Blue light is both harmful and beneficial to vision and health. Blue light, also known as High Energy Visible (HEV) Light, is the highest energy light ranging from 380nm to 500nm within the visible spectrum.
Blue light in the higher range is beneficial and provides for the correct functioning of the Circadian Rhythm (sleep/wake cycle), memory and cognitive performance.
Blue light in the lower range, which is violet-blue in color, is considered harmful and over time with accumulated exposure can cause damage to the eye lens and retinal cells. It can also reduce contrast and decrease sharpness and clarity of vision.
Today’s blue blocking lenses filter out high energy blue light that is harmful to retinal cells and contribute to AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration). They are designed to protect the eyes from harmful blue light emitted by fluorescent and CFL lightbulbs, computers, smart phones, tablets, television and other electronic devices. Additionally, they also improve contrast, night vision, depth and color perception, reduce glare, help to maintain a natural color balance and reduce eye fatigue as well as impaired visual acuity.
Being in the presence of blue light at night disrupts the body’s natural Circadian Rhythms by suppressing the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. Melatonin is also an anti-oxidant that appears to play a role in the slowing down the progression of cancer and other diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
There are different lenses available that block blue light. Blue Tech lenses are infused with melanin, a natural pigment found in the iris of the eye, to help filter out high energy UVA/UVB blue light while still letting “good” light in. Since the lenses are infused, the melanin is able to selectively filter out harmful blue-violet light while still allowing the longer wavelengths of beneficial blue-turquoise light to filter through, allowing patients to maintain clarity for the best possible vision at all times.
Due to the yellow tint on the permanent lenses, often times these lenses are not acceptable due to their cosmetic appearance. Laboratories have developed an anti-reflective coating that is able to eliminate the harmful blue light. Due to its ability to reflect this blue light and not allow it to enter the lens, the coating will often have a bluish-purple hue. Our patients have found this to be more cosmetically appealing than the yellow tint.
Optometrics recommends that all patients, including those that have no prescription, wear lenses that block out blue light when working on electronic devices. Children in particular should be wearing these lenses since they will have many years of accumulated exposure to this harmful light.
Do not hesitate to call or stop by as we can answer all of your questions regarding blue light.