10 years is a blink of an eye in terms of human history, but will the last 10 years come to be known as the period that changed our vision and health? The first iPhone was released in 2007, and the first iPad in 2010 with many similar devices released soon after. CFL and LED light bulbs have been legislated into service over the past few years, largely replacing incandescent bulbs. The common thread between smartphones, tablets, laptops, LCD flat panel monitors and energy efficient light sources are their high emission of blue light.
A rule of thumb when determining potential for damage caused by light is to look at wavelength. Shorter wavelengths have higher energy with greater potential for damage. The visible light spectrum (the light we use to see) ranges from 400-750 nanometers (nm). Blue light is defined as light from 400-500 nm, the shortest visible light wavelengths. Sunlight is our strongest source of blue light, which is why the sky is blue. But previously, when we came in from outdoors, our exposure to blue light ended. As a result of technology, we now have blue light exposure at all hours of the day.
A growing body of scientific study indicates the strong possibility that blue light exposure contributes to visual fatigue, sleep deficiency, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In a recent survey of VSP eye care providers, 83% of respondents reported seeing an increase in symptoms attributable to blue light exposure in their patients, a dramatic rise from previous years.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your vision: Sharper Image® TechShield is a revolutionary blue light protective coating for eyeglasses which can be worn even if one does not require a prescription for vision correction. These lenses help reflect and absorb harmful blue light, and should be regarded as our safety glasses for the 21st century.