I’ve always known that screen time before bedtime should be reduced, but I never knew all the reasons why. I assumed it stimulated our brain and so kept us awake for longer when we wanted to switch off and drift off. What I had failed to realise is it’s a certain light that is emitted from our screens that is the problem. Blue light is given off from our laptops, tablets and phone screens. It’s this blue light that can damage our eye health and sleep. Luckily there are now solutions to combat this. In this article I’m going to take a look at the problems caused by blue light and how to resolve them.
Lack of sleep
Though blue light may not cause illness directly, it has a knock on effect. The blue light causes us to have less sleep or poorer quality sleep, which is turn results in a poorer quality of life and potential health problems. Not getting enough sleep has serious consequences on our health, more than most of us realise. I touch on this in this article. Lack of sleep can cause memory problems, learning difficulties, trouble concentrating and lower moods. Continuous lack of sleep can make you prone to more serious conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and depression.
There’s not enough evidence to prove if blue light causes physical damage to the retina, but perhaps it’s too early to tell. After all, computers, tablets and phones have not been around for long. I’ve only been using them daily for ten years now. We are an experiment into the health risks ourselves. I’m sure more research and tests will happen over the coming years to prove whether there is long term damage.
Though actual damage hasn’t yet been proven, digital eye strain is definitely caused. As we stare at digital devices we don’t tend to blink as often as normal. This causes our eyes to become drier quickly leading to discomfort and strained eyes. The over exposure to screen brightness can cause our eyes to become tired and even sore.
How to protect your eyes from blue light
According to The Vision Council's 2016 Digital Eye Strain Report, almost 90% of adults aged 18-39 use digital devices for at least two hours each day. This means it’s not a problem to take lightly. We are all over exposing ourselves to high amounts of blue light. I think two hours is pretty under estimated too. I work on my laptop as I make an income online, so spend anywhere from 6-12 hours online each day. Most people I know use a computer for their 8 hour a day job every day Monday through Friday. That’s a lot of blue light we are all exposing ourselves to.
Luckily there are ways we can reduce blue light. A computer screen cover for eyes from Ocushield will eliminate the harmful blue light, but still allow a crystal clear picture. If, like me, you work for hours on end on a computer, it’s well worth a small investment to protect the health of your eyes and improve the quality of your sleep. The digital strain on your eyes will be reduced, leaving your eyes, and you, feeling much fresher whilst using a screen for periods of time.
Screens can be purchased for all sorts of devices in every size imaginable and they can even be cut to size. You can protect your eyes from your tablets and smartphones too. The screen will also protect from scratches and damage to the screen itself. If you don’t want to put a screen on your devices, then don’t fear, you can also buy glasses to filter out the blue light!
As well as protecting your eyes from the blue light with screens, here are some more tips to reduce your exposure:
- Take a break from your screen every twenty minutes. Take a short walk or look somewhere else for a few minutes. Your eyes will thank you for the reset.
- Make sure you are at least an arm’s length from your screen.
- Ensure your brightness is adequate as well as the font size. You shouldn’t be squinting or leaning in to read the words on the page.
- Reduce screen time, especially at bedtime. If you are struggling to sleep, try turning off all screens for 30-60 minutes before you snooze.
- Turn on night time mode on your phone when reading in bed