Tablets and smartphones have not been around long enough to measure the long-term affects on consumers and their vision. However, some newer studies suggest that artificial blue light from digital devices are linked to a number of issues related to vision and overall health.
Doctors' concerns about the harmful effects of blue light, is causing electronic manufacturers to develop new ways to prevent overexposure. Night Shift™ mode for Apple®, f.lux®, and other Night Mode apps for Android were introduced to consumers to help reduce the negative side effects of blue light absorption. The concept is that the screen will become a warmer tone, therefore reducing the amount of potentially harmful blue light. New research is suggesting that they may not be helping much at all.
What are the problems with blue light absorption?
Blue light can be found in all light sources, both natural and artificial. In small doses, absorption can be harmless, but too much light from hours of screen time can potentially cause a number of health issues, such as:
- Blurred vision
- Lack of focus
- Digital eye strain
What’s at risk?
Your sleep. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by our bodies that triggers our ability to sleep at night. Tablets and other smart devices have been shown to decrease melatonin because of potentially harmful blue light emitted as well as overstimulation of the brain.
Do they work?
According to most studies, not really. The Lighting Research and Technology Journal conducted a study to understand how much melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleep, was suppressed using personal devices during the evening hours. What they found was:
- Blue light suppresses melatonin production
- The Night Shift Mode, while helpful in reducing screen brightness, only reduced the amount of blue light that suppresses melatonin by a few percentage points
- Night Shift is not effective in reducing blue light absorption
What can you do?
Tablets, artificial lighting, and LED-based screens are here to stay, so consumers should know how to protect their vision when using these devices or others like them. Gamer Advantage glasses help to cancel out up to the 455nm of blue light from these devices. Wearing blue-light-canceling lenses can help to decrease the amount of blue light that reaches your retinas, which can:
- Increase melatonin for better sleep
- Reduce eye strain and headaches
- Keep your eyes in top shape
Researchers also suggest turning off tablets and smartphones at least two full hours before sleep for all ages, as well as limiting usage to an hour or less at a time.