With the ‘Work From Home’ becoming a norm, we have become accustomed to using our phones, laptops, and tablets non-stop. Though the beginning of lockdown meant using these only for Netflix, we now do everything we can on these devices.
And while we’re attending non-stop virtual meetings on Zoom and binge-watching more than normal on Netflix, we are happily ignoring the harmful effects these can have on our eyes and skin. Yes, blue light from the screens we’re glued to can cause a lot of adverse side-effects.
But, what exactly is blue light?
Blue light is a range of wavelengths in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. And these wavelengths are also known as the High Energy Visible (HEV) light. This HEV light is as dangerous as UV-A and UV-B light.
What can blue light do to our skin and eyes?
Whenever you use a digital device, you’re exposing yourself to harmful blue light. Research shows that short exposure to blue light does not have any significant effect on our skin and eyes. But, long-term exposure to these wavelengths can have toxic effects on our skin cells.
Spending too much time on screens means the blue light from them can cause the production of reactive oxygen species. Unlike the oxygen you breathe, these reactive oxygen species can trigger unwanted reactions in the body and contribute to oxidative stress. In simpler words, staring at screens for too long every day can induce activities that cause ageing.
Along with this, blue light can also disrupt our circadian rhythms. And once the circadian rhythms are out-of-sync, you are going to be up at times you should be sleeping. Moreover, blue light does disturb the quality of your sleep and stop your skin cells from repairing themselves.
And this is not it. Blue light can also cause hyperpigmentation and give rise to a condition called melasma. Scientific studies show blue light causes more pigmentation in comparison to UV light.
Blue light phototherapy is still used to treat acne and other skin conditions because short exposures are safer in comparison to long screen exposures.
Although we don’t know how much blue light can cause significant damage, we need to do things that can help prevent this damage.
How to prevent the blue light damage?
Now that you know how harmful our daily use of smartphones and laptops can be, you need to know ways you can use to help yourself.
- Antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that reduce oxidative stress and can prevent you from ageing. And these can be found in some sunscreens or some great foods rich in vitamins. If you’re buying a sunscreen that is rich in antioxidants, buy an SPF 30 at least. And don’t forget to consult a dermatologist, read reviews before you come to a decision!
- Buy Computer glasses. Also called blue light glasses, these are very helpful in preventing blue light from entering your eye and damaging your retina. And as long as you get quality blue light protection coatings, it doesn’t matter if you wear these lenses in designer glasses frames.
- Blue light filters and apps. Filters for your laptop and mobile phone screens can help you block blue light being emitted from these devices. You can also use ‘Night Shift’ and other blue light filtering apps to reduce the damage.
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