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The Danger from Exposure to Blue Light

For years, eye doctors have warned patients about the danger of ultra-violet (UV) 

light. Sunglasses with UV light filters have been the recommendation for patients 

that spend time in the sun.  We know that light is electro magnetic radiation and 

that UV light is the high energy, short wave length part of the spectrum that 

damages human tissue. The most common piece of evidence for this is the simple 

sunburn of the skin that can occur with even short exposure to unfiltered sun light.

We now know that visible blue light, also high energy, short wave length light in the 

visible spectrum, can also cause changes to human tissue, especially the sensitive 

tissue of the retina. Blue light has lower energy that UV but there is considerably 

more exposure to this today with computer screens, large TV screens, I-phones 

and digital reading devices. According to the American Optometric Association’s 

recent American Eye-Q survey, 62% of respondents spend 5 or more hours per day 

on digital devices that emit high-energy blue light.

Damage to the eyes and visual system range from simple eye strain and sleep 

disorders, to eye pathology like dry eye syndrome and cataracts, with the worse case 

of permanent vision loss from macular degeneration.

There are a number of solutions to the problems related to blue light exposure.  

Perhaps the simplest and most cost effective is to obtain glasses with an optical 

filter to reduce or eliminate blue light. There is a wide range of options from 

coatings that reflect blue light to chemicals in the lens to absorb blue light. Ask you 

doctor here are Edmonds Eye Associates to discuss this protection at your next eye 

examination. Our optical staff will also be happy to demonstrate these new lens 


You may wonder if you are at risk for this problem. The high risk population are 

those people who spend much of their day on a computer, smart phone or use a digital back-lit

reader like a Kindle or Nook, also those that watch a large screen television, and people 

who have had cataract surgery with in intra-ocular implant (IOL).

If you or your family are in one of these risk groups, be sure to learn more about 

new options for protection so that you can enjoy a lifetime of good vision.

-written by: Scott Edmonds


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