Is blue light bad for you?


Fact Box

  • Blue light is the shortest, highest-energy wavelength that is about 380 nm and 500 nm. Sunlight, digital light, and fluorescent lighting all contain amounts of blue light. 
  • The National Recreation and Park Association revealed that more than half of respondents spent more than 30 minutes outside per day; of this group, Gen X is most likely to be outside and Gen Z is the least. 
  • According to Zippia, the average American spends about five to six hours on their mobile device daily. 
  • found that 80% of Americans check their phones after the first 10 minutes of waking up, and 62% sleep with their phone at night.

Sheryll (Yes)

About a third of all visible light is classified as blue light, with sunlight being its most significant source. However, artificial sources of blue light—TVs, computers, and smartphones—pose the biggest cause for concern, as long-term complications arise from too much screen time.

Research shows that continued exposure to blue light could damage retinal cells due to phototoxicity. Studies on animals find that even short exposure, of between a few minutes to several hours, could be considered harmful. This may lead to vision issues later in life, such as age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of sight loss in older adults.

Blue light also affects sleep, especially when exposure happens close to bedtime. This is because the light sensors in our eyes associate blue light with daylight and may not perceive the warmer tones around us that would usually help signal that the day is ending. This disrupts the secretion of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, which makes it more difficult for our bodies to fall asleep. 

Emerging research has also found that blue light could harm your skin. One study showed that people with darker skin tones tend to experience more swelling, redness, and pigment changes when exposed to blue light, likely due to the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers. Another study also revealed a link between blue light exposure and the production of free radicals in the skin, which could accelerate the appearance of aging.

Clearly, everyone of all ages could benefit from less screen time. Reduced exposure to blue light is good for both one's eyes, skin, and overall health. 

Maha (No)

Many alarmist headlines claim that blue light is bad for people. However, it's time to put that myth to rest because many may miss out on its benefits. Firstly, blue light is abundantly available in nature. While LED lighting and screens of different devices emit blue light, they're nothing when compared to the biggest source of blue light: sunlight. Yet even while people outdoors are significantly exposed to it, they can still be safe. Humans have instinctively evolved to protect their eyes against blue light. That's why their pupils constrict and they squint in bright sunlight. 

Moderate exposure to blue light is also important for one's health. A study shows that 30 minutes of exposure to blue light increases the speed of performance while working on challenging tasks. Another study revealed that blue light makes individuals less sleepy and more focused. Further, controlled levels of blue light may be used as an effective treatment for several disorders. Research revealed that exposure to this wavelength of light reduces negative mood, making it a possible treatment for mood disorders. It's also used as a treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression linked to the change of seasons. 

That said, too much of anything can be bad for one's health. Luckily, there are ways of limiting blue light exposure, especially for those using screens longer. In addition to blue light-blocking computer glasses, individuals can use blue light filters and implement the 20/20/20 rule to prevent eye strain. 

So, rather than avoiding blue wavelength light altogether, people should soak up some of it to become healthier.

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