What is Blue Light?

Chances are, given the year we have had, where printed paper has become even more scarce than it was before March 2020, you are reading this article on some type of device. Whether it's a phone, laptop, desktop or tablet it is emitting "blue light" . Blue light has become something that we are only recently wary of as potentially doing long-lasting damage to our eyes. Most people will associate blue light as a light that comes solely from the electronic devices we use daily, but blue light is actually everywhere., not just from our beloved devices. Primarily, blue light in fact comes from the sun, hence their blue look. In fact, our eyes have always been exposed to it but like many aspects of modern society, we just weren't Our eyes have always been exposed to it, but as humans, we just weren't physiologically built to handle the excessive amount that is now part of our daily routine.

 

How Does Our Body Process Blue Light?

Our eyes are built in a way that naturally block harmful UV rays reaching our retinas. This doesn't mean that blue light does not enter our eyes, nearly all visible blue light does. Cleverly though, we have a pigment, known as macular pigment that is similar to our bodies own blue-light filter.

Macular pigment is made up of two different carotenoids that are called zeaxanthin and lutein. These antioxidants are ones we can only get from our diet in various foods like leafy green veggies, carrots, pumpkin, and egg yolks. The macular pigment in our eyes has been shown to absorb high-energy blue light*. What is really interesting is that the denser the pigment is, the more blue light it seems is blocked. Both scientists and ophthalmologists are currently studying the results of what happens when supplementing with these two carotenoids. and the results of several placebo-controlled clinical trials* reveal that as little as six months* of supplementing zeaxanthin and lutein can help to improve the density of macular pigment.

 

One more noteworthy point on blue light is that if affects adults and children differently. Due to the fact that children under 14's eyes aren't fully developed, they don't have as much protection from blue light as adults. Studies have previously shown* that prolonged exposure to blue light is a contributing factor in nearsightedness among children.

 

Ways We Can Protect Our Eyes

 

  • Firstly, we always want to take a whole food approach to our health and in terms of eye health vitamins, you guessed it, carrots reign supreme. This is due mainly to their considerably high vitamin-A content, which has also been shown to play a role in preventing age-related eye disease*.

Following closely after carrots would be leafy greens, like spinach, kale and other dark leafy greens. These veggies are rich in vitamin K, and research has shown that this vitamin

is beneficial for eye health as well, especially as we age.

Lastly, Berries are an antioxidant powerhouse that benefit our eye health massively. Anthocyanins specifically, have been shown to prevent macular degeneration. Anthocyanins are the parts of berries that give them that deep colour, whether it is red, purple or blue.

Bilberry is a berry that warrants a special mention as it is one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, making this European relative of blueberries a fantastic choice for your eyes. Studies have suggested that bilberry may both improve and prevent glaucoma. Research backs up the traditional claims that bilberry improves eyesight meaning that supplementing is a good idea if you want to take great care of your eyes, whether you’re at risk of glaucoma or use your computer or other devices a lot.

 

Other foods for eye health include:

  • Carrots
  • Leafy greens (kale, spinach, and dandelion greens)
  • Broccoli
  • Eggs
  • Corn
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries

 

  • Warming your lighting. One of the simplest ways you can help protect your eyes is by switching your incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs that have a warmer color range. This will help to cut down blue light in the evening times. Dimmer switches are another option that work really well 
  • Supplementing can help. Consider adding a dietary supplement that is focused on eye health to your routine. Ideally, this will provide the recommended daily dose of lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds that are proven to support eye health. For many people, this might be easier than putting away your phone before bed!
  • Filtering out blue light is another great option. Nowadays, you can set up your phone and other gadgets to use a blue light filter based on the time of This is a solid option, but ideally we should try to avoid screen-time for around two hours or so before bed. You can also try amber tinted glasses at night that help filter out all of the blue light in your surroundings.

To summarize, considering the fact that more and more jobs require people to stare at computer screens all day, and our phones often make up a significant chunk of the other time. This is often associated with two conditions: eyestrain and dry eyes. Taking better care of our eye health is more important than ever before, especially as we age and are exposed to screens over longer periods of time.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725486/#B1-nutrients-05-01962

https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2622933

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28661438/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693724/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-33257-6#Sec6

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523787/