I can’t seem to ignore my smartphone for long and around me I see many people spending time on computers and smartphones. Face it, it’s a way of life! So I decided to find out if there is some way to reduce the blue light effects of looking at these devices.
Our round-the-clock use of smartphones and computers exposes our eyes to an unnaturally high amount of blue light. Scientific research shows these devices emit a high level of high energy visible blue light, also known as HEV light. Increased exposure to HEV light may be potentially harmful to our health as well as damaging to the retina and other parts of the eye. While most of us know the dangers of the sun’s ultraviolet light and take steps to avoid it, blue light is a more insidious problem. Blue-violet light rays which emanate from our screens can penetrate into the retina. This is where they induce photochemical stress that directly damages retinal cells and indirectly leads them to self-destruct.
Chronic exposure to blue light is associated with increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in older adults. Blue light can also play havoc with our endocrine system by affecting our circadian rhythm cycle.
So what to do? There are several things, this article will address nutritional support. Nature provided us with powerful protection against blue light, in the form of pigments in our retinas that absorb light in the blue wavelengths. But while sunlight, to which we are directly exposed only during the day contains about 25% blue light, our screens, particularly those powered by light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, can contain about 35% of retina-threatening blue light.
A recent publication summed the situation up by saying that “…our exposure to blue light is everywhere and only increasing.” That’s why supplementation with carotenoid nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin is so essential, even for those who spend little time in the sun. These supplements have demonstrated intriguing effects for preventing or mitigating macular degeneration. If you use a smartphone or a computer on a daily basis, it is important to ingest xanthophyll carotenoids to protect your eyes from the damaging risks of blue light.
And the good news is that increased macular carotenoids support improved cognitive function. “Lutein is known to accumulate in the retina and several other regions of the brain and has been shown to protect against eye disease and preserve cognitive function in older adults. These studies are important because they demonstrate that the beneficial influence of lutein on cognition is evident in childhood,” Dr Khan told Medscape Medical News
If you have nutrition and eye health questions you would like to know more about in her next Nutrition and Eye Health online course, please send an email to Dr. Diane Prather at firstname.lastname@example.org