Intro – Over the last several years, as hand held devices like cell phones, iPads, and tablets, have become more popular, some people are experiencing symptoms like, headaches, dizziness, and even insomnia. Recent studies have suggested that the blue light emitted by these types of devices is the source of these problems. I have had several people contact me with questions regarding the symptoms they are experiencing while using these devices.
Blue Light -The spectrum of light that is of concern is the near part of the UV-A band called, Near UV-A. It has been known for some time that UV light, both UV-A and UV-B, can be harmful to the eyes. Recently, studies have shown that Near UV-A could also be harmful.
Symptoms and Problems -People using these devices have reported symptoms like loss of focus, headaches and insomnia. Loss of focus and headaches could be the result of not having proper corrective reading or computer reading glasses and /or focusing intensely for long periods of time at a near point and losing accommodation. Symptoms like dizziness or insomnia are not typical however, and point to another cause or causes, thus the studies.
Reading at night.
It appears that people experience more of these symptoms at night, and in the dark, without using external light sources.
Devices That Emit Blue Light –
There are many and they are not just handhelds:
iPads, tablets, cell phones, computer monitors, certain fluorescent lights and more.
Easy Solutions –
Prescription glasses or reading glasses with blue blocking lenses. These lenses have a special type of tint with a yellow or yellow amber color and UV A and B filters.
Monitor Glasses- While good quality sunglasses should block UV you wouldn’t want to wear them while reading at night. There are several types of no-power glasses that are designed to filter out blue light, Near UV-A, UV-A and UV-B, like the iVisionwear and the Gamers Edge.
Monitor Reading Glasses- These are the same as Monitor Glasses but are made with reading lenses or bifocal reading lenses with a special tint, like Mojo BluBlock.
The magnification you choose depends on how far away you read your chosen device. If you read at about 12 to 14 inches, then your full reading power is what you would want. If you read at about arm’s length, then half of that power would be what you would select.
The best way to determine your reading power is to get an eye exam, but there are simple reading tests that you can take online, that if performed carefully, can provide good results.
A Few Visual Health Reading Tips –
• Move your gaze away from close objects every 5 custom blue light blocking glasses minutes or so, to something far away.
• Don’t read a light emitting device in total darkness. Make sure there is a light source behind you and in front of you, like a bed-side table lamp and another lamp or light in the same room.
• Many flat screen televisions have back field lights. Use them.
• Use Monitor Glasses or Monitor Reading Glasses, that have a blue blocking tint.
• Get a regular eye exam and relate any problems you may be experiencing to your eye care professional.
The Effects of Blue Light on Ocular Health by Elaine Kitchel, M.Ed.…