The electromagnetic spectrum extends from gamma rays — which can be deadly — to radio waves that flow in the air around us without any effect. The most significant wavelength for our eyes is between the ultraviolet and infrared sections of the spectrum: visible light. However, research suggests that high-dose blue light can be troublesome, particularly with the use of electronic devices.
Both the sun and incandescent bulbs emit light in a vast spectrum that our eyes have adapted to see. The light originating from our electronic devices may look identical, but it is concentrated in three major peaks of blue, green and red. When using a phone or tablet, this means that more than the normal amount of more energetic blue light is transmitted to the eyes at a short distance and over (often) longer periods of time. Researchers have observed that this can cause the eyes to grow tired and dry, which can lead to discomfort. Exposure to blue light at night will slow down the development of the sleep hormone melatonin, resulting in sleeping problems and negative health effects.
In order to reduce the consequences of excessive blue light exposure, a number of tech companies have created blue light and night time filtration settings that reduce the amount of blue light coming from the devices. Many websites and programmes also offer a dark mode that reduces the amount of white on the screen, which means that less light is emitted by the diodes. Users also report that these features are easier to look at.
Whilst the subject is up for debate, prolonged exposure to blue light may often contribute to an increased risk of macular degeneration, a general cause of vision loss linked with photoreceptor cell damage in the retina. In laboratory studies, researchers have observed that when blue light interacts with the retinal molecule, it can lead to cell damage and even cell death. This result did not appear in other sources of visible light. However, it is important to note that this study was conducted in a laboratory setting and not on the eyes themselves, so although the authors found a mechanism by which the blue light plus the retinal can cause cell damage, they are not sure whether this occurs in the eye itself.
However, given the impact that excessive screen usage can have on eye exhaustion and potential sleep disruption, it is necessary to take eye breaks and use filtering or modes that minimise blue light (or wear glasses that block blue light).
Device related neck pain has also become a huge problem along with postural issues. If you feel you need to seek further advice on any of these topics please contact us at www.cramosteopaths.co.uk