Most of us can’t live without our cellphones, tablets and laptops. On average, we spend more than nine hours a day staring at one screen or another.
Blue light comes from all of them and doctors say it’s dangerous, especially years from now. Maureen McFadden has details about how to cope with that blue light now and down the line.
As millennials do, Courtney Soltis can barely let an hour pass without checking in with her electronic community of friends and work.
“I’m on all devices, tablets, computers, cellphones over eight hours a day,” says Soltis.
She started suffering daily headaches and it turned out digital eye strain was the culprit.
“Vision becomes blurry, eyes become fatigued, sometimes red, it’s very frequent to start getting headaches,” says Ophthalmologist Dr. Alen Mendelsohn.
Dr. Mendelsohn says anyone looking at a screen for more than 30 minutes a day is at risk.
“There’s blue light that’s emitted from digital devices. That’s high energy visible light but it’s harmful, and that’s what causes the digital eye strain,” says Dr. Mendelsohn.
And if you don’t block that blue light early on, he says you could be risking Macular Degeneration down the road.
“You don’t really want to be at high risk of going blind after the age of 50,” says Alex Bari.
The doctor told Alex Bari the first thing he can do to lower his risk is to distance himself.
“There’s only one fourth of the exposure holding it two feet versus one foot,” says Dr. Mendelsohn.
Dr. Mendelsohn says you should also make sure your glasses have blue blocker built in.
“Specifically it’s something called yellow chromophore pigment that’s embedded in the lens,” says Dr. Mendelsohn.
It’s more expensive but this expert says it’s worth it.
“We want to prevent the macular degeneration, it’s a preventable thing,” says Dr. Mendelsohn.
Some insurance companies cover the cost of the blue blocker. Otherwise it’s around $100 depending on the prescription. Dr. Mendelson adds it’s important to protect children’s vision as well, saying they should watch screens from at least three feet away.
TOPIC: BLOCK THE BLUE LIGHT TO SAVE YOUR SIGHT
REPORT: MB #4402
BACKGROUND: Age related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than ten million Americans. That is more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. It is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet, and three stages: early AMD, intermediate AMD, and late AMD. Regular eye exams are important to catch it early on. Digital eye strain is when individuals suffer from physical discomfort after screen use for longer than two hours at a time. People report experiencing dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain.
(Source: https://www.macular.org/what-macular-degeneration & https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/content/digital-eye-strain)
CAUSES: AMD stands for age related macular degeneration. The biggest risk factor is being 55 or older, but ultra-violet and blue light ultra-violet light can make it worse. Recent studies suggest that the blue end of the light spectrum may contribute to retinal damage and possibly lead to AMD. The retina can be harmed by high-energy visible radiation of blue/violet light that penetrates the macular pigment found in the eye. Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, an ophthalmologist, says that “people who are pushing hard on digital devices many hours a day are getting the digital eye strain; vision becomes blurry, eyes become fatigued, sometimes red. It’s very common to start getting headaches. The individual on their own knows what to do; they stop and take a break. The tricky part is they stop and take a break, pull out their cell phone to check their e-mail, text, get caught up on some things but they’re still getting the digital eye strain.” Dr. Mendelsohn states that the blue light coming from our electronic devices is the culprit for digital eye strain.
(Source: https://www.macular.org/ultra-violet-and-blue-light & Dr. Alan Mendelsohn)
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES: To reduce your risk of digital eye strain and macular degeneration, Dr. Mendelsohn says you can start by simply holding your devices further away from your eyes. You can decrease your exposure by moving your computer and cell phone screens at least two feet away. The next step he recommends is to get glasses with blue blocker in them. The blocker can be built into your prescription glasses or sunglasses. Blue blocker glasses have yellow chromosome pigment embedded within the lens, which protects the eye from harmful blue light.
(Source: Dr. Alan Mendelsohn)