It’s impossible to live, and work, without the many digital devices in use today, from PCs and laptops, to tablet computers and that smartphone that’s constantly glued to our hands. Despite the health risks of being mainly sedentary while using them, we now know there are other, and equally serious, dangers to constantly using these machines and gadgets.
It’s all to do with blue light. As Harvard Medical School says, it has a “dark side” — one that can “potentially cause disease.” Who knew our beloved digital devices could be so hazardous? But what exactly is blue light, what damage can it do and — most importantly — what can you do to shield yourself from all this potential harm, so that you don’t suffer and become struck down with some kind of infirmity that impacts your quality of life?
Almost everyone knows that light is made up a number of colors — red, orange, yellow, green and blue — that represent different wavelengths, or energies, of light. When these colors combine, we see them as white light. The blue part of the light spectrum has a short wavelength, which means it has more energy. It may sound harmless enough, but when this light is thrown out by your computer or smartphone screen, it has the ability to reach right to the back of your eye — the retina, where all those precious light sensors are located.
Problems Associated with Blue Light Exposure
At the very least, blue light coming from the digital screens we’re staring at all day at work and then all evening and night at home can easily lead to eye strain, which can not only result in sore eyes, but also potentially crippling headaches and shoulder pain. Common symptoms of digital eye strain include burning or itchy eyes, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and difficulty keeping your eyes open — they just want some rest!
Good sleep is essential for good health, but it’s been discovered that blue light interferes with our sleep by making us think it’s daylight when, in reality, it’s night and we really should be getting ready to fall asleep. Many people curl up in bed at night and spend long periods on their phones or tablets, reading the news or an ebook, or scrolling through their social media feeds, and then they wonder why they can’t drop off and go to sleep.
This is because blue light interferes with the production of melatonin, the so-called sleep hormone, which starts being released in the body when daylight dims and night falls. This means that those affected may not just find it hard to get to sleep, but also stay asleep. Waking up groggy and tired is a horrible feeling, but a lack of sleep can have a real impact on our health. It can affect our performance at work, our concentration while driving and just about everything else we do during the day.
How to Protect Yourself from Blue Light Dangers
Clearly we can’t just give up on our digital lives: doing so might well mean an end to work and enjoyment in the home. Digital devices are an integral part of modern life and they are almost certainly here to stay. So what can we do to protect ourselves from the harmful blue light they emit?
The answer, it turns out, is surprisingly simple. It’s something called a blue light screen protector, which is easily available and costs very little. The key is to get a quality blue light screen protector that will properly filter out the blue light, without giving your screen a strange orange or pink tinge — the way a lot of filtering software can do.
Then you’re all set to continue with your digital dealings, but without compromising your health or anything else.