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Optometry’s Primary Role – Blue light

There has been a concerted attempt to make the public aware of the potential risks of over exposure to blue light. Electronic devices have tipped the scale from getting our required share of blue light on a daily basis to, just too much. Kids, like their parents, have become addicted to the use of cellular phones, iPads and the like.

As optometrists we understand how it all works. Short wave length blue light has high energy and can potentially cause macular degeneration. We also know that fluorescent and LED lights contribute to the potential over-load of blue light. What we don’t know, is what the long-term effects of living in the new world of electronic devices could be. What we must accept is that the risk factor is a reality.

It begs the question: What role is optometry playing in helping to educate and guide the public to protect themselves and their children from the potential dangers of blue light? Are we doing enough?

As optometrists, we have to be at the forefront of research, so that we can provide evidence-based advice to our patients, without causing undue alarm. It is important that we explain both the good and the potential bad effects of blue light. They should know that blue light is not all bad.

It is surprising to note how few people are aware of the fact that most modern cell phones have built-in capabilities to adjust light output from the screen. You simply go to Settings and click on Display and Brightness and then you can even set the automatic timer to activate the blue light shield.

It is one thing warning people against the potential dangers of blue light, but it is also important to advise how to protect against over exposure. There are several apps available for all the computer and iPad screens to control the blue light out-put.

Here are some options to explore:

  • Sunset Screen
  • lux
  • Iris
  • Pango Bright
  • Play store – Twilight App
  • Night Shift for Apple Mac

Then of course, we have our own bag of tricks when it comes to modern optical lens technology. There are many excellent lens products available, with very sophisticated lens coatings. Blue light blockers in plano, provide cheap protection against blue light and is an excellent consideration for young children.

Optometrists, as primary eye care providers, are in the strongest position to guide the public in how to protect against the potential perils of blue light. It is the responsibility of our profession to do so.

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