We have already shared a lot about the risks of prolonged exposure to blue light – including digital eye strain, trouble sleeping, and the increased likelihood of macular degeneration. But what exactly is blue light? And why is it so bad for us?
Blue light is everywhere, and it has both benefits and dangers. If you want protect yourself from digital harm, it’s worth knowing more about it.
What is blue light?
To put it simply, blue light is a short, high-energy wavelength in the visible light spectrum. This electromagnetic spectrum is made up of wavelengths of varied length, seen as colours by the human eye. Every wavelength is represented by a different colour: violet, indigo, green, yellow, orange, red or blue.
Blue light is the highest frequency visible to the human eye. It is positioned at the top of the light spectrum, and is very close to Ultraviolet light – well known for causing damage.
Blue light is natural, and can be found everywhere. Sunlight is the main source, and the way most people get exposed. The wavelength of blue light is very short, and due to its high energy it scatters very easily when it meets air and water. This is why we can thank blue light for the colour of our sky.
So why all the fuss?
Although sunlight is still the most prominent distributor of blue light, with technology and light bulbs only emitting a fraction of its rays – it’s the large amount of time we are spending inside, close to our screens that is damaging our eyes.
In the days before artificial light, the only exposure humans had to blue rays was from the sun. It was LED lights that first brought blue light inside our homes.
The first LED lights were developed in the 1960s, and were low powered, only producing light in red frequencies of the spectrum. It wasn’t until the 1990s, with the invention of the blue diode, that the first blue LEDs were invented. Due to their high brightness, hyper-longevity and energy efficiency, these light bulbs took the world by storm, and its creators were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 2014 for their work.
This ground-breaking discovery was followed soon by the invention of the white LED we commonly use today. White LEDs use a phosphor coating to partially convert the overwhelming blue light, to red and green frequencies that appear white. White LEDs revolutionised technology, giving screens the ability to be backlit brightly, and for a long period of time.
There are many benefits to LED lighting. It’s great for the environment, but it has come at a cost. Our eyesight.
Now, blue light sources are extremely common. What first only came from sunlight is now being emitted all day and night, from technology at home and work. This constant exposure tricks our circadian rhythm into believing its always daytime, which can cause trouble sleeping as well as serious damage to our eyes.
Experts recommend limiting your exposure to blue light to less than two hours a day, but for many people this just isn’t realistic. Most of our jobs rely on the use of a computer, tablet or smart phone, and we want to be able to come home, relax, and watch some TV.
This is why some medical professionals now recommend blue light filter glasses to people suffering from frequent headaches, eye irritation and trouble sleeping.
We’ve designed the wide range of stylish Baxter Blue glasses to protect your eyes from the damaging effects of blue light, while reducing glare and increasing contrast. And since our kids are now being exposed to these harmful rays from such a young age, we’ve also developed a kids’ range. Protect yourself, and feel free to make the most of the benefits of the digital age.