What is Blue Light?
Simply put, blue light is just a color that can be seen by us because it is part of our visible light spectrum. Blue light is something that is all around us all of the time and it is both beneficial and problematic for us for a few different reasons.
Today we are going to be looking at the science behind blue light, where blue light can be found and the problems that it can cause.
One of the most important things to remember about light is that it can be broken down into electromagnetic particles that all travel in waves. The waves themselves have different wavelengths that can be either short or long, and they are all capable of emitting different amounts of energy.
Generally speaking, wavelengths that are shorter have a higher amount of energy and wavelengths that are longer have less energy.
When we look at different wavelengths and try to turn them into diagrams, they are usually all represented by different colors. On a scale you would find colors like red and orange at the right hand side and colors like blue and violet at the left hand side. The left-hand side also ventures into the non-visible color spectrum, which includes wavelengths that our own eyes cannot see at all.
This diagram is considered by most to be our electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum includes a number of different categories, ranging from x-rays, gamma rays and UV rays to visible light, infrared waves and radio waves.
So, where does blue light come into this? When we break all of the colors down in the spectrum we can see violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red, in that order. Blue is close to the non-visible side of the scale and it has an incredibly short wavelength.
As you already know, a short wavelength means that blue light emits a lot of energy. Over the past few decades, a lot of different studies have proven that blue light does long-term damage to our eyes and can affect our health in a number of other ways.
Where is Blue Light?
Blue light is not a supernatural foe that we should avoid at all costs. It is something that surrounds us on a daily basis. Have you ever wondered why the sky looks blue? It looks blue because of the blue light wavelengths hitting molecules of air in our atmosphere, causing blue light to scatter across them. The sun and our own atmosphere cause this to happen and create skies that we associate with beautiful, sunny days.
The fact that this natural form of blue light exists is actually really beneficial for us as humans. It has led to us using blue light to regulate our own circadian rhythm, or our natural cycles of both being asleep and being awake. Blue light is even known to make us feel more awake. It can also make us happier and speed up our own reaction times.
How could this natural blue light possibly be a bad thing? In reality, the natural blue light that we are exposed to is not the problem. The unnatural blue light that we are exposed to is.
Unnatural blue light comes from a variety of different sources, including digital screens like televisions, computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets. It is also emitted by both florescent and LED lights.
What is the Problem with Blue Light?
The problem with blue light can be seen when we look at it as short wavelengths with incredibly high amount of energy behind them.
The high energy actually makes them flicker a lot more than other wavelengths on the electromagnetic scale. This flickering creates a type of wave that affects both the sharpness and clarity of what you are looking at if you are looking at a screen that emits blue light.
Unfortunately, this is something that can cause an array of problems including eyestrain, headaches, migraines and physical fatigue. It can also cause mental fatigue and affect your mental wellbeing. As we are sure you can imagine, this is something that could affect your actual ability to work and your overall productivity if you are at work.
Our eyes are not able to filter blue light out on their own, nor will they evolve to do this over thousands of years. We rely on blue light to keep our circadian rhythm in time and to keep our bodies healthy, but prolonged exposure to blue light can also damage the retinas in our eyes and cause premature degeneration of the eyes themselves.
Luckily, with every problem that appears a solution shortly follows. The main problem with blue light and our eyesight is that fact that we constantly expose our eyes to electronic screens.
By using a filter, you can stop your devices from emitting as much blue light as they usually do, and by wearing blue light filter glasses you can make sure that your eyes are protected in more ways than one. If you are a heavy computer user, consider getting a low blue light monitor for your home or work to help decrease eye strain.