Social Distancing Consideration: How Blue Light Affects Our Vision

  • By:Dr. Katie Dugan

People across the nation are practicing “social distancing” as a way to minimize the spread of COVID19. This change in daily activities can help to manage the pandemic, but individuals need to consider how staying at home will impact other areas of their health. For example, many people are spending more time looking at digital devices to fill the free time. How will these activities affect your eyesight? Not only is it important to consider the impacts of blue light during this time, but we also need to consider the long-term effects from daily living.

Daily Screen Exposure

Screens are a common part of our modern lifestyle, with most people spending hours a day looking at a cell phone, television, computer, or tablet. Consider your daily routines: how much time do you spend each day with your eyes on a screen? These digital devices have become a normal part of our daily habits: brush your teeth, wash your face, take out your contacts, then browse social media before closing your eyes to sleep at night.

The truth is that screen time before bed might be one of the worst habits that is disrupting healthy sleep patterns. The blue light from the screens plays a notable role that affects our internal clocks and our eyesight.

Natural Light Patterns

Before electricity, the sun was the only source of blue light. The human body was naturally programmed to respond to changing light during the day and night. The sunlight created more energy and responsiveness – with the natural blue light sending signals to the brain that it is time to be awake and active. As the sun went down, the lack of blue light triggered the brain to slow down and rest for the night.

In our digital world, our brains have a harder time following these natural light cues. Smartphones and computers send blue light signals to the brain at all times during the day or night. Watching TV or looking at your phone before bed sends an artificial blue light that inhibits the release of melatonin in the brain, which has a negative impact on the quality of sleep.

Blue Light and Our Eyes

Digital eye strain is another common problem among people who spend a lot of time looking at screens throughout the day. If you notice that you have blurred vision, eye discomfort, or other vision problems when looking at screens for extended periods of time, then it could be a sign that you need to better manage your screen time.

Eye strain can be reduced by using computer glasses, adjusting the blue light settings on your computer and phone, and also taking regular breaks to look away from the screen every 20 minutes.

If you have questions about how digital devices are affecting your eyes, then our team is always here to help. Call anytime to schedule an appointment. We have two convenient offices in the area: Murrieta at (951) 600-9226, or Temecula at (951) 302-1331.

Posted in: Eye Health