Like it or not, 99% of our daily work and leisure-related activities happen on internet-connected devices. Even when we decide to relax offline, our subconscious often drags us back into some form of internet use within minutes. This is because of our habitual reliance on these devices. 

In fact, our addiction to internet use is one of the biggest reasons we tend to end up in this vicious circle.

We wake up without feeling refreshed, try to take away the morning headache with some strong coffee, then stare at the computer screen until the eye strain kicks in all over again. The day ends with the promise of going to bed at a reasonable time — ending with insomnia until 2 a.m.

Are you familiar with the feeling of your brain being too tired and exhausted to fall asleep by itself?

An increasing number of physicians, insomnia doctors, and eye care professionals have been discussing the effects of blue light rays as the primary source of headaches, migraines, and eye fatigue.


What is blue light, and why is it so harmful?

It is common knowledge that our eyes are capable of differentiating seven colors of light, also known as the seven colors of the rainbow. Among these seven, red seems to be the most friendly for us as it has the lowest amount of energy and the longest wavelength. On the other hand, blue light releases the highest amounts of energy while simultaneously operating on the shortest wave. Moreover, what we usually see as “white light” carries significant traces of blue light as well.

As with any other natural phenomenon, blue light has both positive and negative effects on humans.

The positive effects mainly come in the form of natural manifestations of blue light. Imagine a bright blue sky on a nice day during an Indian summer, or snow sparkles in the sunlight, or the marine blue color of sea waves on a beach. Nature has seen fit that we respond to this color by feeling more optimistic, productive, and happy.

Unfortunately, we do not always have the opportunity to experience natural blue light on a daily basis. Due to the confines of living in an urban environment, we mostly encounter artificial 

sources of blue light — computer, mobile, and TV screens, fluorescent outdoor ads, street signs, and so on.

Exposure to these artificial sources of blue light rays is so frequent that it has already become unnoticeable to us (unless a bulb or a screen is too bright, of course). However, multiple studies have already compiled sufficient data on the gradually damaging effects of blue light on our bodies and mental health.

 

Categories of health complications arising from constant exposure to blue light rays: 

1. Eye strains and blurred vision:

Blue light causes a digital eye strain. It is not easy to focus your eyes because high-energy, short-wavelength blue light scatters more quickly than any other visible light. 

When you look at computer screens and other digital devices that emit blue light, such unfocused "clutter" in vision reduces contrast and causes digital eye strain. In addition to chronic stress on the eyeball, blue light leads to blurred vision.

Besides, intense exposure to blue light can damage the light-sensitive cells of the retina. Blue light reduces the retina’s melanin (read here) and can eventually lead to glaucoma (read here).

 

2. Hormone-related issues:

Many may already be aware that exposure to bright light during the evening hours tends to lower melatonin production (read here)

Melatonin is the hormone that, to put it simply, allows us to sleep. Thus, a severe enough reduction can cause insomnia.

Blue light messes with our metabolic health, leading to quick weight gain and, in the long term — obesity (read here and here).

 

3. Long-term and chronic effects:

Blue light may even cause diabetes (read here); the logical connection here is understandable, considering the above-mentioned hormone and weight issues.

Since blue light disrupts the regularity of our natural circadian rhythm, it is also suspected to cause heart complications and possibly lead to various other cardiovascular diseases (read here).

Note that just about all of these health complications start small. Gradually, more people start asking for something that helps with headaches or google for something to help with dry eyes or blurred vision.

If you turn to your GP/family doctor with these common complaints, most often their recommendations will be plain and simple (not wrong, though!): 

  • Take a walk during lunchtime (especially if it is sunny outside)
  • Use warm light bulbs during the evening (ideally red and orange ones)
  • Install blackout blinds in your bedroom for better sleep quality

You can also look into buying melatonin pills or apply the so-called “artificial tears” to your eyes.

While all of the standard recommendations have their own limitations, good-quality blackouts are a bigger investment. Melatonin pills could also suppress the natural production of the same hormone even more, and eye drops are known to be addictive.

Another popular and easily implementable recommendation is wearing blue-light-blocking glasses (sometimes known as computer screen glasses).

 

Why do blue light glasses beat out other doctor recommendations?

  1. Eyes are the primary “victim” of artificial blue light, especially if you work in the office and frequently use your smartphone. It would only be logical to begin treatment/prevention with the eyes themselves.

  2. The effects of blue light glasses are noticeable on Day 1 of use. Nobody can promise you that migraines will be gone for good (because there can be other causes behind them). Still, less pressure behind the eyes and fewer headaches are guaranteed.

  3. Blue light frames are much more lightweight than regular prescription glasses. This means you can wear them all day long, without even noticing them on your face!

  4. It is generally recommended to wear blue light screens 2-4 hours before going to bed to maintain the right melatonin level. Thus, you are more likely to improve the quality of your sleep without any additional pharmaceutical intake.

 

Since the best cure isn’t always realistic, i.e., reducing our time spent in front of a screen. Blue-light-blocking glasses are the next best solution to the chronic health issues introduced by prolonged exposure to artificial blue light