Featured photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels
Well, it’s kind of hard to deal with this sort of news as a publisher in the digital era. But anyone who has ever been a kid would know that it’s much better to carry a long face and get the correction than to continue on a road that can only lead to destruction.
In the last decade, there has been lots of contradictory research published on the effect of blue light.
The blue light is visible light with high energy. Blue light can be found in LED lightings, fluorescents electronic screens such as smartphones, personal computers, and televisions.
What’s the problem?
Some researchers say blue light can cause eye strain and disrupt the circadian rhythm. Others believe that light from electronic devices, just like any other form of visible light is completely harmless.
According to an article on Wikipedia, in the UK, it is illegal for a health practitioner to indicate that blue light affects sleep. These inconsistencies have put consumers in a state of confusion for a long time.
Research Shows That Blue Light Accelerates Aging
However, the latest research published in Aging and Mechanism of Disease indicates that exposure to blue light poses a significant threat to your longevity.
Yes, this means you are more likely to get older sooner as a result of prolonged exposure to blue light.
Outrageous! Maybe, but the experiment was carried out at Oregon State University by Jaga Gielbultowicz and her team of researchers. In the end, the researchers concluded that prolonged exposure to blue light may accelerate aging and cause damage to brain neurons and retinal cells.
The OSU researchers carried out a blue light experiment on a common fruit fly that possesses similar cellular and developmental mechanisms as humans – The Drosophila Melanogaster. (Alright, that’s one reason why they stopped learning Biology – those long boring names.)
In the experiment which lasted several days, the fruit flies were divided into groups. The first group of flies was exposed to 12 hours of blue light and 12 hours of darkness daily.
The other group was exposed to a form of visible light that is free of blue light or subjected to complete darkness during the experiment.
The average lifespan of a fruit fly in optimal temperature is about 50 days from egg to death.
In the end, it was observed that flies exposed to blue light damaged their retinal cells, brain neurons and also developed locomotive difficulties.
Even mutant flies, those without eyes, exhibited a similar response on exposure to blue light.
Professor Gielbultowicz noted that the fruit flies, if given a choice, will try to escape blue light, probably another reason to believe blue light poses a threat to its longevity.
These findings have made OSU researchers believe that increased exposure to LED lightings and electronic screens can cause damage to brain neurons and retinal cells in humans.
But if blue light can be found in natural light, why should the one coming from electronic devices and lighting fixtures be a problem? I’ll tell you why.
So many researchers have argued that the problem is with the increased exposure. The sun rises and sets. But the devices we use are located just a few centimeters from us and some of us are exposed to them for a period of at least 15 hours daily.
Even when simply being exposed to blue light may not be a problem, increased exposure will cause problems, as seen in the experiment carried out at the OSU.
Protect Yourself from Blue Light
Professor Gielbultowicz suggests two simple ways of protecting yourself from everyday exposure to blue light.
Control the amount of light your device emits
Some devices provide the option to reduce the amount of light produced. She advised users to take advantage of their device settings to reduce the amount of light on the display.
Wear Eyeglasses with amber lenses
These are glasses that filter out blue light. You can get one for yourself. This will filter out blue light coming from the screen and help protect your retina.
As the old saying goes “prevention is better than cure.” You won’t want to be the first to be struck by the blue light epidemic. So just to be on the safe side there are measures you can take to protect yourself from the harmful effects of Blue light.
Truth be told, so many jobs today involve the use of electronic devices throughout the day. Beyond that, nearly everything we look at in the evening will be electronic screens or LED lights.
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Start a Personal Experiment
In situations like this, it is never out of place to start a personal experiment to see how the usage of electronic devices affect us.
A lot of people in developing countries report having a headache a few days after purchasing a laptop or smartphone. And most of them believe that it is due to increased exposure to the electronic screen.
Make a personal observation. Do you observe any changes in your body if you suddenly increase screen time, especially when it’s a high-quality TV screen or smartphone screen?
As mentioned above, regulate your screen time and take measures as outlined to protect yourself.