Many of us have children and grandchildren that don’t remember what life was like before the internet. Email was a novel concept as recently as 20 years ago, and I still remember the FIRST email I sent, from my desktop computer in college after connecting via phone modem to the University library’s server. Memories of dial phones, televisions with antennas and car door that had to be unlocked with a separate key than the ignition, speak to a time of life that was less hurried, less cluttered and certainly less technology filled. We remember how great it was to be able to unlock that car door without fumbling with a key, to be able to send an electronic message instantly to friends or family, and to be able to reach in the heavy bag on your car seat to contact your significant other and let them know that you are on your way home. Our world is more connected, more efficient and more in touch with information than ever before. But, some of that technology comes at a price.
In my world, I see the effects of technology every day while talking with my patients. Many of us are suffering from digital eye strain and fatigue. At our jobs, almost everyone spends at least some time working in front of a computer monitor, and many sit in front of it all day. We go to lunch and catch up on social media or texts on our phone, make dinner using a recipe on our tablet, and read to our kids from an e-reader before we go to bed. We all know that our kids and grandkids spend a lot of time using digital devices, but we often don’t take the time to stop and realize how much WE are attached to technology. If we add it up throughout the day, I bet many of us would be surprised!
The common denominator among most of these devices is the backlit LCD flat screen. Research has shown that backlit LCD devices emit a large amount of high energy blue visible light. Recently, you may have heard some buzz in the media about high energy blue light and the possible harmful effects. Studies have shown that exposure to high energy blue light within a few hours of bedtime will reduce your number of hours of quality sleep. By fooling the brain into thinking that it is daytime, you will fall asleep as usual, but it takes much longer for your brain to enter a deep state of sleep. Although you sleep the same number of hours, you wake up less rested because of poor quality sleep. High energy blue light is also very visually straining to our eyes and can cause discomfort and fatigue after many hours of screen time at work or at home. Other studies have shown that a lifetime exposure to high energy blue light may increase your risk of macular degeneration. Although more studies are needed to quantify that risk, this could be very important to young people who are growing up attached to these devices.
Fortunately, lens technology has evolved over the last few years to allow us to offer solutions to reduce your exposure to high energy blue light. We now have lenses that absorb and reflect high energy blue light to help with eye fatigue, help you sleep better and potentially protect from the harmful effects that may lead to macular degeneration. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you!