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  • Writer's picturePatricia Ranieri

How bad is blue light for your eyes? What you need to know . . .

A person getting agitated by the Blue light on her device.

Can blue light impact the health of my eyes and body? What’s in a color?

Your eyes (particularly your retina) and your skin are sensory delicate structures that receive much information from outside and in effect are gathering data about many things that run our biology. From reporting the time of day, season of the year, day versus night, when to release hormones and when to wake up to name a few.

For thousands of years the human body’s natural communication is via the light that comes from our massive star, the Sun. Walk outside and spray water into the sky on a sunny day and you are going to see a rainbow of colours. Anywhere on the planet that spectrum of colour frequencies is available, even on cloudy or rainy days.

Colour spectrums in a rainbow.

We just “see” it as daylight, but we sense all of the frequencies all the time with our eyes and our skin. What is also important is that this light continually changes throughout the day cycle, ask any photographer who is working to get the best light for a wedding party or a perfect landscape shot.

The BLUE light we talk about here is one frequency or colour plucked out of that rainbow and utilised in all our devices (phones, laptops, computers, indoor lighting, streetlights, car headlights, signage etc). It is also fixed or constant. In nature you never have isolated colours especially with no back up red colour. More on this later.

Diagrams. of spectrums of colour in the light at different times of the day.
Spectrums of colour in the light at different times of the day.

What does the Blue light communicate to our eyes?

Since the highest level of blue light is naturally available in the middle of the day we are getting signals that its time to eat and be wide awake. Have you had sugar cravings while watching TV at night and then find it hard to sleep? Your body is now digesting food when it should be winding down to rest.

Have you tried to remove an iPad from a child? That protest is in part from the excitatory stimulation of the blue light that you have taken away. It is quite addictive.

Have you had unmotivated teens who seem to want to sloth all day on their phones? Blue light screens reduce dopamine, the hormone that creates sharp thinking and motivation. That low dopamine state also sets up the herd mentality not allowing for best decision making or choices. This is ideal in a social media space where everyone just “follows” blindly.

A child on a device emitting blue light.
A child on a device emitting blue light.

How does unnatural Blue light exposure effect my eyes?

It elongates the eyeball to cause myopia (shortsightedness). In clinic nowadays we see myopia continuing well beyond the age of 30, with more computer work and long hours in front of screens part of our current working lives.

This was not the case 20 years ago when eye prescriptions would stabilise (for myopia specifically) around a person's late 20s. Also, younger children are presenting with adult size eyes at under age 10. This can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and general ageing in adulthood. The cell engines known as mitochondria are damaged in the retinal pathways.

When you want to get laser surgery to correct your eye sight it is usually for myopia (elongation of the eyeball.) Surgeons won't perform this surgery until the eye has stabilised (the eyeball has stopped elongating). In today's climate this 'stabilisation point' has become harder to establish making it difficult to treat. If the eye hasn't stabilised it will likely continue to elongate after the surgery has taken place.

A family enjoying a sunrise and getting infrared light exposure.
Natural infrared light occurs in the morning for few hours after sunrise.

How do we mitigate the effects of Blue light?

Wake up with the sun and load up on infrared rays that are available for the first 2 hours of the day, anywhere on the planet, every day, rain hail or shine. Do not wear sunglasses at this time, there is NO ultraviolet light in this period (we suggest the dminder app to guide you on this pre UV period (infrared) as it changes through the year with time of the sunrise. Eg if the sun rises at 5.30am you will have approximately 2 hours of infared time. In winter the sun might rise at 7am and so you would have until 9am for the best infrared rays.

Screenshot of the the dminder app showing when the best time is for your body to produce vitamin d from the suns rays.
The dminder app tells you when the body can produce vitamin d from the suns rays.

These well documented and studied rays are healing and do some great things such as build collagen in the skin and stimulate the oil glands in the eyes to moisten them. (It is for this reason that people also utilise red light therapy.)

The light that comes in after this is in the Ultraviolet (UV) part of the spectrum which when greater than UV Index of 3 will build your Vitamin D, which is actually an immune system Hormone. This is why we do not generally generate Vitamin D in Winter as the UV index rarely gets over 4 in the middle of the day at it’s peak. We need to build stores of it in the warmer months.

Try and get outside at lunch time and reset your body clock particularly if you spend your day inside under artificial light which is a constant frequency of blue with no red to offset it.

You might even have big glass windows and think you are getting that sunshine rainbow however the red is still being blocked out. If you wear prescription glasses, also remove them to get the unfiltered light. You can be in the shade as long as you are in natural light .

Obviously you will need light to see once the sun sets. To avoid artificial blue light in the evenings use Full Spectrum globes in your home. This means they use the full rainbow spectrum of colours in the light globes and not isolated blue light. For many companies 'warm' and 'cool' tones are just part of their marketing. There are many available options such as Boncharge's range of products and Block Blue Light, which is an Australian based company.

Note: we do not receive any payment for these brand mentions – these are just a few that we like.

This lighting will mimic walking into the cave at sundown and watching a campfire light (red) to signal to your brain that it’s leading into your sleep period.

An example of the different modes of a full spectrum lamp.

Blue blocking glasses

Wear 100% Blue blocking glasses or get a pair of prescription ones made to wear at night to watch TV or any device or be in your home with normal lights on. These have a bright orange tint to them. This also mimics being “in the cave”. Don’t fall for light yellow tints or clear coatings that do not block the blue/green frequencies adequately and claim to reduce eyestrain. We recommend instead that you Blue block your device screens.

Blue blocking your Devices - expert recommendations

For Desktop Computers and Tablets

For PC’s Mac laptop tablets and ipads use (free trial then small one-off fee for lifetime use).

There are many apps but this is the one that we recommend because it has been properly designed by experts. Don’t use gimmicky versions as they will not work how they should.

For Blue blocking on Android phones

Android phones use the Twighlight app (free).

For Blue blocking on iPhones

For iPhone users see these steps from Simple Dad:

We have also recently come across a computer monitor clip lamp by which has a natural light spectrum – we are looking into the best brands for this so stay tuned.

Patrizia Ranieri Optometrist pricipal Complete Optometry Central Coast
Patrizia Ranieri Optometrist

About the Author

Patrizia Ranieri known to her clients as Trish, is the principal Optometrist at Complete Optometry Central Coast NSW.

She has a love of eye health and supporting her clients health generally. Learn More about her services here.

247 views2 comments


Donald McDowall
Donald McDowall
Jun 07

Excellent tip and easy to follow. Thank you Trish


Sarah Flenley
Sarah Flenley
Jun 06

Thank you for this informative article. I downloaded Iris with the free trial and really like it.

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