Blue Light EXPOSED!

Jenna Morrow – Optometrist


The hottest topic in Optometry is blue light and our eyes. Are computers and screen devices bad for our eyes? 


Taking care of the health of eyes is important and to be able to do that we need to know more about the effects of blue light being emitted from the devices we’ve grown to love.  It’s a known fact that we’re using mobile devices more and more with mobile phones and tablets being a part of our daily lives.  The problems we’re seeing is the effect on our eyes from a young age and therefore parents need to be very mindful of the amount of time children spend on these electronic devices. 

We already know the damage caused by Ultra-Violet (UV) light to our skin and eyes.  Researchers have now found that specific wavelengths of blue light (directly beside the UV) are harmful to our eyes aswell and therefore spectacle lens laboratories have spent a lot of time and money in developing ways to filters those wavelengths.  We’ve had UV protection on spectacle lenses for a long time but the addition of a protective coating can minimise the effects of these blue wavelengths. 

The high energy blue light is a major risk for cataracts and macular degeneration. It is one of the major components of glare and effects sleep patterns.  Research is being done into the risk factors of myopia associated with excessive exposure to these short visible blue light wavelengths.  The human eye isn’t very good at blocking out harmful blue light rays, so it’s up to you to keep your exposure to a minimum.

The evidence in research has been shown that mice being exposed to high levels of blue light displayed irreversible cell death of the photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the retina and leaking of the fine capillaries in the retina cone photoreceptors.  In humans this translates to damage to the macula and is expressed in a number of vision conditions and the most common being macular degeneration. 

Using devices in dim light is worse as the pupil enlarges in low light levels and the eye absorbs more of these harmful rays.  I advise all my patients to have good background light when using illuminated devices. 

Happy to chat more in store about “blue light” and its effects on your eyes and the coatings available for spectacles that filter these light rays correctly. If you don’t wear glasses, more current devices have the option to change the settings so making it warmer (less blue) will reduce some of the light being emitted and minimising usage is the best form of protection.