Blocking Blue Light with Coated Glasses

14/11/2016   /   Categories :  News

When used responsibly, technology is generally beneficial. However, there is an unfortunate consequence of the digital age that has not been addressed properly: we humans are now exposed to blue light all day long, and it has several negative effects on comfort and health.

Given that blue light is normally mixed with other wavelengths, its presence is not always evident. However, it is emitted in large amounts by digital screens of all types, as well as by LED and fluorescent lamps. The technical term for blue light is High Energy Visible light (HEV), and it includes wavelengths between 380 and 500 nanometers – just below ultraviolet radiation in terms of energy transmission.

What Are the Consequences of Blue Light?

Humanity has been exposed to a natural source of blue light for its entire existence – the sun. However, exposure to artificial blue light during nighttime only occurred until modern times, specifically with digital screens and energy-efficient lighting. On average, 60% of people spend more than 6 hours per day in front of a computer screen.

The sleep cycle of humans is regulated by a circadian rhythm, which strongly depends on exposure to blue light from the sun. However, artificial sources of HEV can throw the cycle off balance, and exposure to them during nighttime has been linked to sleep disorders. Some medical organizations have even suggested a link between blue light exposure and health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. In the case of digital screens, even daytime exposure can have negative effects such as eyestrain, back problems and headaches.

The case of lighting is very tricky, given that blue light is mixed with other wavelengths and often impossible to see directly. Even LED lamps advertised as having a “warm white” color may emit a significant amount of blue light, especially if their color rendering index is poor.

Eyeglass Coatings to Block Blue Light

Eyeglass manufacturers are now offering digital block coatings, which have the specific goal of mitigating the blue light emitted by computer screens and other digital devices. For example, GlassesUSA has a coating that reflects 10% of all blue light emitted. These coatings can be complemented with an anti-glare coating to maximize comfort if you work in front of a screen daily.

To complement the use of blue light blocking lenses, there are now applications for digital devices with the goal of minimizing the amount of HEV light emitted. Some are downloadable from third parties, while others are integrated as part of the operating system by manufacturers who are aware of blue light and its consequences.  Apple, for example, has created a night shift mode for its devices.

Blue light does have its benefits, however: it enhances alertness and concentration, and can also improve mood. The issue is that alertness is detrimental for sleep, so blue light must be minimized in residential applications, as well as in any environment where a relaxing atmosphere is desired.

The best way to control blue light in hiring the services of a professional lighting designer – you can visit LightPro to get in touch with lighting industry talent from around the world.

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