How Blue Light Exposure Affects our Health and Our Eyes

How Blue Light Exposure Affects our Health and Our Eyes

Posted under Eye Health, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

“Light at night is bad for your health, and exposure to blue light emitted by electronics and energy-efficient light bulbs may be especially so.”

Blue Light Has A Dark Side

Harvard Health Letter MAY 2012

Blue light exposure may affect our health in two significant ways:

  1. Interferes with melatonin production and sleep circadian rhythm

Exposure to blue light sources in the evening and at night prevent the production of melatonin – a powerful antioxidant that  gives us that sleepy feeling and contributes to a good night’s sleep.

“While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light does so more powerfully.”

Blue Light Has A Dark Side

Harvard Health Letter MAY 2012


2  Retinal Damage to Photoreceptor Cells and Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE)

“Short-wavelength radiation (rhodopsin spectrum), and the blue light hazard (excitation peak 440 nm), have been shown to have a major impact on photoreceptor and RPE function, inducing photochemical damage and apoptotic cell death.”

Age-related maculopathy and the impact of blue light hazard.

Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 2006 Feb;84(1):4-15.

Sources of blue light include televisions, computer screens, iPads, Kindle readers, smart phone screens, LED lights, fluorescent light bulbs and the sun.   Some eye specialists like Steve Dury, a Bristol optician at Dury and Tippett in Staple Hill is concerned not only for his older patients but especially for the younger population who are constantly exposed to electronic screens. “This is going to lead to a huge health issue. It’s people’s children or grandchildren who are going to be affected.”


There are several ways to protect one’s eyes from blue light exposure.

  1.  Eye Lens Naturally Helps Protect the Retina

The lens inside the eye offers some protection from blue light which may improve as the lens yellows.

  1.  The Macular Pigment

The macular pigment acts as a blue light filter preventing the blue light from reaching the photoreceptor cells. The thicker the macular pigment, the greater the protection.

  1.  Blue Blocking Optical Lenses with Melanin

Melanin is found in the skin, hair and eyes and absorbs harmful UV and blue light.

  1.  Blue Blocking Sunglasses

Sunglasses that offer protection from blue light are tinted orange, red/orange, yellow or amber,  such as Noir sunglasses and Eagle Eye sunglasses

  1.  Blue blocking filters/screens for electronics offer blue blocking filters that can be placed on screens of smart phones,  tv’s, tablets, and computers,

Find out how to protect your eyes with blue blocking glasses here:

Blue Blocking Glasses


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN