As an online marketer, you no doubt spend an enormous amount of time in front of your computer screen. And just as your grandparents told your parents not to sit too close to the television or their eyes would go bad, we are told that blue light is creating eye fatigue and causing us to lose sleep.
But is it really?
Personal electronic devices emit more blue light than any other color. Blue light has a short wavelength, meaning it is high energy and can pass through the eye to the retina.
Lab studies of mice show that prolonged exposure to high-intensity blue light damages retinal cells – of mice.
But epidemiological studies on humans tell us something different.
Phillip Yuhas, assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, conducts vision research. He says that when it comes to protecting your vision and keeping your eyes healthy, blue light isn’t the problem.
One way to look at blue light and potential retinal damage is to consider the sun. Sunlight is mostly blue light and it’s nearly 100,000 times brighter than your computer screen.
Yet scientific studies have not found a connection between sunlight exposure and age-related macular degeneration. In other words, if it’s okay to be outside on a sunny afternoon, it’s also okay to be in front of your screen.
Human eyes are different from rodent eyes. We have protective elements to our eyes that mice don’t have, which might be one more reason why mice tend to stay in dark places (predators being another).
If you are in the sun, wear sunglasses, since they can slow down the development of cataracts.
If you’re spending long periods of time in front of your computer, realize that you’re probably only blinking half as often as you normally do, which is drying out your eyes, causing inflammation.
To combat this, follow the 20-20-20 rule. The American Optometric Association says to take a 20 second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away. (Looking out a window works great for this.) This allows your eyes to blink and relax. You can even get apps to remind you to follow this rule.
Use lubricating drops before and during extended computer use. But avoid the “get the red out” drops, since they contain drugs that cause long-term redness and preservatives that damage the outer layers of the eye.
Don’t bother getting blue blocking products – they’re not needed. When it comes to sleep, all of the colors affect your eyes, not just blue.
When you look at a brightly lit screen, the entire color spectrum resets your brain’s master clock for daytime-level alertness. That’s why you want to ideally turn off your devices an hour or two before bed.
Yuhas says to not believe the hype about blue light, and don’t waste your money on blue blocking products you don’t need. Instead, keep screens out of your bedroom, dim them before bedtime, blink often and keep your eyes lubricated.
This way you’ll save your eyesight for the important stuff, like creating your next blockbuster product, lining up your affiliate teams and watching the sales flooding into your account.