The Harmful Effects of Blue Light
Nowadays, most of us spend time staring at a computer or smartphone longer than 6 hours a day. The time we spend staring at our screens is time we spend exposing our eyes to blue light. Many eye doctors are concerned about the effects our screen time could have on our vision and our health, and the main cause of that concern is blue light.
The effects of blue light
Digital eye strain
- eye pain
- dry eyes
- blurred vision
- watery eyes
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Exposure to blue light has been linked to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There's growing medical evidence that blue light exposure may cause permanent eye damage. This contributes to the destruction of the cells in the center of the retina and play a role in causing age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss. The risk is higher in females than males.
In addition, other risk factors contribute to age-related macular degeneration as below.
- older age
- light iris coloration
There are steps people can take to lower their risk of losing vision due to AMD. It is better to take care of your vision starting from today.
Protecting your eyes
To be on the safe side, we would be wise to limit blue light exposure.
- Reducing the brightness of the screen
- Use screen filters
- Take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest. Basically, every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds.
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat yellow and orange fruits/vegetables – They are rich in vitamin A, C, E.
- Take vitamin supplement for eye health
Top nutrients to help protect your vision
When it comes to protecting your vision, what you eat may affect what you see. Certain vitamins and minerals are important for healthy eyes.
There are over 600 types of carotenoids, all which serve a different purpose. There are two in particular that are most associated with eye health: lutein and zeaxanthin. They are the most important carotenoids to the eye because they are the only ones actually found in the retina. In the eye, lutein and zeaxanthin play an important role in protecting the eye from blue light. This is the type of harmful light emitted from screens and various other sources of artificial lighting. Blue light can severely damage the retina if the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin is low.
Lycopene is a bright red pigment, a carotenoid, which is found in red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, red carrots, and watermelon. Lycopene can help promote immune system, reduce your risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and night blindness.
Anthocyanosides are potent antioxidants, helping to prevent and reverse the cell damage produced by highly reactive oxygen molecules called free radicals. They display significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity within the body. Anthocyanosides can be found in bilberry. They have positive effects on vision in lower light environment and can help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Diets rich in flavonoid-containing foods are sometimes associated with cancer, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease prevention. Mixed berries are rich in flavonoids, vitamin C and E. Cranberries help prevent urinary tract infections. Blueberry is rich in vitamin C and E. Raspberry have antioxidant effects that play a role in inhibiting the proliferation of tumor cells. Goji berries have unique immune-enhancing properties. They have anti-inflammatory effect and can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar level.
The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision. In addition, beta-carotene is said to optimize night vision, brighten skin, and boost the immune system.
Vitamin A is required for the maintenance of normal vision. A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to visual disturbances. In the eyes, a form of vitamin A called retinal is combined with a protein called opsin to give rhodopsin, an essential light absorbing molecule needed for color vision and seeing in dim light. Vitamin A also maintains skin health by activating genes that cause immature skin cells to develop into mature epidermal cells.
Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E can help lower chances of developing atherosclerosis, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, and cancer.
Vitamin B complex
B complex vitamins help your body make energy from the food you eat, form red blood cells, and play an essential role in certain bodily functions. Vitamin B1 is a therapeutic agent for neuropathy. Vitamin B2 helps convert food into energy. Vitamin B3 helps enzymes in the body function properly by helping the body use other B vitamins. Vitamin B5 promotes digestive system and healthy skin. Vitamin B6 involves in immune function and brain development. It aids in the formation of neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 is required for the formation of red blood cells and DNA. It is important for protein metabolism.
Pine bark extract
Pine bark extract has antioxidant properties. It may reduce hyperpigmentation and improve skin barrier function. It also helps to defy the visible signs of aging.
Emblica extract showed potential therapeutic benefits against various diseases. It can help lower blood pressure, reduce itching, and promote eye health.
Grape seed extract
Grape seed extract prevents collagen from being damaged. This further allows for more elasticity in your skin, keeping it firm and perky, and preventing the dreaded sag and deepening of wrinkles. It even allows for better movement of joints and other areas of connective tissue. Grape seeds contain proanthocyanidins which might prevent the development of cancer. It is also a powerful protector of your heart and general circulation.
Taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement can help fill in the nutritional gaps in a less-than-optimal diet and may help protect you from degenerative diseases, including eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. While dietary supplements, including eye supplements, generally are safe and beneficial, you should consult a doctor before taking any supplements.
Age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts commonly cause impaired vision and blindness in older adults. But lifestyle changes, including good nutrition, could help delay or prevent certain eye problems.
Reference: Dr. Soipetch Viravaidya, an anti-aging and regenerative medicine specialist, Bangkok Anti-aging Center
For more information:
Bangkok Royal Life Anti-aging Center
6th Floor, Bangkok Plaza, Bangkok Hospital
Call 0 2308 7043 or 0 2310 3000
Hotline 0 2310 3733