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If you are looking for Dr. Joseph Papp, please call Linworth Smile Center at (740) 513-2142 or Delaware Smile Center at (740) 513-2035. More information can be found at www.smilecenterohio.com

Computer Vision Syndrome & Blue Light

According to recent studies, 60% of people spend as much as 6 hours a day in front of a digital device whether it is a computer, tablet, smartphone or other gadgets.

All of these devices emit blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light, which is a known cause of computer vision syndrome, sleep disruptions and possibly other potential dangers to the eyes. Blue light radiation is also emitted from television screens, electronic devices the fluorescent and LED lighting and yes, even the sun.

What is Blue Light?


Emitted from the sun, blue light is naturally occurring in the world around us. On the spectrum of visible light (light that humans can see), blue light has the highest energy and the shortest wavelength.

It is also sometimes known as blue-violet or violet light, which is where ultraviolet (UV) light rays that are just beyond our perception get their name. Much like ultraviolet light, blue light has both dangers and benefits to our health, particularly to our eyes.

What are the Potential Dangers of Blue Light?

Research is still being done to determine the long-term effects of blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light emission, however it is known is that blue light is a cause of computer vision syndrome (CVS) and sleep disruptions.

Eye Strain

The high energy and shorter wavelengths of blue or HEV light emit a less consistent flow of light, creating a glare or flickering that can cause eye strain. Because sharpness and visual contrast are affected by this, the eyes have to work harder to see clearly. After extended periods of time this can result in headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and mental and physical fatigue.

Sleep Disruptions

Natural blue light in the atmosphere is known to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm (which controls your sleep cycles), to boost your mood and level of alertness and to improve memory and cognitive function.

However, prolonged exposure to artificial sources of blue light has been shown to reverse these positive effects, causing disruptions in the circadian rhythm which affects sleep, as well as an increased risk of depression. Studies show that using a digital device before bedtime can negatively impact ther amount and quality of your sleep.

Macular Degeneration

Researchers at Harvard University have shown that over time, prolonged exposure to blue light can cause damage to the retina at the back of your eye, which may lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and possibly other serious health and vision problems. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss and low vision.

The Effects of Digital Eye Strain


Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience digital eye strain as a result of the growing use of computers and digital devices. Adults aged 18 to 34 report feeling eye strain at a higher rate (45%) than their older counterparts.

New research also suggests that overexposure to blue light, also referred to as high-energy visible or HEV light, may contribute to vision problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Implications are just now being studied, but the short-term impact of digital eye strain affects individuals on a daily basis. Eye care providers are noting a steady rise in the incidence of myopia as well, which research suggests could be correlated to the increase of screen time and near focusing.

tired eyes slide

Symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sore eyes
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Neck, shoulder or back pain

In addition to these symptoms, emerging research shows that blue light from digital devices causes sleep disturbances by interfering with the REM cycle of sleep.

As people move from their computer to their tablet to their phone, more and more of these symptoms are being seen, and in younger and younger people. Computer glasses offer a solution to reduce the strain on your eyes and your exposure to blue light radiation.

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How Computer Glasses Work

Computer glasses reduce eye strain by adjusting the focus slightly so that your eyes feel like they are focusing on something further away. They also have a tint to remove the glare and block blue light from entering into your eyes.

asian technology boy hands up

Children and Computer Glasses

Children are using digital devices more than ever and this trend will only continue as smartphones take over and tablet and computer-based learning increases. Their use extends well beyond the school day, as they use computers for homework and gaming and smartphones to text with their friends.

Computer glasses should be used for children proactively before eye strain begins to keep their eyes healthy longer and prevent nearsightedness.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Blue Light Emissions?


As the dangers of blue light from digital devices emerge, more and more options are becoming available to protect your eyes. The eyes have very limited natural ability to block out blue light radiation so we need to be aware of blue light exposure and how to minimize it.

Computer glasses with blue-blocking lenses, coatings, and filters are a good solution for those working on a computer for long periods of time each day. You can also add anti-glare coatings with blue light protection to your regular eyeglass and sunglass lenses. Additionally, there are filters available for devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets, to reduce the amount of blue light radiation that can reach your eyes.

The easiest way to reduce blue light exposure is to take frequent breaks when working on a computer and to reduce screen time overall. There are a number of companies that make computer glasses, some that are designed for device users without a prescription or that would wear the glasses with contact lenses.

When shopping for computer glasses you want to make sure you find the right pair. The eyewear should sit nicely on your face and provide a comfortable tint. Here are some of the options available:

Single Vision Computer Glasses

Provide the optimum lens power and field of view for viewing your computer screen without straining or leaning in to reduce symptoms of CVS.

These are ideal for when the computer is at a fixed working distance and work well if the user needs to view multiple screens at the same working distance.

Office Lenses or Progressive Lenses

No-line multifocal eyewear that can be made to correct near, intermediate and some distance vision with a larger intermediate zone for computer vision if indicated.

Perfect for those with presbyopia which is the gradual loss of focusing ability that occurs naturally with age. Office lenses work like progressive lenses but provide a wider field of view for intermediate (1-3 m) viewing distance and near working distance (about 40 cm).

Anti-glare and filtering coatings (treatments)

Eliminate reflections from the surfaces of your lens to reduce eye strain and discomfort from glare. Some coatings can also block blue light emitted from computer screens.

BluTech Lenses

Fortunately, cutting-edge technological solutions to this growing epidemic exist. BluTech Lenses are special lenses specifically designed to selectively filter out blue light, enhancing visual comfort and minimizing eyestrain.

These lenses boast a special state-of-the-art filtering agent within the lens material itself that duplicates elements in the eye, called ocular lens pigment and melanin, which the body naturally produces on its own, and which help filter out just the right amount of blue light entering the eye to protect against unfettered blue light penetration, while allowing proper visual contrast.

Recharge

Recharge is another cutting-edge option to help cut down on the harmful effects of blue light. HOYA is the advanced eye care company that produces these lenses, which reflect up to 30% of harmful blue light away from the eye.

Between the filtering effect of BluTech and the reflective properties of the Recharge coating, a large percentage of otherwise very harmful blue light never reaches the eye. This is an extremely important element in the long-term health of your eyes.

Patients who spend hours on electronic devices are at increased risk of eyestrain and glare, macular degeneration or problems falling asleep at night. For more information about blue light and how to protect yourself, contact your eye doctor today.

Dr.Papp

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