We’re surrounded by digital devices in our work and home lives and cannot get by without them. Everything from PCs and laptops to tablets, smartphones and more have become critical to the way we work and play, but using them continually can come with a big health cost.
It’s probably true to say that people were not meant to sit and stare at screens for long periods of time. Our bodies and all our various muscle groups mean we’re meant to be up and active for most of the day. But the modern work environment doesn’t usually allow for that and many people then spend hours slumped on the sofa — and staring at yet more digital screens. All this has a health impact that can reduce your quality of life and, sitting for long periods aside, the light from all these devices can cause havoc.
Because we’re so addicted to our digital devices — and especially our smartphones, which are always in our hands or pocket — we’re suffering more health issues than ever before. Many of us are reading or scrolling on our phones late into the night, for instance, and then we wonder why we can’t get to sleep and stay asleep. The culprit, as we now know, is blue light emitted from our phones, tablets and other digital devices.
Blue Light Blues
We now know that blue light — which has a longer wavelength and more energy than other types of light — coming from devices may harm areas at the back of the eye. Over time, this can cause macular degeneration and if you don’t wear reading glasses, you might soon have to. If you already suffer from poor eyesight, blue light could make your condition worse, the American Macular Degeneration Foundation says.
“Recent studies suggest that the blue end of the light spectrum may also contribute to retinal damage and possibly lead to (age-related macular degeneration) AMD,” it cautions. “The retina can be harmed by high-energy visible radiation of blue/violet light that penetrates the macular pigment found in the eye. According to a study by The Schepens Eye Institute, a low density of macular pigment may represent a risk factor for AMD by permitting greater blue light damage.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, blue light from our beloved digital devices has also been found to interfere with melatonin — the so-called “sleep hormone”. It means staring at screens at night leads to lower levels of melatonin being produced by the body, because nature intended the process to begin when there’s not much light around. So, at a time when we should be starting to feel drowsy and getting ready for bed, instead we’re wide awake. Sleep deprivation, as many of us know, not only makes us feel bad but can give rise to a number of conditions.
Doing a Digital Detox
While we need our digital devices to work and play, it’s possible to go without them, at least for a while, and give your eyes and the rest of your body a rest. Going on holiday at this time of the year is a great way to embark on such a refreshing undertaking. You’ll probably need to take your smartphone along with you on a beach or other kind of getaway — as it may have mobile boarding passes on it for flights — but you can leave it in your suitcase until you’re ready to return.
For those days when you’re not on holiday or you can’t easily forget about your devices — which, sadly, is the majority of our time — it’s important to shield yourself from the light coming from computers and phones. The best way to do this is by getting a quality blue light screen protector that will filter out the harmful blue light and keep your eyes and overall general health in good shape.
A good blue light screen protector may seem like a small measure to protect yourself from harm, but it will allow you to light up your life and avoid those dark digital days.