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The Dark Side of Screen Time


Everyday most of us are exposed to blue light; in fact, YOU are exposed right now. The frequency called blue light is part of the ultra-violet spectrum, but unlike the UVA and UVB frequencies, it penetrates much deeper into our eyes—all the way to the area of our retina that is called the macula. This is the area responsible to provide us with high-acuity vision.

Studies show that blue light damages specific cells in the macula called RPE cells by causing oxidative stress in just 3 weeks! So where is it coming from? Blue light is emitted by anything with a screen—our phones, tablets, computers and TVs. It also comes from LED lights and those energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. We live in a digital age—most of us (kids included) are exposed to blue light every single day. Some days for HOURS at a time! Blue light can take a toll—causing blurry vision, eye fatigue and headaches.

What can protect our eyes from blue light damage? It turns out that nature has provided us with some internal sunglasses that can help us filter the blue light penetration and can calm down cells that may already be inflamed. There are specific carotenoid antioxidants—Lutein, Zeaxanthin isomers, and Astaxanthin that can accumulate in the retina and macula to protect and preserve our vision. In addition, Omega-3 fatty acids DHA & EPA are foundational for supporting the integrity of eye tissue structure and calming inflammation.

Do we get enough of these powerful antioxidants and Omega-3s in our daily diet? Not likely. Those particular carotenoid antioxidants come from green leafy veggies and marine algae. The Omega-3s would be arriving via several servings of cold-water fish such as salmon or sardines weekly. The American Optometric Association agrees that most western diets are too low in the eye-protecting carotenoids and we know that most Americans are deficient in Omega-3s. Supplementation might be the best way to make sure we get enough of these proactive and protective nutrients daily.

Eye health and minimizing our exposure to blue light is something we all need to pay attention to. Because we've have a lot to see and we don't want you to miss a moment, stay tuned for more upcoming blog posts on eye health.