Other effects of increased exposure to blue light include sleep disruption: lower-energy blue light is beneficial to the eye in proper doses during the day, but when the eye receives too much blue light at night in the hours before bedtime, this can cause not enough melatonin (the hormone that signals it’s time for sleep) to be produced. Even moderate nighttime device usage – including pillowside social media scrolling, late-night online shopping, and “catching up on work emails” – can disrupt one’s circadian rhythm.
Research on the long-term effects of blue light exposure is ongoing, but as many eye care professionals have acknowledged, this is a growing issue positioned to become more serious as digital device use increases among the population. With daily hours spent in front of screens hitting double digits, people of all ages are advised to see their eye doctor regularly (once every 1-2 years depending on age, vision correction needs, health history and other risk factors) for a comprehensive eye exam to check both vision and eye health, and to discuss how to mitigate the effects of daily technology use on the eyes.
Eye care providers can prescribe eyewear (prescription or non) with Blue Defense lenses that cut glare and filter out the harmful blue light rays emitted from devices; children, whose eyes’ crystalline lenses are still developing, especially benefit from limited exposure.
Our lives are become increasingly more “connected,” as countertop iPads replace cookbooks, novels are swapped for e-readers, and classroom chalkboards go the way of the 8-track. Today’s children are as savvy with a tablet as they are with Legos, if not more so – rendering proper eye care and protection crucial to ease the effects of digital eye strain, and prevent potentially more serious conditions.