The LED revolution has been going strong for some time now and has found its way into every facet of our lives. LED technology has given us energy efficiency and is becoming a primary source of light that is used in a plethora of applications. While we can talk to no end on the usefulness of LEDs, there are some precautions that you should be aware of.
LED light consists of individual red, green and blue wavelength components that make up the total amount of light the LED emits. Of the three components, blue wavelength light can cause serious damage to your eyes if precautionary measures are not taken. This light is everywhere and in many devices that you use on a daily basis, and on a nightly basis too!
From street lamps to bedside lamps, from smartphone screens to TVs, LEDs are becoming more popular to use than ever before. However, the blue light that these devices emanate can disrupt and shift your circadian rhythm due to melatonin suppression. Melatonin is a hormone that is released by a small gland in your brain, the pineal gland, just a couple of hours before your normal bedtime. Melatonin makes you less aware and helps induce sleepiness. The unfortunate side effect of blue light exposure is the suppression of melatonin.
Whether from your TV, bedside lamp or smartphone, once enough blue light enters your eyes the pineal gland can stop producing melatonin. This will disrupt and shift your circadian rhythm and will reduce the quality of your sleep. Drowsiness ensues and contributes to your reliance on caffeinated beverages to start the day. By avoiding blue light during the evening hours you can get back to your natural sleep pattern and increase the quality of your sleep.
Blue light can be divided into two categories based on their wavelengths: blue-violet light that is in the 415nm - 455nm range and blue-turquoise light that is in the 465nm - 495nm range. Not all blue light is bad and between these two the real issue lies with blue-violet light because of its similar nature to UV light. Studies have shown that continued exposure to blue-violet light can cause damage to special cells in your eyes called retinal cells. This, in turn, can lead to retinal cell death that can develop into AMD, which is age-related macular degeneration.
In contrast, blue-turquoise light is actually beneficial. This range of blue light helps you with your visual sharpness, contrast, and color vision. Blue-turquoise light plays an essential role in maintaining your general health by helping you regulate memory, mood, and hormonal balance. This range of light is also beneficial to your circadian rhythm.
So, what can you do? Are all LEDs bad? Should you avoid them entirely? Not at all. Being the creative beings that we are, LED technology will advance and the problematic nature of blue wavelength light will be more understood. From this understanding new solutions will emerge. As things currently stand there are a number of precautions you can make to help reduce the amount of blue light you expose yourself to.
For your own good, please use night mode on your smartphone or tablet device in the evenings before bed time. This is an easy solution that you should be using. Depending on what devices you use you can find useful instructions by following the links below:
- iOS users https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207570
- Windows 10 users https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4027563/windows-10-set-your-display-for-night-time
- Android users https://www.androidauthority.com/night-mode-on-android-886864/
- Chrome OS users https://chromeunboxed.com/chromebook-how-to-enabling-night-mode/
In conclusion you need to be aware of the consequences of long term exposure to blue-violet light. Your eyes and eyesight are precious and need looking after. Knowledge and understanding is the first step and I hope this article has served you that purpose. From here it is up to you to apply this knowledge, because knowledge without action is just another book collecting dust on the shelf.