Technology, Blue Light, and Sleep (or Lack of it!)

Are You and Your Kids Losing Sleep Due to Blue Light?

young man in bed at night sleeping happy at home together with digital tablet or touchpad in internet , online devices and social network communication addiction concept

The 2014 Sleep in America Poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that how you interact with electronics influences how your children interact with electronics. Why is this important? Many studies have shown that at night, light disrupts circadian rhythm and suppresses the secretion of the hormone melatonin. Blue light, the light emitted from electronics, shifts circadian rhythm twice as much (3 hours) and suppresses melatonin for twice as long as other lights. This blue light affects teens more than adults . So, if you are checking your email or watching Netflix late into the nights, chances are your kids are too, and it’s hurting them.

In 1998, scientists discovered a new photoreceptor in the eye: melanopsin retinal ganglion cells, found in front of the retina. These cells are more sensitive during evening and nighttime hours and are uniquely sensitive to blue light. Blue light is powerful in elevating body temperature and heart rate, and in reducing sleepiness. It helps keep you more alert which means that while blue light is good for you during the day, it’s bad for you during the night.

Because of the way blue light upsets your circadian rhythm and the release of melatonin, exposure to blue light, especially during evening and night time hours, may be affecting your ability to get enough sleep and good sleep. This can be especially detrimental to kids and teens. Short sleep and upset circadian rhythms have been linked to depression, obesity, diabetes, and various tumoral diseases.

Luckily there are steps you can take to lessen the harmful effects of blue light

  1. Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day. This is going to increase alertness during the day, and it boosts your mood and your ability to sleep at night.
  2. Use dim red lights at night if possible. Red light is the least harmful light to your sleep cycle.
  3. Put down the phone! Avoid bright screens at least 2-3 hours before bed.
  4. Wear blue light blocking lenses. If you cannot cut back the screen time, invest in lenses that block blue light and cancel out a lot of the harmful effects.

Remember, your kids are watching you! You are directly affecting their good (and bad) behaviors. So how you are interacting with technology will influence them. The best thing you can do for them is develop your own good habits.

Shireen Hosseini, InVision Eye Health

Dangerous Lights– Is Blue the new UV?

IMG_7843We’re all pretty familiar with Ultra Violet light, and we know that we need UV protection on our sunglasses.   But what you may not know is that blue light, sometimes called High Energy Visible Light (HEV), is different than UV and also extremely damaging to your eyes.

Ultra Violet light is invisible.  These are the shortest and highest energy waves of light.  As UV light approaches the eye, the majority is absorbed by delicate eyelid skin, the cornea, and crystalline lens at the front of your eye.  Here they can cause skin cancers, corneal diseases, and even cataracts—not good by any means, but generally treatable and you are not likely to go blind due to the effects of UV light.

Blue light is visible.  It is made up of longer waves of light that are not stopped by the outer mechanisms of our eyes because we need them to see color.  So this high energy light is going through your cornea and your lens and landing on the delicate cells of your retina.  In our modern digital world, we are encountering more blue light than ever before.  Blue light is causing us greater eye fatigue, ruining our sleep, giving us migraines, and  accelerating the progression of age related macular degeneration—the leading cause of adult blindness.  (Read more about UV and Blue Light here.)

We have been educated about the dangers of UV light, and we have sunglasses to protect our eyes when we are outdoors.  But when we come inside and sit down under a fluorescent lightbulb  to work at our LCD monitor, binge watch  Netflix on our LCD tablet screens, or browse tumblr on our phones—how are we protecting our retinas?

At InVision, we are committed to providing you with education and resources to help you make good decisions about your eye health.   If you have a family history of macular degeneration or questions about how to protect yourself from blue light, we can help!   Your annual comprehensive exam includes a thorough retinal examination, where we dilate your pupils to
inspect the back of your eye, or take an Optomap image to track changes over time.  We recommend Blutech lenses for Woman reading tablet in the dark with blue light on her face.indoor wear to filter out both UV and blue light—you can get them without an Rx or we can make them in your prescription, even a progressive lens!  For computer users fifty and over, Dr. White recommends the Blutech office lens.  He absolutely loves his!
We are excited to be giving away a free pair of Blutech lenses in July!  For each new blog and facebook  follower, or for each share, reblog, or pin, you’ll get an entry—so pass it on!  Friends don’t let friends go blind!

July is all about Red, White and Blue Light!

Blue Light textJuly is all about Red, White and Blue Light!  Blue light contributes to dry eye,  eye fatigue, macular degeneration, sleep disorders and migraines– InVision will be focussing on how blue light affects your life and how to combat those effects this month.

Follow us on our blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, then Like, Share and tag your friends all month to spread the word and be entered to win a free pair of Blutech Lenses in your prescription!