Written by: Kim Manthe and Tiffany Ramberg
October 10th is Blue Light Awareness Day, and we want to ensure you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your eyes and skin from harmful blue light. Blue light, also known as high energy visible (HEV) light, is emitted from the sun and digital screens like computers, phones, and TVs. This kind of light has a shorter wavelength than other colors, which means it produces more energy. HEV light has several benefits, such as boosting alertness, improving mood, aiding in memory retention, and regulating sleep cycles. However, too much exposure may lead to a number of adverse effects, such as digital eye strain, headaches, skin damage, and even sleep problems. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of your exposure and take steps to protect your eyes and skin.
5 Ways to Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light
In today’s digital age, we are surrounded by blue light. From staring at the computer at work to scrolling through our phones before bed, we are constantly exposing ourselves to HEV light. Finding ways to avoid over-exposure is key to keeping our eyes healthy. The following five tips may help you protect yourself from harmful amounts of blue light:
1. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
The 20-20-20 rule is a simple way to help reduce eye strain. If you spend a prolonged period of time staring at a digital screen, every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at an object 20 feet away. This will help give your eyes a much-needed break. Furthermore, it is a good idea to take time to go outside and allow your eyes to adjust to natural light. This may also help your skin stay healthy by getting some vitamin D.
2. Wear Blue Light Blocking Lenses
There are many different types of lenses that may protect your eyes from harmful blue light. Blue light computer glasses have a special coating that helps filter harmful rays. Blue light-blocking lenses are also available for contact wearers. These can be added to your contact prescription and may help protect your eyes. Additionally, polarized sunglasses and Transitions lenses have blue light-blocking technology available and may protect your eyes from both harmful UV rays and HEV light.
3. Use Filters on Your Devices
Most devices come with some type of blue light filter. These filters work by reducing the amount of blue light that is emitted from your device. Many devices also have an option to reduce the screen brightness, which may reduce eye strain. If your device does not have a built-in filter, there are several screen protectors available that you can place over your device to filter out harmful light. Blue light filters may also be found in the form of apps. These can be downloaded onto your device and reduce the amount of harmful light that is emitted. Whichever method you choose, be sure to find a filter that works for you and your eyes.
4. Limit Screen Time Before Bed
Blue light is shown to reduce the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that helps regulate sleep. Because of this, it is important to limit screen time before bed. If you must use a device before bed, consider using a light filter (mentioned above) or dimming the screen brightness. Shut off any devices that emit blue light at least 1 hour before bedtime to give your body time to produce melatonin and prepare for sleep.
5. Get Regular Eye Exams
One of the best ways to protect your eyes is to get regular exams. Blue light has been shown to damage the retina, so it is important to get regular eye exams. Be sure to mention any concerns about blue light exposure to your doctor during your appointment. Additionally, be sure to wear sunglasses when spending prolonged periods of time outdoors. Eye exams can also help detect any changes in your vision that may be cause for concern.
4 Tips for Protecting Your Skin from Blue Light
In addition to protecting your eyes, it is also essential to protect your skin from blue light. Blue light has been shown to cause premature aging, cell shrinkage, and changes in skin pigmentation. The following tips may help you protect your skin from harmful amounts of blue light:
1. Use Sunscreen and Other Healthy Skincare Products
Blue light may come from the sun and artificial sources, so it is important to protect yourself from both. Be sure to use sunscreen daily with an SPF of 30 or higher. Mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or iron oxides block blue light more effectively than chemical sunscreens. Click here to learn more about the differences between chemical and physical sunscreen.
In addition to sunscreen, there are a number of other skin products that may protect your skin from blue light and harmful UV rays. More details below!
2. Stay in the Shade
When spending time outdoors, be sure to stay in the shade as much as possible. This will help reduce your skin’s exposure to harmful blue light and UV rays. While getting sun exposure is crucial for vitamin D production, too much sun exposure can be detrimental to your skin. Using an umbrella or finding a shady spot can help you stay safe from the sun.
3. Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
In addition to using sunscreen and staying in the shade, you may also reduce your skin’s exposure to blue light by wearing sun-protective clothing. Clothing that covers your skin can help protect against harmful blue light and UV rays. For example, hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants can all help reduce your skin’s exposure to the sun.
4. Schedule Skin Exams
Staying up-to-date on your skin exams can help detect any changes in your skin that may be cause for concern. Regular visits to a dermatologist will ensure your skin is healthy and is key to preventing skin conditions such as skin cancer. Most skin cancers may be manageable if they are caught early, so be sure to schedule regular skin exams. Those between 20 and 40 should get a skin exam every three years, while those over 40 should get an exam annually.
Following these tips may help protect your eyes and skin from harmful blue light exposure. Blue Light Awareness Day is the perfect day to start implementing these changes into your daily routine. With a little effort and preplanning, you can keep your skin and eyes healthy for years to come.
Products that Protect Your Skin Against Blue Light
At Cascade Eye & Skin Centers, we offer Colorescience products that protect against blue light. Colorescience offers a complete line of skincare and makeup products that provide daily defense against the sun and blue light. Our expert staff will provide you with a thorough analysis and help you choose the best products for your needs.
We provide patients with products designed to protect and treat the skin. View our online store for a complete list of products, then book an appointment with one of our dermatologists to maintain healthy and beautiful skin.
Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light
We are dedicated to providing the highest quality eye care. We offer a variety of lenses that protect against blue light. In addition, our optical lenses are designed to reduce eye strain and fatigue. If you are concerned about blue light exposure, we recommend getting an eye exam and discussing your options with one of our skilled providers. Contact Cascade Eye & Skin Centers today to schedule an appointment.