone brightness less bright, it also helps with the elimination of the blue light that keeps us awake and restless. Need help? Click here for MAC and PC. (insert links on how to use night shift).

Practice Healthy Eye Nutrition

Follow the 20/20/20 rule

Graphic by Annie Treichel ’22

There are a lot of recommendations for this, but one common rule from optometrists is the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away. Our eyes experience a lot of strain from screens, but make sure that you blink frequently and take time to give your eyes a break.

Take care of the set of eyes that you have, because it can be hard to get a new set! You deserve to stay healthy. Take action and figure out what you can do to protect yourself and your eyes!