There has been some coverage in the media regarding an advert, which has since been banned, which highlighted potentially harmful effects of blue light. It is a topic that has received a lot of coverage as people become glued to their smart phones, morning, noon and night. The question is will blue light lead to irreversible damage to the eyesight?
Whether you use smart phones, tablets, computers or not, we are all exposed to blue light as it is present in sunlight and it is actually essential for the body to help regulate our sleep/wake cycle. However the strong energy emitted from blue light is known to cause fatigue to the eyes. It may also cause stress to the pigment cells of the retina leading to macular changes in some susceptible individuals.
At this stage there is insufficient evidence to prove a direct link between blue light and retinal damage. More research is needed to know exactly what the links are between blue light and macular degeneration. While blue light may be an element, the leading risk factors for this are still smoking and having a family history of macular disease.
While good sunglasses are still the best way to block out potentially harmful light form the sun, there are now blue light filtering spectacle lenses available to wear indoors. These block out the harmful blue rays and let the good blue in. The lenses can also be useful in reducing the fatigue experienced when spending a day at a computer or with hand held devices, so may be helpful from a comfort perspective, but although whether they protect the eyes from damage is still not proven.
If you are worried about the effects of blue light on your eyesight, please speak to your optometrist.