University of Wisconsin–Madison
Smartphone blue light and eye.

How to protect your eyes from the harm of blue LED light

Now that days are getting shorter, we’re all more aware of the light around us. Getting enough daylight in the winter can be challenging, but is essential. Blue light plays a special role in our health. When exposed to it during the day, it boosts our mood, alertness, memory and cognition.   Yet too much of a good thing can be harmful. In the case of  blue light too much can disrupt your natural sleep cycle.

If this happens, your quality of sleep suffers. Worse yet, such disruption may contribute to other health problems such as obesity, cancer,  diabetes, and heart disease. Recent news also states that excessive exposure to such light can also damage your retinas, causing conditions such as age-related macular degeneration.

Sources of Blue Light

The single greatest of blue light is sunlight but you are exposed to many other sources:

  • Fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights
  • LED lights
  • Flat screen LED televisions
  • Computer monitors, smart phones, and tablet screens

How to protect yourself

Reduce Screen time

Try to decrease the amount of time spent in front of these screens and take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest. Avoid screen time 2-3 hours before going to bed; if you can’t do so:

Use Filters

Screen filters are available for smart phones, tablets, and computer screens. They decrease the amount of blue light given off from these devices that could reach the retina in our eyes. Night Shift for Mac OS, and Blue Light mode for Windows 10 are two such. iOS has its own version of Night Shift. Many builds of Android also include such filters and for those that lack them, apps like Twilight provide similar functionality.

Use Computer glasses or Anti-reflective lenses

Computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light can help ease computer digital eye strain by increasing contrast. Anti-reflective lenses reduce glare and increase contrast and also block blue light from the sun and digital devices.

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