Smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. It seems we’re in front of screens all day — and we’re starting even earlier in life. It’s not uncommon for a five-year old today to have a personal device. While a convenient source of information and entertainment, there’s a downside to such technology.
Effects of Blue Light Exposure
Digital eye strain and dry eye are 21st century problems associated with blue light exposure. So, what’s so bad with blue light anyway? For one, it’s known to interfere with the body’s circadian rhythm, what you know as your natural wake and sleep cycle. If you look at your phone right before bed you could be sabotaging your sleep.
Let’s explore why. During the day, blue light can be a good thing — it wakes us up and gets us going. (The sun is actually a source of blue light.) But too much blue light exposure late at night can wreak havoc on our sleep quality because it suppresses the production of certain hormones. That’s why experts recommend you avoid looking at your device up to three hours before bedtime.
Don’t worry — you won’t have to rely on memory alone to break old habits. Many devices have nighttime settings that curb blue light exposure. Dark mode can be your friend in enjoying a more restful night’s sleep.
Take a Break From Your Screen
There are other things you can do throughout the day to offset the exposure to blue light. Among them is to take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: Every 20 minutes, shift gaze to an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. You can also use artificial tears to add moisture and address the symptoms of dry eye.
Maybe you’re concerned about your children’s exposure to blue light. It all goes back to setting boundaries related to screen time in the interest of their health. Your Midwest Eye Consultants doctor can help you determine an effective approach. Also, set your own limits for screen time and follow them, so you are leading by example.
Last, visit your eye doctor regularly. He or she can address any concerns you might have about your vision and how blue light might impact it. Nothing can substitute for a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate your eye health. As always, if you notice a change in or are concerned about your eyesight, know that we are just a phone call away. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today and enjoy peace of mind.