Even before the pandemic, we were spending a lot of time in front of digital screens. According to a 2019 study by the Vision Council, over 80% of North American adults reported using smartphones, laptops, and other devices for over two hours a day. Now, with remote work and classes being the norm, that amount’s probably tripled.
If you’re a student, you’re likely online for even longer, especially if you’ve got a project due or finals are coming up. When you finally take a break, do you-
- See if you’ve got any new texts?
- Scroll your Instagram or Facebook feed?
- Check out your favourite YouTuber’s latest video?
- All of the above?
The bottom line is that your eyes are being exposed to a lot of blue light- more than they should be, in fact. Excess device usage even has a name: digital eye strain (sometimes called computer vision syndrome). But don’t worry- there’s a solution!
What is blue light?
Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum. Despite the tech-sounding name, it occurs naturally in sunlight and is a critical part of your sleep-wake cycle. However, when you’re exposed to it for long periods of time, which happens when you stare at a digital screen for too long, problems can arise.
How does blue light affect you?
Your eyes have sensors that detect when it is light outside and when it isn’t. These sensors respond to blue light, so when you’re cramming for finals at midnight, your brain still thinks that it’s daytime. You’re going to have a harder time unwinding and falling asleep afterward because your body’s natural circadian rhythm has been disrupted.
Blue light can also lead to eye strain. Because it has shorter, higher-energy wavelengths, it scatters more easily and doesn’t contrast well. This means that when you’re looking at your phone or another device that emits high amounts of blue light, it’s going to come across as a lot of ‘noise,’ making you strain to focus on what you’re reading. Over time, you may start to experience blurry vision and dry eyes.
So what can you do?
Tips for reducing the effects of blue light
Although you can’t entirely avoid blue light, you can reduce exposure levels. Here are some tips:
- Tone down the blue light on your digital screens. Most smartphones, laptop screens, and computer monitors can be adjusted to reduce blue light. If your device doesn’t have this feature, there are apps like Bluelight Filter for Eye Care, Bluelight Filter – Night Mode, and Twilight, all of which get you the same result.
- Make sure you take regular breaks from the screen and apply the 20/20/20 rule- every 20 minutes, spend at least 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. This exercise allows your eye muscles to relax after prolonged screen time.
- Unplug at least an hour before bedtime. It’s not easy, but you can do it! When you wake up each morning feeling rested, you’ll be glad you did, especially when your productivity goes up.
- Wear glasses that block blue light. This solution is right before your eyes! Blue light glasses reduce glare, ease digital eye strain, and make your vision clearer. Best of all, U-Optical is offering a spring break special for students- more on that below!
How blue light glasses work
Blue light glasses help you protect your eyes and preserve your vision by blocking and filtering blue light emissions. They are specially treated to keep out the wavelengths most harmful to your retinas while allowing light from the more beneficial ranges to come through.
At U-Optical, we are pleased to offer a spring break special for university students: a free blue light feature when you purchase your frames and lenses here. All you have to do is present your student number and our opticians will help you pick out the perfect frames to rock your style. We have a wide selection of frame styles, including top designer brands like Tom Ford, Burberry, and Silhouette, so you’re sure to find a look you love.
For more information, please call U-Optical at 416-292-0075 or complete our online contact form if you’d like to make an appointment. Happy finals!