Blue Light - What's the Deal?
Lockdown may be the 2020 word of the year, but if that honor was given to a term, our money would be on “blue light” to take the top spot. The phrase blue light has been making waves lately, but what exactly is it?
The answer to that question is a bit more complicated than simply “blue light is light that is blue”. Without getting too sciencey, let me explain who, what, when, where, why, and how all things blue light.
So what is blue light?
When you step outside into the sunshine you’re actually basking in a whole host of electromagnetic particles. Those particles that are visible to the human eye are made up of red, yellow, orange, green, and blue light. Those different color particles travel in waves that vary in length, strength, and how much energy they emit. Rays on the red end travel in longer wavelengths, giving off less energy. Rays on the blue end travel in shorter wavelengths, therefore, emitting higher energy. This is why blue light is called HEV light, it is High Energy Visible light.
So this HEV light is what everyone is talking about. But before you put on your tinfoil hat in attempts to banish all this light from your life, it’s important to know that not all blue light is bad. In fact, natural blue light helps regulate your body’s sleep cycles, boosts alertness, elevates your mood, heightens reaction times, and can increase your overall feeling of wellbeing. Next time someone asks you “why so blue?”, tell them it’s because you haven’t gotten your daily dose of natural blue light!
If this natural blue light has so many benefits, why is everyone telling you that it is so bad and scary and awful? Because the blue light we’re talking about is not natural, it’s man-made. Smartphones, computers, tablets, LED + fluorescent lights, TVs, gaming systems, and most digital screens and electronic devices emit artificial HEV light that can end up making you feel a little bit blue.
Should we be worried about blue light?
Our ever-increasing reliance on digital screens has led most human people to spending at least 8 hours a day looking at their electronics. That’s a whole lotta time spent staring at artificial blue light and researchers have started to question how that affects us. Studies suggest that extended HEV light exposure can:
- Lead to digital eye strain. One might experience sore eyes, headaches, blurred vision, eye strain, and dry eyes. Boooo to all of that.
- Disrupt sleep patterns. Use of digital devices at night can mess with your natural sleep cycle and circadian rhythm.
- Cause damage to the retina that resembles macular degeneration. That pesky blue light can reach the back part of the eye and damage light-sensitive cells in the retina.
All that stuff is pretty bad. Especially the macular degeneration bit. But, good news! There’s something you can do to protect those baby blues.
Can we protect ourselves against blue light?
The best way to protect against artificial HEV light is to cut back on screen time. This solution, however, is much easier said than done. I don’t know about you, but staring at a screen is part of my job. And as much I would would love to go back to my dumb phone, I’ve become quite reliant on my smartphone. I also just got Disney+ on my tablet, so I’ll be staring at that screen when I’m bored with my computer and smartphone screens. These days, with people at home more, it seems inevitable that our screen time is going to increase. So do your eyes a favor and check out some blue light filtering glasses.
Do blue light glasses work?
Blue light glasses are designed with special filters that block a portion of blue light. There are no scientific studies that prove blue light glasses work, but eye care providers recommend blue light glasses when using electronic devices for extended periods of time. Also, many people extol the virtues of such glasses. Plus, they’re like really really trendy. All the cool kids are wearing ‘em. Why? Cuz eye protection is cool while eye fatigue and potential macular degeneration is super lame.
Whether your staring at a screen for work, Zoom calling, gaming, checking in on that one Uncle with those, uh, interesting views he posts on Facebook, seeing what the kids are up to on Tik-Tok, streaming, or just plain screaming, remember to protect your eyes from all that bad stuff artificial HEV light can cause. You only get one set of eyes, so take care of them! You can check out our full selection of blue light glasses here or take a peep at a few of our favorites below:
One of Ray-Ban’s most popular frames now comes with a blue light lens option. This timeless style works well on almost every face shape and size. The oversized lens blocks a ton of blue light. Practical and super stylish!
Peepers may be known for their reading glasses, but they also make blue light glasses with no strength in the lens. The Clark frame, just like the Ray-Ban Erika, fits any face shape or size. Totally classic and available in black or tortoise colors.
This new trendy shape is here to stay! Circular frames and hexagonal frames have been all the rage the past two years, and it seems like this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This glass lens is available in two sizes and adjustable nose pads make it so this trendy frame will fit anyone.
Another classic look with an updated color twist. Available in two funky color combos, spring hinges for comfort, and frame sure to bring the good times (shout out to JJ Walker)!