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Blue Light Vision in Portland
When you step outdoors or turn on a light switch, you're aware that light is entering your eyes. But light may be more complicated than you think. All visible light is made up of many different colored rays, of all hues in the rainbow. The cool end of the spectrum, the end near the invisible ultraviolet light, or UV, is the blue light band. This end of the spectrum has the highest energy, giving it the highest potential to do harm to your body. Excess exposure to UV rays can give your skin a painful sunburn. Blue light can do different types of damage, but its effects are restricted to your eyes.
Blue Light Exposure and Eye Problems
The human eye isn't very good at blocking blue light. Historically, that's never been a problem, since blue light is everywhere in small amounts. The problem today is that all the screens you use on a daily basis -- your computer monitor, your tablet, even your smart phone -- all give off blue light. For most people, that adds up to hours of direct blue light exposure every day. Between work or school, entertainment, and social life, many people are exposed to ten hours of blue light a day or more. While a small amount of blue light is harmless to your eyes, excess exposure can cause a host of physical problems.
The first symptoms that most people notice are those grouped in a category known as "computer vision syndrome." It includes eye pain from a computer being used for hours on end, blurry vision, eye strain, and itchy eyes. The only way to treat this problem is to give your eyes breaks every hour to let them recover. There are many causes of computer vision syndrome, but blue light always makes it worse.
But this is only the beginning of the effects of blue light on your eyes. Because of the high energy of the blue end of the light spectrum, blue light entering your eyes excites your brain, making you more energetic and alert. This is a good thing in nature, as the blue light outdoors helps to keep you awake during the day time. But when you spend hours in front of computers and televisions in the evening, your brain never gets a chance to really shut down. The result is millions of people suffering from self-inflicted insomnia. And when they can't sleep, they turn on a movie or television show, making the problem even worse.
Long Term Problems from Blue Light Exposure
Insomnia and eyesight problems might seem bad enough, but a number of studies have shown that too much exposure to blue light can contribute to a long list of serious physical problems. Some of the more common problems are:
- A higher danger of developing macular degeneration. This disease affects the retina, damaging light-sensitive cells, and can cause permanent blindness
- An acceleration in the development of cataracts. If you've been diagnosed with cataracts, excess blue light exposure can shorten the time you have before needed cataract surgery
- An increased risk of a host of other diseases and conditions, including cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease
Treatment for Blue Light at our Portland Clinic
Cutting down on time spent in front of screens during the day can help, but most people don't have that luxury due to their job or school. The best way you can protect your eyes from blue light exposure is to get eyeglasses with a special coating that blocks blue light. Make an appointment to get your pair at McBride Vision Clinic by calling (503) 297-4183 today.