I’ve been talking about the harmful effects of blue light caused by overexposure to screens for quite some time now, but with recent studies surfacing almost weekly, I turned to my amazing friend and Optometrist, Dr. Danielle Jin for more reasons we all should be taking more serious precautions to help save our eyesight in this digital age. From my Instagram post, I said I have the ultimate blogging tool– and I wasn’t joking. Computer glasses are 100% necessary for any blogger. But they go beyond just bloggers–they should be worn by everyone on their phone, computer and even watching TV for long lengths of time. Sound familiar? That’s because the general population spends about 10 hours in front of a screen in one day. Y’all this is not a drill, this is a PSA.
I partnered with Pixel Eyewear two years ago after truly seeing the unbelievable difference in my every day after wearing computer glasses. From everyday migraines to now blurry-free workdays, these babies paid for themselves the first 10 minutes I started wearing them. And I haven’t written a blog post without them since.
If I haven’t sold you yet, let my great friend and eye doctor extraordinaire, Dr. Danielle Jin lay down the facts about why you should think differently.
In your experiences, how is active screen time effecting not only our eyesight, but our lives?
Interaction with technology through computer, tablet, and smartphone screens has now become a large part of most everyone’s everyday life. It’s not uncommon for the average person now to be spending more than 10 hours in front of a screen in a day,1 This long continuous exposure to excessive blue light can have significant impacts on not only our vision and ocular health but now there’s a tremendous amount of research demonstrating that it can alter sleep rhythms which can make it harder to fall asleep, reducing sleep quality and total sleep time.2 These changes in sleep behaviors can also have an impact on overall brain health.3
Why do you think computer glasses have become so popular only as of recently?
There’s increasingly more research showing us the harmful effects of prolonged blue light exposure and therefore it’s becoming a larger public health issue. People are more informed, aware and looking for practical remedies to limit and reduce their exposure and thus the harmful effects of blue light.
Should everyone exposed to screens (even kids) consider computer glasses?
If you’re going to be in front of a screen for a long period of time at work or school, it may be helpful to consider computer glasses to limit this additional blue light exposure. The greatest source of blue light is from the sun as it helps to regulate our body’s natural sleep cycles, so blue blocking glasses can be most beneficial in the evening when excessive evening blue light can throw off your circadian rhythms.
Studies suggest that 60% of people spend more than 6 hours a day in front of a digital device— isn’t this crazy? What do you personally think about the effects this amount of exposure has on our eyes?
Prolonged digital device use can affect eye health in a few different ways. These long hours in front a computers, tablets and phones are commonly at a near working distance which can cause significant strain on your eye’s focusing muscles. Additionally, we commonly blink much less frequently when using computer screens. Blinking is our body’s natural way of resurfacing the moisturizing tear film on the front of our eyes. The movement of the eye muscles in our lids also gently squeeze the oil glands in our eye lids to help create healthy tears that hydrate and stay on our eyes. When we are both focusing at near and blinking less during long hours of screen time this can lead digital eye strain and contribute to a condition called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Patients with CVS typically report discomfort, eye strain, blurred or double vision, dry, red, irritated eyes, and headache or neck pain. It, however, can easily be alleviated by using the 20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a break from your computer or device and look beyond 20 feet for at least 20 seconds. Also adding artificial tears to help lubricate your eyes will give you clearer, comfortable vision. Reduce screen glare and improve contrast for more comfortable viewing by adding a matte screen filter or adjusting the surrounding room lighting.
Given these staggering statistics, what do you think the future holds for our eye health?
More studies will guide public health recommendations. Given the latest data on some of the negative effects of blue light exposure, blue light filtering lenses and screens may become more ubiquitous much like UVA/B protection.
What should we be doing to protect our eyes in general?
Regular vision and eye health exams are important to overall visual comfort and ocular health. Everyone should have an eye exam even if you’re not experiencing problems. This exam acts as a baseline to better detect early changes that may be detrimental to your eye health. It’s also important to remember that eye health is an extension of systemic health. Common diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol can cause sequelae that can also damage your eyes so stay physically active, maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables and nutrient-rich foods, and avoid smoking.
What are some of your recommended ways we can protect our eyes from artificial blue light?
Limiting exposure can help protect your eyes from the harmful effects of blue light and there are a number of ways that this can be achieved. Simply cut down on your screen time. Sometimes that can be difficult as the majority of people spend their workdays in front of a computer or tablet. Another way is to incorporate blue light blocking lenses or glasses when you are on the computer. Many devices now offer display settings that can be adjusted to limit the amount of blue light emitted. For example, iPhones have a night shift setting that can adjusted automatically during the evenings. Also look at non-screen sources of blue light such as LED lights in your home. Using limited blue light LEDs and warmer toned lights can also reduce your exposure.
Okay, enough about eyes– what’s your favorite food?
Are you feeling more inclined to get your hands on some computer glasses? I think yes. Well you are in luck! Get a major discount on Pixel Eyewear computer glasses using my discount code TMIEyes at check out!
Also, if you got extra nervous reading this post, there are a couple more precautions you can take to protect yourself from blue light.
- Lutein Blue Vitamin | A small one-a-day capsule by Nature’s Bounty was recently created to help protect eyes from the harmful blue light of electronic devises as it contains the trademarked ingredient Lutemax® 2020, a clinically studied formula to support eye health.
- Clinique Skincare for Men | Lightweight, non-sticky cream moisturizer energizes skin with 12 hours of hydration and anti-fatigue power. Multi-Layered Defense Technology fights modern aggressors that can tire skin and accelerate aging. Combats UVA/B, Infrared, and even Blue Light, a key disruptor of skin’s ability to protect itself.
- Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 | A revolutionary, ultra-light, 100 percent mineral sunscreen with environmental protection technology to shield skin from key causes of damage that accelerate visible signs of aging.
- Origins A Perfect World™ SPF 20 Age-Defense Eye Cream | A SPF 20, Age-Defense Eye Cream prevents premature signs of aging, protects from UV damage with 100 percent mineral, irritation-free SPF, as well as environmental aggressors like infrared rays and pollution with antioxidants from white tea.
- EYES PC Blue Light Blocking Screen Protecting Panel | The ultimate screen protector panel to add to your desktop. Blocks 100% of Hazardous UV light and reduces HEV Blue light up to 100% with excellent Color Transmittance.
Howard, J. Americans devote more than 10 hours a day to screen time, and growing. CNN Health. July 29, 2016. https://www.cnn.com/2016/06/30/health/americans-screen-time-nielsen/index.html
Jabr, F. Blue LEDs Light Up Your Brain: Why electronic screens keep you awake at night and what you can do about it. Scientific American. Nov, 1, 2016. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/blue-leds-light-up-your-brain/
Bakalar N. Poor Sleep Tied to Increased Alzheimer’s Risk. New York Times. July 5, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/05/well/mind/poor-sleep-tied-to-increased-alzheimers-risk.html