Doctors Warn of Digital Eye Stress

With the number of people with the eye disease, specifically macular degeneration growing, doctors warn that understanding your risk can be vital to saving eyesight. According to doctors at the University of Michigan Kellog Eye Center, one of the leading causes of the loss of vision is AMD or age-related macular degeneration. Unfortunately, many patients neglect regular annual eye checkups. 

Macular degeneration slowly occurs over the years, and although vision may begin to deteriorate, individuals with AMD don’t discover this until the retina is damaged. Experts around the world have also stressed about the over-usage of LED lights, used in everything from digital devices to indoor lamps. 

Doctors are so concerned about this lighting causing vision problems that many suggest using specialized glasses, like those at Felix Gray, that filter out the blue light. Experts say just as many people wear sunglasses to shield eyes from the sun’s UV rays, you now need to wear glasses to protect against digital devices. 

LED Lights Endanger Eyes 

Light emitting diodes, widely known as LEDs, could drastically increase the number of defective eyesight in the population because of their high blue light content. 

LEDs can be used in a variety of ways, both in technical lighting and increasingly in private environments. They work more efficiently than other bulbs because they convert far less energy into heat when producing light, and they have a much longer life in comparison. Due to their lower operating costs, their use has grown in popularity. High levels of blue light are also increasingly being used in the lights of car headlamps, and the backlight of smartphones, tablets and TV screens. As a result, our eyes are increasingly exposed to light from LED bulbs. 

Due to its comparatively high blue content, LED light has a very different effect on human eyes than light from incandescent lamps, halogen lamps or fluorescent bulbs. For one thing, blue light causes lasting changes in the eye, and massive vision problems. 

The human eye is naturally predisposed to defend itself from the damaging effects of light: the pupil narrows, the eyelids close, the glare automatically turns off to prevent the light from entering too deeply into the retina, causing it to become damaged. But exposing the eyes to electronic devices for a long time can compromise these natural defenses and worsen the effects. 

Preventing Digital Stress 

Other than limiting the amount of blue-violet light your eyes are exposed to everyday, specialized glasses shield the retina from prolonged exposure. These glasses use a filter that reduces the amount of blue in the lighting. This is especially useful for individuals who spend many working hours in front of laptops and tablets or use other smart devices. And doctors point out the number of hours young adults are exposing their eyes to smart devices. Experts say the younger age groups are exposed to increased visual stress due to their completely different habits in media consumption. 

A further complication of blue-light is that it interferes with sleep routines and causes insomnia. The brightness of the light tells our brain to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that signals to our body when it is time to sleep. 

While filters and protective glasses can help diminish the amount of blue light we expose our eyes to, the best solution, doctors say is to limit our exposure to digital media.

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