Blue Light Protection

Could an eye exam help you get a good night's sleep?

If you are having trouble sleeping at night, blue light may be the culprit, and glasses or contact lenses could be the solution.

Today's digital technology is better and more convenient than ever. We love our computers, tablets and smart phones. Stuck waiting for an oil change? No problem. Scroll through Instagram or Facebook, play a game, catch up on email or even watch a movie. Our lives are full of modern conveniences that help with many things.

However, digital screens emit harmful blue light, and without proper protection, those conveniences could be costing you a restful night's sleep along with increasing your long-term risk to eye health complications. At Koetting Eye Center, we offer the latest cutting-edge technology in glasses and contact lenses to combat blue light. In fact, our practice was first in the St. Louis area to receive the new Oasys with Transitions soft contact lenses. And for those that wear glasses, we offer many lenses with built-in blue light protection.

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Numerous studies have shown that individuals who are highly engaged in a digital lifestyle are experiencing more eye strain. We also know that too much blue light exposure can increase the aging process of the eye and result in acceleration of age-related eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. In addition to the blue light emitted from digital screens, the transition from incandescent overhead lighting to LED lighting adds to the bombardment of blue light.

To understand blue light and its effects on the eyes, it is helpful to look at a visible light spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. The spectrum is comprised of different wavelengths of light varying in length from 380-700 nanometers. Shorter wavelengths of light have higher energy and are more likely to cause damage to the eyes. Blue light, also referred to as high energy visible (HEV) light, contains the shortest wavelengths, ranging from 380-500 nanometers. This high-energy blue light is absorbed by the lens of the eye and the retina, which is why these structures are susceptible to damage.

Blue Light and Melatonin

One of the major concerns with blue light that is often over looked is its effect on our sleep cycle. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the human body that regulates our wake-sleep cycle, or circadian rhythm. Blue light emitted from the sun is important in controlling the levels of melatonin in our body throughout the day. During the day, blue light released from the sun suppress the amount of melatonin produced and keeps us feeling awake and alert. In the evening, when the sun is set, melatonin production increases, making us feel tired and ready for bed. This is when artificial blue light from digital devices and LED lights becomes a problem. Blue light exposure prior to sleep decreases our body’s production of melatonin, resulting in wakefulness and a delayed or disrupted sleep cycle. There are many physical and psychological implications of not getting a full night sleep. It is recommended to minimize blue light exposure a minimum of two hours before bed. Today, most digital devices have a blue filter mode you can program to turn on in the evening, as well as commercially available blue light blocking screens for computers. While these modifications help minimize blue light, they do not eliminate it.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive!

Digital devices and LED lighting are a big part of our lifestyle and will continue to be. In fact, unless you printed this article, you are most likely reading it on a digital screen and being exposed to blue light. The goal is not to eliminate all blue light as some blue light is an important part of our wake-sleep cycle. However, moderation is the key. With the advent of blue blocking glasses and contact lenses, we can now control blue light exposure throughout the day.

If you are experiencing side effects from blue light or are concerned about its long-term effects on your eyes, call today for an appointment. Our doctors can help guide you to the perfect solution to fit your lifestyle and provide you the very best protection from this very real threat.


Brentwood:

  2511 South Brentwood Blvd.
St. Louis, Missouri 63144

    (314) 863-0000


Ellisville:

 113 Old State Road Suite 101
Ellisville, Missouri 63021

    (636) 256-7800