Blue Light Exposure from Digital Devices
Alan D. Mendelsohn, MD, FACS
Expert Laser Cataract Surgeon, Eye Surgeons & Consultants
4651 Sheridan Street, Suite #100
Hollywood, FL 33021
The vast majority of Americans spend several hours per day on digital devices including computers, tablets and smartphones. Blue Light, known as High Energy Visible, or HEV Light, is emitted from these digital devices and fluorescent bulbs. This exposure to Blue Light is cumulative over your life and is a risk factor contributing to frequency and severity of macular degeneration, the nation’s leading cause of severe vision loss and legal blindness in adults. Researchers are concerned by the increased prevalence and earlier onset of macular degeneration in people utilizing digital devices on a frequent basis.
Additionally, Blue Light is emitted from the sun, including when it is cloudy or rainy. The extent of Blue Light exposure increases considerably in southern states. Even when light comes through the car’s windshield and windows, harmful effects of Blue Light persist.
While the development of macular degeneration always remains a serious concern, Blue Light even more commonly is the instigator in Digital Eye Strain which is characterized by eye fatigue, blurred vision, red and/or dry eyes, general eye discomfort, and decreased productivity. Sometimes headaches can also be present. As expected, the risk of Digital Eye Strain increases with lengthier use of digital devices.
While avoiding the emission of Blue Light from the sun and digital devices is not feasible, there now exists a new wave of ophthalmic lenses, which dramatically minimize or eliminate Digital Eye Strain. Very disappointingly, the vast majority of optical labs and online vendors utilize an ineffective lens coating, claiming “protection,” while only blocking 2-10%. Even the best screen protectors are similarly disappointing with minimal protection afforded. In reality, stellar quality blue blocker lenses are available, but the blue blocker must be embedded within the ophthalmic lens so as to protect from harmful Blue Light while concurrently allowing beneficial light to pass through. Our practice specializes in maximizing Blue Light protection for our patient’s glasses.