Blue to light wavelengths with a frequencyBlue to light wavelengths with a frequency

Blue Light Exposure1.What is Blue Light?In recent years, the use of energy efficient LED light bulbs has grown more popular. These light-emitting diodes give off a “white” light, however they “can feature a spike in the blue end of the spectrum” (Lougheed).2. How the eye absorbs light.Light enters the eye by passing through many layers such as the cornea and the opening of the pupil before being absorbed by the retina, or the back of the eye. The retina consists of rods and cones that convert light wavelengths into electrical signals to the brain. Wavelengths of 460-500 nm are perceived by the brain as blue (See Fig. 1).Fig. 1. “Light Spectrum.” Eye Lighting, Accessed 21 Dec. 2017. Web. 3. Health concernsExposure to light wavelengths with a frequency of 450-500 nm has shown damage to retinal cells. The rods in the eye contain a photosensitive material called rhodopsin with two intermediates called metarhodopsin I and II. These intermediates are similar to rhodopsin in the sense that they also absorb light, but at a wavelength of about 350-478 nm. These wavelengths are perceived as the greens and some lower wavelength blues. When light at higher wavelengths is absorbed by the eye it creates a byproduct of visible light irradiation. When the rate of byproduct buildup is at a higher speed than what the eye can process and when there is a “large number of photons that are absorbed” it can cause a buildup of lipofuscin. Lipofuscin is an insolvent substance that is formed by the eye due to “overly bright light” (Juergens).Aside from the damage directly to the eye, there are chemical imbalances that can be the result of blue light. According to a Harvard Health Publications newsletter, the media and publishing division of the Harvard Medical School, the wavelengths of blue light increase attention level which can be beneficial during the day, “however they can be especially disruptive at night, shifting circadian rhythms and suppressing melatonin” (Moloughney). Melatonin is a chemical released in the brain to induce sleep, so when it is suppressed it can become extremely difficult to rest. This mostly affects those who work in corporate buildings with bright LED lights and those who spend excessive amounts of time in front of computers or digital devices such as smartphones. The long term effects of exposure to blue light can be as extreme as going blind. As the retinal cells become damaged they cannot repair themselves, resulting in a decrease in vision (Juergens).4. How can technology increase risks?According to the Vision Council, an organization with the goal of educating the public on latest eyewear and eye health, estimated that 60% of adults who own digital devices use them for 5 plus hours a day. Of these 60%, three quarters have experienced digital eye strain, which is a fatigue of the eye due to overuse of devices (Moloughney).5. What can be done to avoid digital eye strain?Many eye care professionals have become more aware of blue light related concerns such as digital eye strain. This awareness has begun trickling down to the average consumer and according to product manager Ceci Snyder of Global Vision, a protective eyewear company, “the market for eye health supplements is strong due to both an aging population and the growing concern about blue light overexposure” (Moloughney). Many supplements such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin can maintain the health of the eyes and prevent loss of performance. These two supplements are “found in both the macula and lense of the human eye” and filter high-energy blue light (“Lutein and Zeaxanthin”).On top of making sure the body has the nutrients it needs to combat the effects of blue light, reducing the amount of exposure is a way to reduce the stress put on the eyes and in turn increasing ocular performance. A study done by Chronobiology International, a peer-reviewed scientific journal that includes biological and medical rhythm research, shows that protective eyewear can be worn to block out blue light to combat the effects of blue light. Not only do the glasses reduce retinal degeneration, “wearing the glasses improves the daytime sleep of night workers” (Nursing Standard). Night workers have full shifts in rooms lit most often with  LED lights. This extended period of time with no natural light source can throw off the melatonin production in their brains much more severely than one who works during the daytime. Protective eyewear will allow them to maintain a stable circadian rhythm, or body clock regulated by correct melatonin levels. These precautionary measures can be taken at anytime to improve and extend the life of your vision. Word Count: 789