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What’s With the Blue Light?!?

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

by Emily Katherine Dacus

We live in the digital age—there’s no denying that. You cannot go ANYWHERE without seeing people glued to their smartphone screens. One major concern I’ve seen lately is the prevalence of blue light from our ever-present screens—whether it be a phone, computer, tablet, TV, you name it. It’s well known that staring at anything, particularly a flat screen, is bad for your eyes. But what’s with the talk about the blue light? Why is BLUE light so bad?

Well...I manage accounts for several eye care clinics around central Mississippi, and one thing I’ve found while making posts is that a high exposure to blue light from screens can increase the risk for macular degeneration. Blue wavelengths are shorter than red, orange, etc., and therefore they have higher concentration of energy. Just like UV rays can damage our skin, blue/purple wavelengths closest to the UV-side of the spectrum can damage our eyes. Why? They penetrate all the way back to the retina, as opposed to warmer colors. Not so great, especially for someone who works at a computer screen all day. I don’t necessarily mean myself, but anyone. And there is no shortage of desk jobs in the US.

So…what can we do about it? I, for one, have a MacBook Pro, which—like all newer Apple products—has an option to turn on “Night Shift,” which turns the screen a warmer tone, reducing the amount of blue light. I have Night Shift turned on all the time, and I’ve noticed that my eyes get much less tired when I work all day. (Not to mention, it’s a lot more soothing to look at.) Some PCs have them as well, I believe. And if changing the temperature of your screen is not an option, glasses that block blue light are becoming ever-prevalent on the market these days. It’s worth the investment, I believe; our jobs are NOT worth going blind for!

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