It’s Straining your Eyes and Ruining your Sleep

     After endless hours staring at screens, we all get that feeling. Your eyes are dried out and tired; you might even get a dull headache, or worse, a migraine. All you want to do is squeeze your eyes shut and give them a short break from the endless screen time.  Statistics show the average American spends 7.4 hours each day in front of a digital screen, and we all know you are above average in all parts of your life- and this one is no exception.

     You’ve definitely heard health warnings about your favorite digital addiction, but you've probably not considered this hazardous aspect: over exposure to blue light. It's not anything new to us; it's a part of the natural world that helps us regulate our circadian rhythm and we process these wavelengths as the color blue. But naturally occurring does not mean harmless, and blue light pours out of every digital screen and LED you own. Ophthalmologists worry that letting this high energy visible light (HEV) continuously fry your retina through screen time can have some undesirable consequences.

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        Biologically, we depend on blue light for lots of functions. Your circadian rhythm is how your body knows when to sleep, when to wake up, when to eat, and when other processes should happen. Research shows that the circadian rhythm is regulated by the presence of HEV detected by the retina. Normally we would only be exposed to blue light from sunlight. When the sun goes down, our exposure would decrease, and we would become tired and fall asleep. But your rhythm is completely thrown off by exposure to blue light from screens and high efficiency light bulbs. Pre-bedtime news feed scrolling is leading to less sleep and a shorter REM cycle for you. People joke that sleep is overrated, but science disagrees; sleep deprivation can lead to various physical and mental health issues in addition to a day long sense of exhaustion.

If a good night's sleep isn’t a good enough motivator, then let's take a look at this new buzz word; phototoxicity. Phototoxicity is as unpleasant as it sounds. The reaction between blue light and retinal aldehydes cause the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS produced inside the cells of our retina “attack” and damage key parts of its cellular structure. Short term, our bodies do a good job of repairing any damage done by this mechanism, but over time it is believed to be linked to conditions such as macular degeneration and other degenerative vision loss diseases.

While it may seem like the only solution is go off the grid and never glance at another screen again, companies have developed more reasonable solutions for protecting our retinas. Transitions have developed len technology that only filters the blue light that has been shown to cause damage to the retina, allowing other blue light through. Hoya has created several top of the line products with Recharge and Sync, both HEV filtering technologies with even more to offer. Recharge is a unique infusion that both protects your eye from blue light and your lens from physical wear and tear. This infusion pairs seamlessly with the new Sync from Hoya; a lens designed to give you crisp views of everything from your e-reader to the TV screen in your living room. Your digital view will only be enhanced by these new lenses, meanwhile the health of your eye will be protected for future screen time.  

The more time you spend viewing an electronic device without proper protection the more potential damage that can be done.  Contact us today about Blue Light Technology for your eyewear.