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What is blue light?

In order to completely understand blue light and how it could potentially affect our eyes, it is important to have an understanding of the anatomy of the eye, what light is, and how blue light can effect us. So, let’s dive into it.  

The anatomy of the eye

Your eyes allow you to see the world around you. In fact, the main “job” of your eyes is to detect patterns of various lights. However, your vision depends on your brain just as much as on your eyes. This means, that your eyes need to work closely with your brain to turn those patterns into the images you see or recognise.  

The downside? If you are focusing on electronic devices for a long period of time, the harmful blue light that enters your brain via your eyes can cause eyestrain, headaches, and can impair your ability to fall, and sometimes stay asleep.

In the case of our little ones, this can make it hard for them to focus or concentrate, and it can also make them tired whilst effecting their mood.  

To find out more about the anatomy of the eye, check out this excellent animation from the National Eye Institute.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Light is made out of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves which emit energy that range in both length and strength. The shorter the wavelength, the harder that energy or light is on our body and on our eyes.  

As seen in the diagram below, each wavelength is represented by a different colour.

Visible light is the only form of light that human eyes are sensitive to, and this type of light is emitted in shorter wavelengths.  

It comes in many forms, however our focus is on the visible light emitted by digital devices. The longer you spend in front of your computer, phone, laptop and even your television, the more your eyes will be exposed to these shorter (and therefore more frequent) wavelengths of harmful blue light.  

It is for this reason that it is important to protect your eyes as best as you can whilst exposing your eyes to harmful blue light.  

I'm ready to protect my children’s eyes. Show me the range.

What is blue light?

Blue light is a wavelength that falls in the visible light spectrum, with a range of 380-500 nanometers (nm). These wavelengths are very short and therefore produce a high amount of energy. Blue light is made out of two components: the first is Blue-turquoise light: 450-500nm. The second is Blue-violet light: 380-440nm. It is important to note that not all blue light is bad for you. So, let’s explore these two types of blue light a little further.  

Blue-Turquoise Light

Blue-turquoise light is a beneficial, natural light, which helps regulate our internal body clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. It comes naturally from the sun, and helps control our sleep cycle, meaning that it makes us tired at night, and energised in the morning - just the way we should be.

Blue-turquoise light has been shown to improve brain activity, as well as improve memory, mood and mental performance.

Therefore, it is important that we do not block out all blue light. We need to expose ourselves to natural blue-turquoise light to keep our bodies working (and recharging) the way that they should, whilst blocking out the artificial blue light that is emitted by our digital devices.

Blue-Violet Light

Blue-violet light is made up of shorter, high-energy wavelengths, which makes it difficult for the human eye to focus on, as it scatters more easily than other visible light. This means that exposure to this type of light increases your potential for eyestrain.  

Therefore when we talk about blocking blue light, it is specifically blue-violet light that we are concerned with. Blue-violet light can be found where there is artificial lighting, such as from your digital devices, and this type of light should be blocked to maintain optimum eye health.
Otherwise overtime, exposure to this type of light has the potential to cause damage to the retina, increase eye strain, cause dry eyes, headaches, mood imbalances and hinder energy levels.

Blue Light and Melatonin

Long exposure to harmful blue light increases the risk of eye strain, as mentioned above. However, the effects of blue light can also significantly disrupt the natural release of the hormone melatonin which therefore impacts our circadian rhythm and the quality of our sleep. This is extremely important for children and teenagers whose circadian rhythms are shifting naturally.  

The blue light emitted from digital devices sends signals to the brain, misleading it to believe that it is still daytime, therefore causing the body to be more alert later at night. This may result in sleep deprivation or low-quality deep sleep. Some side effects to this may include: A lack of concentration when learning and working, adverse health effects and a negative impact on mental health and wellbeing.

To avoid these side effects, we recommend that you wear blue light blocking glasses when using digital devices. It is also recommended that screen time and device usage be avoided for at least one hour prior to bedtime. These recommendations are for both children and adults alike.  

How you can alleviate blue light?

At Dream Eyewear Australia, we have designed our eyewear to alleviate most symptoms of digital eyestrain. However, we also believe that in order to achieve optimum results in effectively reducing digital eyestrain, that you follow these additional recommendations:

Follow the 20-20-20 rule.  

Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break from the screen and look at something 20 feet away, which is approximately 6 meters away.

Reduce overhead lighting.

This will help eliminate screen glare and minimise eye fatigue.

 Check your position. 

Position yourself so you are at least an arm's length from your screen.  This will ensure that a safe visual distance is maintained at all times.

Check the position of your monitor. 

The top of your monitor should be positioned directly in front of your face at eye level or slightly lower, so your head is supported in a neutral position.

Wear your Dream Eyewear blue light blocking glasses. 

Wear Dream Eyewear blue light blocking glasses whenever using digital devices, to reduce digital eyestrain.

Get outdoors, and into some natural light.

Safely expose your eyes to natural light such as sunlight regularly* to gain all of the health benefits that blue-turquoise light (natural light) provides.

*Always check SunSmart for recommended sun exposure times in your local area. 

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