Chances are that you have some sort of cellphone, television, laptop, tablet, or computer in your home. So as your family rings in 2021, it’s understandable that using these types of digital devices in your everyday lives has become second nature, especially considering the social distancing efforts in place.
While these types of technology improve our lives in many different ways, there is still one glaring threat that is often overlooked when it comes to screentime—blue light exposure. Learn more about the drawbacks of excessive digital device use and a few ways that you can protect your family’s vision below.
Blue Light Explained
If you’ve ever gotten a headache after spending an extended amount of time looking at a screen or find it harder to fall asleep at night after mindlessly scrolling on your phone, it’s likely that you are experiencing a few of the negative side effects caused by blue light.
Artificial blue light from screens is particularly harmful to the eye because the eyes find it naturally harder to filter out this shorter wavelength of light due to the higher energy compared to other colors on the spectrum. Because of this, studies have shown that continued exposure to this type of artificial light can lead to retinal damage, digital eye strain, age-related macular degeneration, and more. Additionally, some short-term symptoms include eye dryness, headaches, and lack of focus.
Although it can be harmful, it is also important to note that appropriate amounts of blue light can actually have beneficial aspects like acting as a natural mood-booster and improving cognition. But considering how many families may be spending over the recommended amount of screentime that emits artificial blue-light, it is important to take preventive measures to ensure long-lasting eyesight.
How to Protect Your Family
Increasingly, developments are being made with different ways that you can protect your family from this specific type of light exposure. Different practices and products can help keep your eyes strong and healthy amidst the extra screen time that many families are spending using their digital devices at this time.
To start, knowing how and when to limit your children’s tech use allows them to enjoy their devices, but also aim for balance—less time on screens means less exposure to blue light. Although with less social interactions and limited in-classroom instruction, you and your family may be relying more heavily on your phones and computers. Additionally, if you are also struggling to fall asleep at night, as previously mentioned, try logging off and shutting down your devices at least 30 minutes prior to sleep (as blue light can inhibit melatonin secretion).
You can also experiment with blue-light blocking glasses or a blue-light screen protector. The protective properties in these products aim to aid the eyes in filtering blue light through special lenses and coating that uses different hues to balance out the harshness of blue light. Parents working from home or children who are virtually learning may find this especially helpful during this time as they’re logging extensive hours on their devices. These tools can help limit eye strain while completing work and make a huge difference in the level of focus you can attain from home. Similarly, they keep eyes fresh for when you are ready to use your devices for personal use.
Blue light exposure is an important health concern to keep top of mind as you start the beginning of a year full of possibilities and growth. From setting limits on digital devices and investing in wellness-boosting products, your family’s vision will be prioritized and protected.