For years, visual scientists and the eye care community have been warning about the potential harmful effects of short wavelength radiation from both Ultraviolet and Blue radiation. Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight has received the most attention over the years despite the fact that this radiation cannot enter into the back of the eye. Ultraviolet radiation can cause external ocular problems such as eyelid cancers, corneal growths and sores, itchy burning eyes from excess exposure.
Recent research has been studying the potential for harm of the increase in blue light exposure in our indoor environments. Newer energy efficient light sources are now LED and fluorescent, and they dominate our world in TV’s, Computer monitors, smartphones, Ipads, reading tablets etc. If it is compact and bright, it is powered by LEDS. All these light sources emit high levels of short wave violet and blue visible light. Many of these sources have an emittance spike at a wavelength of 410-420 nm. There is much concern about the potential for long term retinal damage from this energy. It is known that this type of radiant damage does tend to be cumulative over a lifetime, similar to what is known about skin cancer and cumulative sunlight exposure. The eye focuses this energy at the center of the retina- the macula, much like a magnifying glass can focus sunlight to burn paper. It is believed that focusing high energy blue/violet light on the macula will lead to an increase in macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 65 years. Children have less of the protective melanin pigment in their crystalline lens as adults and as result are at greater risk of macular damage.
Based on this research, special blue light protective tints and coatings have been developed for indoor use. The best products incorporate some of the protection in the coating and some of the protection in the tint which will be a yellowish colour. The doctors and staff at Summerland Optometry support the research and theory of these lens treatments, and we believe that they do represent the best indoor protection from our electronic world.
Research also indicates that blue light exposure at night seems to have detrimental health effects perhaps due to their ability to suppress the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep. Trouble sleeping in turn can lead to many health problems. Parents please keep the possibility of disturbed sleep from evening blue light exposure from LED powered devices on your radar with your children.
For more information go to www.bluelightexposed.com