BLUE LIGHT… Why is it bad for us?
VISIBLE BLUE LIGHT is the most important, yet harmful factor for our vision. On one hand, without visible light (which contains blue light) we could not see. Yet on the other hand, light is energy and has the potential to be harmful. We can define visible light by color. If you look at a rainbow, you can identify distinct colors in sunlight – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet or ROY G BIV). Of these colors, the ROY G portion represents the low energy light and the BIV portion represents high energy visible light.
Light is defined as a wave of energy. The way we define the type and color of light mathematically is by wavelength.
When the waves come at a gentle interval, it is like sitting on a beach with a calm breeze- very healthy. The wavelengths for this gentle light are defined as longer than 500 nanometers (500-800 nm).
If the waves are very tall and frequent (like during a hurricane), then these waves are very damaging to the eye. This high energy light is shorter than 500 nanometers (380-500 nm).
Low energy light represents the gentle waves. High energy light represents the damaging waves that cause beach erosion. This is why we need to protect against this high energy light (Blue/Indigo/Violet/Ultraviolet), because this is what will erode your vision.
This chronic erosion in medical terms leads to a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD represents the leading cause of irreversible vision loss of the elderly in the developed world. The worldwide incidence is reaching 30 million and is expected to increase to 50 million in a few decades as the population ages. This number is more than the combined number of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and all cancers.
In the past, the only significant source of blue/violet light was from the sun. Studies have shown that exposure to sunlight by working outdoors between the ages of 20 to 60 for more than 2 hours a day increases the risk of developing sight threatening macular degeneration by 500%. If one spent more than 8 hours a day working outdoors the risk would increase to over 600% .
In recent years, with the advent of high definition computer and smart device screens as well as compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs, our eyes are experiencing increased exposure to many powerful indoor sources of blue light. We know in the short term the blue light from computer screens results in digital eye strain syndrome. While we are still researching the exact long term effects of computer and smart device use on the millennial and baby boom generation, we do know that it will be bad.
We suggest that you build a sea wall against these large waves by wearing melanin ocular lens pigment lenses (TrueBlue Lenses) and consuming mezozeaxanthin/lutein/zeaxanthin (Macuhealth). While you may not have heard of them, these are the state of the art way of protecting the eyes from these large waves that are battering your vision on a daily basis. Everyone must protect their eyes from these damaging waves, and the earlier one starts in life the better chance that your vision will last for the rest of your life. To obtain or learn more about these technologies please go to The Macula Store.
If you currently are suffering from macular degeneration, be aware that it is usually hereditary and that your children and grandchildren have an increased likelihood of developing macular degeneration, so please help them protect their eyes.
In following posts, we will share with you the advances in the treatment of eye conditions and the science of why these technologies are the best to protect your vision. For now, we implore you to start protecting the vision of yourself, your family, children, grandchildren, and friends today, and to forward this newsletter so that they can be educated on how to protect their vision.
Michael Tolentino, M.D.
Tolentino Eye Research Foundation
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Central Florida
Director of Research, Center of Retina and Macular Disease
Felipe I. Tolentino, M.D.
Tolentino Eye Research Foundation
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School (Retired)
Co-Founder, Asian Eye Institute