Should You Wear Blue Light Lenses?
We all live beneath the same big, blue sky, but the popularity of blue light lenses continues to rise because the amount of blue light hitting our eyes only keeps increasing year over year.
At Mattawan Family Eye Care, we specialize in using BluTech lenses for patients seeking to filter out certain wavelengths of blue light before it hits their eyes. If you’re considering adding this feature to your next pair of eyeglasses, that’s something we’re happy to discuss with you!
In the meantime, if you would like some further facts on blue light or are simply curious about the benefits of blue light lenses, we’ll provide most of the basics for you here.
Why Is Blue Light Bad for Your Eyes?
Not all blue light is bad for you! (Otherwise, we’d all be in big trouble.) Blue light can help set and maintain a healthy sleep cycle, so proper exposure is important.
Blue light can become a problem, however, when you are exposed to a lot of high-energy blue light over time, for longer than necessary.
When it comes to visible light, shorter wavelengths equal higher energy. When higher energy blue light enters the eye, it hits the retina and mixes with oxygen, causing a reaction that can gradually destroy light receptors and retinal pigment cells. This can contribute to age-related macular degeneration over time.
In addition to direct damage to the eyes, higher levels of blue light exposure in the evening decreases melatonin production by 50%, and therefore can also disrupt your sleep cycle. Ideally, it is recommended to limit blue light exposure as you approach bedtime.
Where Does Extra Blue Light Exposure Come From?
In addition to the natural blue light outside, many of us are now bombarded with much more indoors.
Sources of extra blue light exposure include:
- Computer screens
- Smartphones and tablets
- Energy-efficient LED and fluorescent bulbs
The closer the source of blue light is to your eyes, the more impactful the exposure can be. So, unfortunately, the way we use tech can have a lasting influence.
The more time we spend engaged with technology and certain kinds of indoor lighting, the more that the risk of vision problems can mount. When we talk with you about whether you may need blue light filtering technology, an honest assessment of how much time you are exposed to these sources will be part of the conversation.
Will UV Filters in Lenses Provide Any Protection from Blue Light Exposure?
Ultraviolet (UV) light filters are definitely important in their own right. Exposure to this form of light can also cause cataracts and contribute to macular degeneration.
But while UV blockers are frequently essential in eyewear, they do not tend to filter all the wavelengths of blue light that should be limited.
The visible blue light that we are most concerned with exists at wavelengths ranging from 400-500 nanometers (nm). UV light exists below this level, 400 nm and below. Standard UV blocking technology will cover UV light, but will not have an effect on high-energy visible blue light.
How do BluTech Lenses Filter Blue Light?
BluTech lenses contain two pigments that are naturally found in the eye:
- Ocular Melanin, which is present from birth but degenerates as we age
- Ocular Lens Pigment, which does not exist in our eye when we are born, but forms more and more within our crystalline lens as cataracts develop
Both pigments protect against the harmful effects of blue light, and are incorporated within BluTech lenses to filter light at 500 nm and below. This does also include UV light.
That said, we do not want all blue light exposure eliminated, as we mentioned earlier. The filtering performed by the lenses is greater as the wavelength decreases. So, wavelengths of 410 or 420 nm, which are more harmful to the eyes, are filtered much more than wavelengths of 490 or 500 nm, which are less harmful.
BluTech lenses can be optimized for indoor or outdoor use specifically, much like many other variants that can be applied to eyeglass lenses.
Do BluTech Lenses Affect My Color Vision?
Only slightly! BluTech lenses do not outright block all blue light, nor do they use particular dyes or tints to achieve their goals. The naturally occurring pigments used in the technology help assure this.
The end result is the maximum level of blue light filtering that does not skew your natural perception of color. Of course, other technology applied to lenses might affect color (polarization, for example), but we will be sure to discuss with you what you can fully expect from your eyewear before making a decision.
Is Blue (or Less of It) Right for You?
If you have concerns about blue light exposure in your day-to-day life, please don’t hesitate to bring it up with us. We will listen to your questions, talk with you about your family’s vision history, and make a recommendation on whether BluTech lenses are a worthwhile option for you. Even if you are already experiencing some effects of macular degeneration, BluTech may help slow the progression of the condition.
Schedule an appointment with us by calling (269) 668-5558 or by filling out our online contact form.