Guest Author: Dr. Edward Hugget
In the long-term it’s not only about the intensity; it’s about the exposure.
I am talking about blue light.
There is blue light all around us. Hidden within the light we see around us is light in the higher energy section – the blue end of the visible light spectrum. The second we open our eyes in the morning until we turn out the lights at night, light in the blue end of the visible light spectrum is flooding into our eyes.
We are exposed to blue light now more than ever from blue light technology such as computer monitors and smartphone screens. Studies show that blue light can damage the retina, but it is not only about the intensity of the blue light that I am writing about it is also about the exposure over time. This exposure is dependent upon a variety of factors including the size of the pupil and distance of the eyes from the light source. What blue light exposure linked to? It is linked to a common blinding retinal disease called Macular Degeneration or AMD.
Internal and External
Protection from the damaging effects of blue light can be decreased with internal and external defenses.
Internally we can use our own internal protection against blue light with retinal pigmentation. The amount of retinal pigmentation we have in our eyes the less likely we are to develop macular degeneration. There is a direct link between how much retinal pigmentation we have and our diet. Eye-health friendly diets rich in green leafy vegetables contribute to increased retina pigmentation levels. The pigment compounds are a family of pigments called carotenoids. Additionally, brightly colored fruits and vegetables are full of carotenoids which support macular pigmentation. It has been determined that macular pigments block up to 80 percent of blue light from the retina.
Externally, there is much we can do to protect our eyes. When outdoors, quality sunglasses and a hat with a brim will filter a significant amount of blue light. Daily protection from childhood is essential as the cumulative effect of blue light starts there. Additionally, children will learn the healthy habits that will hopefully keep them out of the 14 to 24 percent of people age 65 who have macular degeneration. Indoors lighting is critical. Light sources put out light ranging across the light spectrum including blue light. Find and use light sources that are lower in the blue light output that contributes to eye disease. Dr. Lite brand of lamps are designed specifically for this and will contribute to eye health support.