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Posted on 02-24-2016

By now I am sure all of you have heard the news and controversies
surrounding blue light. I would like to start by addressing the three main
effects of blue light and the eye.

*1. Blue light and Digital Eye Strain.* According to the Vision Council’s
2016 report, over 70% of individuals complain of digital eyestrain. That
is of epidemic proportions. Blue light is the most scattering of the
wavelength and focuses in front of the retina by about -1.00D. This
defocus and looking into light causes our pupils to constantly constrict
and relax leading to micro-pupillary spasm. This contributes to digital
eyestrain. LED devices work on a flicker mechanism with a pulse width
modulation. The more one decreases the brightness, the more one increases
the flicker. Approximately 10% of population is sensitive to this and
results in migraine type headaches. Light sensitivity and headaches are
related to blue light in the 470-480nm. All of the above contribute to
digital eyestrain.

*2. Blue light and ARMD*. We know from many studies, including The Beaver
Dam Study, that blue light is implicated in AMD. The controversy revolves
around if indoor blue light is damaging, as the lux is minimal, compare to
outdoor blue light. Outdoor blue light is exponentially more damaging
compare to indoor blue light. The issue is that we don’t have the
long-term studies of overexposure of indoor blue light at 20 inches
proximity and retinal damage. There have been some rat studies done with
750 lux showing retinal oxidative damage in 12hr dark/light cycles. There
are also in vitro studies on human RPE cells with low lux LED lights that
show similar results. Also, studies have been performed on twins exposed
to blue light as neonates for jaundice. The study showed statistically
significant findings of ocular melanomas in the twin that was exposed to
indoor blue light as a neonate vs. the twin that was not treated with blue
light therapy for jaundice. We also have the study of the Acrysof blue
light IOL vs. a non-blue light filtering Acrysof IOL and the augmentation
of Macular Pigment Density (MPD). After 3 mths the MPD was measured in
these two groups, and the group with the blue light filtering IOL was found
to have statistically significant augmentation of MPD vs. the control. MPD
has been identified as the protective property of the macula in protecting
the RPE cells from oxidative damage. Based on these studies, one can
stipulate that we should at least be concerned with over exposure to indoor
blue light.


*3. Blue light and insomnia*. It has been well documented that blue light
suppresses our melatonin levels. Digital device usage in the evening has
been studied in showing melatonin suppression and insomnia. Since
melatonin is inverse to cortisol, there has been a link with insomnia and
increase in cortisol. This relationship is a contributor to many health
issues, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and mood disorders.
Insomnia and irregular sleep patterns among teenagers are on the rise
leading to lack of concentration in school.
 

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