York County Medicine Winter 2019 - 35

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

IN THE NEWS:

Eye Health Tip
The Dark Side of
Blue Light
by Catherine H. Bene, M.D.

S

ince the beginning, man has patterned life around a rising
and falling sun. Over time, we have changed illumination
conditions with artificial light. Today, the human eye is
bombarded with various kinds of light 16 to 18 hours a day. We
surround ourselves with all kinds of light, during the day and at
night... with streetlights, office and factory lights, home lights,
TVs, computers and smartphones... to the point where the term
"light pollution" has joined our lexicon. This bombardment of
artificial light causes/enables us to sleep, eat, work and exercise
at "unnatural times," upsetting our normal body or circadian
rhythms... and this affects our health and longevity.., and our eyes.
The lights we face consist of many wavelengths. Invisible UV
light has long been known to have detrimental
impacts on our skin and eyes. Amongst the visible
lights we face is the spectrum of "Blue Light"; long
known to impact our sense of well-being and used
to treat seasonal affective disorder. Today however,
we are being bombarded with Blue Light from
growing numbers of sources: computer and laptop
screens, cell phones, fluorescent and LED lights and
more. Research shows excessive levels of Blue Light
supress our production of melatonin; the body's
hormone regulating our body's natural and circadian

rhythms. Long-term exposure to Blue Light kills retinal cells and
that promotes macular degeneration. Even short-term exposure
can cause eye fatigue and headaches.
We are not certain how much Blue Light can be tolerated
by the human eye. Early research suggests that use of electronic
devices at bedtime (or screen time of more than 4 hrs per day) is
associated with increased sleep disruption. Persons with insomnia
should avoid using electronic devices at bedtime (read a traditional
hard-copy book!). You can protect your eyes from Blue Light
by taking anti-oxidant supplements. Vit E, Lutein, AREDS2
formula vitamins and green tea help prevent macular degeneration
and cataracts. Special glasses are now made to block Blue Light
and there are filters for computers (Google FLUX
for a free program to reduce Blue Light on your
computer). Newer smart phones have night modes
and Blue Light Blockers. Bottom Line : Too much
Blue Light can harm your eyes!
Advanced Eye Specialists, LLC
2915 East Prospect Road

WINTER 2019 | York County Medicine

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http://www.YORKCOMEDSOC.ORG

York County Medicine Winter 2019

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