How Can Blue Light Glasses Protect Your Child’s Eyes?

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February 1, 2019
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Blue Light effects on Sleep Patterns
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The many digital devices in our lives today have become essential for our work and entertainment. More than four-fifths of adults in the USA report using these devices over two hours a day. By comparison, nearly three-fourths of American children and teenagers spend two hours or more on digital devices every day. As convenient as these devices are and as essential as they can be in our lives, they come with various costs.

About a third of young people using these devices experience eye strain symptoms, irritability, a lower attention span, and difficulty sleeping. These are the short term problems associated with these devices. Another serious risk is the development of macular degeneration, an eye disease that leads to blindness. All of these problems stem from the nature of the blue light emitted by these devices. There is, however, a way to help with protective lenses. How can blue light glasses protect your child’s eyes?

Blue Light

Blue is simply one of the colors of the visual spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Blue light has a couple of effects on the human eye.

Long Term Retinal Damage

The light on the blue end of the spectrum is more energetic than the red end. Thus it can damage retinal cells in the eye. The concern is that over the years the cumulative exposure to blue light from digital devices will increase the risk and occurrence of macular degeneration and blindness later in life.

Sleep Disturbances

The other effect is more immediate. Blue light affects how we wake up and how we sleep. Scientists from the Brigham and Women's Hospital Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders report this.

Participants in the study who read a light-emitting e-book before going to bed took a lot longer to fall asleep. They were less sleepy. Their secretion of melatonin was less and consequently their “circadian clock” was set back. These folks were all less alert the next morning.

Their work and the report provide more information. If you wish to read it, go to the Brigham Health Hub. Exposure to the light from other digital devices before bedtime has the same effect of disturbing sleep. The basis of this finding is the fact that blue light reduces the body’s secretion of melatonin. And, melatonin production tells our body that it is tired and needs to sleep. Because sunlight contains blue light, it helps us wake up in the morning. Unfortunately, when your child is working on homework late on their tablet or playing a game, the blue light is reducing melatonin levels and telling your child’s body that it is morning!

Reducing Blue Light Exposure

The key to both sleep disturbances and potential long term eye damage is less exposure to blue light. That may be easier said than done. Your child is living in the internet age. Communication is fast, information is more readily available than during any time in human history, and the odds are that he or she will work in a field that requires the use of computers or other digital devices. Entertainment is an integral part of why we use these devices and that will not go away. A simple approach to sleep problems is to refrain from digital device use for three hours prior to bedtime. But, this does nothing for the risk of long term eye damage.

What can you do?

The answer is to use protective lenses. How can blue light glasses protect your child’s eyes? Protective lenses are available for those who need glasses anyway and for those who do not need prescription lenses. There are lenses that specifically block blue light, ones that also reduce glare, and lenses that block both blue and ultraviolet light as well.

Take a look at the options and protect your child’s eyes from excessive blue light exposure.

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