COVID-19: Digital Devices And You
Whether it’s attending mandatory Zoom meetings, doing more of our shopping online, or finally getting through all 180 episodes of Seinfeld, one constant is true: we’re spending a lot more time on our digital devices than we used to. And while they’ve helped us navigate the logistics of work, school, and social life during COVID-19, the effects of constant blue light exposure can be a cause of concern, especially when it comes to our eye health.
What is blue light?
While the sun is our main source of blue light (a type of high-energy, short wavelength light), we also receive high amounts of exposure through laptops, cellphones, and other digital devices. Some blue light exposure is healthy - it lets our body know when it’s time to wake up and helps us maintain alertness. Unfortunately, too much exposure has been linked to a number of issues such as sleep disturbances, dry eye, eye strain, headaches, and even an increased risk for chronic eye disease.
How can I reduce the effects of blue light exposure?
You can mitigate the effects of blue light by remembering to follow a few simple tips:
1. Unplug when you can: Reduce the use of digital devices before bedtime. If the temptation is hard to resist, charge your devices in another room. Additionally, most devices have a “night time” mode that filters out blue light.
2. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Ensure that you’re giving your eyes a break; during the work day, look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
3. Blue light lenses: If your lifestyle requires a lot of blue light exposure, your eye doctor may recommend these.
Children and Blue Light in the era of COVID-19
With many school districts opting for distance learning this fall, children are also spending a lot more time on digital devices and parents may be hearing more complaints regarding headaches, tiredness, and other issues. It’s important for parents to ensure that their children are taking breaks from these devices and getting good quality of sleep. If you feel your child would benefit from blue light lenses, speak with your eye doctor.