Blue Block or Not?

This question of the need for blue blockers keeps coming up so here are some thoughts for you. Since so many jobs now require a full day of screen exposure, the use of an “occupational” pair of eyeglasses with the blue blocker option is not unreasonable. The impact of a career of screen exposure is uncharted territory, why not cover the base. If your concern is macular degeneration, make no mistake about it, respect the sun and use sunglasses, your screens at 50 to 70 lux, are no match for it’s potential impact at 100,000 lux! Those poor white mice that were fed their body weight in saccharin , did show retinal damage with blue light exposure after 24 hours of 6,000 lux LED sources through a dilated pupil. I hope none of us are looking to replicate that exposure. Should your phone or computer offer a “night” setting, this is a blue blocker, a useful adjunct, why not use it.

When at your screen, remember, your blink rate drops from an average 12 times a minute to as low as 4, keep some rewetting drops handy. Using an artificial tear every couple hours will help to resurface your cornea ( can you say Zamboni), and diminish glare. The blue blocking eyewear will also help protect against air currents and prevent additional drying. If possible try to position your screen so that you are looking downward towards it, never upwards, save your neck. Your eye to screen distance should be at least 22 inches for a desktop.

Now there is one fact that you should be aware of Rip Van Winkle, blue light suppresses your natural melatonin secretion. Your sleep-wake cycle can be thrown off by continued screen exposure in the evening. Mature patients have complained of trouble sleeping for years, but I find it unusual for so many young people to be having that issue these days. So if your ability to sleep leaves something to be desired, blue blockers have been shown to be of benefit, otherwise, stay off the screens for 2 or 3 hours before bedtime or go for the hard copy. Bottom line, in addition to eliminating most UV, the blue blockers may help you in ways you never imagined, sweet dreams.