Our reliance on technology is growing at a rapid pace. According to a Nielsen audience report, on average, Americans devote 10 hours and 39 minutes consuming content through a digital screen daily. All things digital have quickly became a primary asset in entertainment, communication, and task management making it a substantial part of our day-to-day life.
The problem we are facing is overexposure to Light Emitting Diode (LED) screens which emit blue light at a particularly high intensity causing eye strain. An article published by Free Radical Biology and Medicine in July of 2015 discovered that chronic exposure to LED lights leads to free radicals in the eye resulting in retinal injury.
How can we avoid overexposure to blue light when we’ve developed such a heavy reliance on digital devices?
1- Utilizing Filters
Few are aware that there are screen protectors for your smart phones, computer monitors, TV’s, and tablets that, not only preserve the screen’s condition but also serve to reduce excessive blue light emission. Additionally, glasses that filter out blue light from digital devices and many other sources, including harsh office lighting, are available.
2- Recognize The Benefits to Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) Displays
OLED is an emerging form of display currently available on certain models of phones, TV’s, tablets, and monitors. The primary benefit of an OLED displays is greatly reducing overexposure to blue light – the light emission from these panels is designed to display a healthy organic range of colors at warm levels. Next time you are on the market for a new digital device, this is a great feature to keep in mind.
3- Installing Blue Light Filter Apps
There are apps which are designed to reduce blue light on your current LED displays. The most popular of these apps is called “f.lux” which is free and available for Windows, Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac, and Linux. This app may reduce blue light intensity by as much as 94-98% and has some pretty neat features.
4- Take Frequent Breaks
Taking frequent breaks from using a display can greatly reduce visual stress by giving your eyes an opportunity to recover. The general rule of thumb is what’s known as the “20 Minute Rule” which states for every 20 minutes that you are looking at a LED display you should take a 2-minute break.
5- Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam
A way to identify and reduce visual stress is to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) people at low risk should schedule an eye exam at least once every two years, while people at risk should schedule one annually or as recommended. This is the most important step in identifying visual stress and its source before it becomes irreversible.