Smart Devices Are Compromising Vision

Age-related macular degeneration is not uncommon. In fact, Worldwide, doctors estimate between 30-50 million people suffer from AMD. However, optometrist are now saying that smart devices could be speeding up the eye disease, due to the LED lights used in the devices. This is prompting people many to wear blue light blocking glasses.

Smart Devices Damages the Eyes

A few years ago, researchers at The University of Toledo discovered that long exposure to blue light damages the photo receptors of the eye, and over time, long-term exposure can result in blindness. To produce white light, LED lamps mix blue and yellow light. But this blue light triggers inflammatory processes in the macula. The light leads to the overproduction of a protein, which starts a chain reaction that leads to the death of the visual cells and a loss of vision.

Blue light also damages pigment cells of the retina. Due to accelerated aging processes, the cells increasingly produce waste products (lipofuscin), which in turn damage the visual cells. Ophthalmologist recognize dark spots on the retina, which is a macular degeneration. The disease is not curable and usually occurs due to the normal aging of the eyes. Blue light accelerates the process especially when the eye is exposed to light unprotected, for example when watching TV, smartphones, or a computer screen. Keeping your gaze fixed on a smart screen has also resulted in a higher number of myopia cases, and optometrist point out that this can be resolved with less exposure, especially for young adults whom spend a lot of time on smart devices.

Look for Symptoms of Blue Light Syndrome

Blue light reduces lubrication of the eyes and you’ll typically experience dry eyes, redness, intolerance to light, or a sensation of a foreign body in the eye. If you experience these symptoms, take a break and rest the eyes. But the most suitable solutions is reducing exposure to blue lights as much as possible.

Blue Light Interferes with Sleeping Habits

Insomnia and sleep disorders are increasingly becoming more common, and one of the reasons is smart devices. More people are staying up at night using their smart phones and tablets right before bed. But numerous studies have shown that blue light interferes with the secretion of melatonin, a fundamental hormone in the regulation of sleep, and our natural circadian rhythm, also known as our biological clock.

Melatonin is directly regulated by exposure to light. In daylight, photo receptors capture the light and secretion of melatonin is inhibited, thus low levels of this hormone make the person alert and active. Towards the evening, when the cells are no longer receiving light, release of melatonin has a sedative effect and is responsible for the drowsiness we feel.

Unfortunately, the massive presence of this artificial lights, used by smart devices is altering this natural cycle and has become the cause of sleep disturbances. Using these technologies during the evening deceives the brain, causing a lowering of melatonin levels in the evening, and keeping the body alert. Experts recommend switching off phones and tablets earlier in the evening and using blue light glasses that filter out these lights. The last thing you want to do is compromise your vision.

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February 2019
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