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Protect your eyes from blue light? Not necessarily, doctor says

Blue light is everywhere, not just on electronic devices, expert says

Many of us spend hours a day on our computers and smartphones, but it may be time to pay more attention to just how much screen time we are exposed to.
Many of us spend hours a day on our computers and smartphones, but it may be time to pay more attention to just how much screen time we are exposed to.

If you’ve been shopping for a new pair of glasses recently, you may have noticed a recent trend -- blue-light blocking glasses. 

These glasses are designed to block blue light from electronic devices and screens, but is blue light actually harmful to our eyes?

According to Dr. Allison Babiuch, of Cleveland Clinic, blue light is everywhere, not just on our devices.

She said the blue color is actually the product of a wavelength and how our eyes perceive it.

Like any other color light, blue light is absorbed into the eye, but there is no research to show that this is actually harmful to our eyes.

“If you think about it, blue light is everywhere: the sky is blue, a lot of things are blue in the world, so, yes, screens happen to be blue, and people have come up with this concern about blue light, but when you think about it, there’s blue everywhere around you,” she said. 

Babiuch said too much light exposure, especially sunlight, can cause problems such as melanoma and cataracts.

But blocking UV radiation from the sun is different from blocking blue light and people should use sunglasses to block UV light.

Babiuch said many parents are concerned about their kids looking at screens for hours, and whether the light exposure may be harmful to their eyes.

There are currently no scientific studies to suggest screen time can impact a child’s vision, but she said moderation is best.

When it comes to blue light glasses, Babiuch said experts don’t know enough about them yet to recommend purchasing them.

“We’re not recommending getting a screen or a certain kind of glasses to protect your eyes from blue light. It may not be doing you any good,” she said. “Likewise, we also don’t know if by blocking blue light from the eyes, whether that could potentially create a different kind of problem.” 

Babiuch said there is research showing too much blue light before bedtime can interfere with sleep for both children and adults, so there is a benefit to limiting screen use before bedtime.