Computers and other mobile technology are great – there’s no denying it. They make our lives easier and a bit more fun, too. Who doesn’t love that you can carry a mini computer in your pocket?!
As the old adage goes “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.” Technology is great for all the time-saving, life-changing advances it’s made on our daily lives, but it may be causing us a decent amount of pain, too.
Our handy dandy handhelds are backlit devices, which means that the brightness of your LCD screens are amplified. This extra bright light is the product of blue LED lights, which great for using as a flashlight, not so great on your eyes.
These blue LED lights are significantly brighter than the traditional red or green LEDs and exude high energy visible, or HEV, light, often called “blue light.” Blue light falls between 380nm and 500nm on the visible light spectrum, which are the shortest, highest energy wavelengths in the spectrum.
Because of the shortened wavelengths, blue light often creates a haze that reduces contrast and decreases the sharpness and clarity of our screens. This haze decreases the amount of detail our eyes can distinguish and our eyes’ ability to focus, while increasing glare. The halo we often see around light is an indicator of blue light.
The difficulties we experience from blue light isn’t just a result of the light itself, but the structure of our eyes themselves. The fovea centralis, the most sensitive spot in our eyes, is missing the blue light detecting cones that would make the light easier for our eyes to distinguish and focus on. We’re all effectively color blind to blue light for this reason.
Since our eyes can’t distinguish detail or focus in blue light, they try to compensate by squinting and straining to bring our devices into focus, creating many of the aches and pains we experience as part of Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome.
Don’t forget to check back next week for an explanation on how computer glasses help our eyes when exposed to blue light!