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  You probably know that it’s a bad idea to watch your TV from just a few feet away. It could damage your eyes. You may have told your children this. And your parents may have said the same thing to you when you were younger.
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But it’s been suggested that this risk also exists with computers and even smartphones. That’s because they produce the same sort of light that TVs emit—the type that could cause problems for your eyes. But do these devices really pose a threat to your vision? And if they do, how do you protect your eye health from deteriorating, when you constantly have to use them?

Blue Lights, Screens, And Eyes: The Connection

Blue light is one of eight colours on the light spectrum. The others are red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, and violet. They, along with blue, form the ‘ROYGBIV’ assembly of colours that are contained in natural light (sunlight). Apart from natural sources, blue light is also emitted by LED (Light-emitting diode) and fluorescent light bulbs. The blue light from smartphones and TVs is produced by the LED in these devices. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and greater energy than the other colours on the light spectrum. This is why it’s potentially harmful. High-energy light can damage your eyes.
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How Blue Light Causes Eye Damage

If your eyes are constantly exposed to blue light, they may suffer one or more of these conditions:
  • Dry eyes
  • Irritated eyes
  • Digital eye strain
  • Blurred vision
  • Short-sightedness
  • Cataracts
Because the eyes don’t have a natural ‘defence’ against blue light, it can penetrate them and reach the retina, where it damages retinal cells. This effect could accumulate over time and eventually lead to blindness.

How To Prevent Eye Damage Caused By Blue Light  

Here are some ways to protect your eyes from the blue light your phone emits.
  1. Take regular breaks from looking at the screen. Experts recommend a 5-10 minute screen break after about 50 minutes of focusing on the screen.
  2. Use screen protectors. When applied to your phone’s screen, screen protectors absorb a lot of the blue light that it emits, and reduces your exposure to the light.
  3. Switch to night mode. By adjusting your phone’s display settings to night mode, you reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes.
  4. Wear light-blocking glasses. They come with lenses that have been specially tinted to prevent harmful light from reaching your eyes. Talk to your optician before using one.
  5. Cut down your screen time. Set a daily limit to your smartphone use. Some phones allow you to set this limit in their settings. When the limit is reached, you are denied access to certain apps. If your phone doesn’t have this capability, you can download a screen-limiting app from your apps store.

Final Words

Mobile phones have brought us a world of good. But they also come with risks. Blue light is one of them. You can minimize this risk by following the five tips we shared in the last section of this article. Featured Image Source: Time Magazine
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This article was first published on 4th April 2021


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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