Is it just me or do you check your phone at every stoplight? Is picking up your phone the first thing you do when you open your eyes in the morning? Are you guilty of getting into social media rabbit holes where it’s hard to dig yourself out?
At every point in our day, we’re drawn to our electronics, worried about FOMO. For those of you living under a rock, that means Fear Of Missing Out. I guess if you live under a rock though, you don’t really care about missing out.
When we think about all that we rely on from our devices, without them, we tend to feel lost and out of touch. Did I miss the latest Tik Tok video? Did my boss email me back yet about my raise? Is the schedule out for my exercise class? How many episodes of my favorite Netflix show can I binge-watch in one day?
Every aspect of our lives has been digitized, from reading the news and books to keeping a calendar and visiting with friends and relatives. COVID certainly hasn’t helped and has caused many of us to shift our life even more from in-person to online.
We tell our youth to take a break, but the truth is we’re just as guilty, and we all know it. Families are rubbing their eyes, suffering from headaches, experiencing mood swings, and yawning in unison. As a way to keep our addiction going, while not suffering the consequences, let’s go out and buy some blue light glasses. Can we say enabler?
What’s a Blue Light?
Let’s get a bit technical for a minute. The only source of blue light used to be the sun and we all heard when we were younger never to stare at the sun. When electronics came into our lives along with the internet, artificial blue light was born. I think we forgot about the no staring rule because all we do is scare at our screens.
Light with blue wavelengths can be beneficial during daylight hours as they boost attention, reaction times, and mood. Unfortunately, at nighttime, a boost of energy and focus is not needed or wanted. While blue light isn’t going to set your retinas on fire, it will mess with your internal clock, known as your circadian rhythm. Exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms.
You may notice that getting settled and falling asleep isn’t that easy for you these days after you finally put your phone down on your nightstand. Did those funny videos of dogs dancing and the hours of research to self diagnose the lump on your neck add any value to your life? Probably not. Would blue light glasses help in this instance? They would block the blue light, so in this case, yes. Or, you could put down your phone at a normal hour and develop a healthy sleeping routine. BOOM.
Here are some further thoughts and suggestions. Read a book. Have a thought. Grab some warm milk. Have a conversation with your spouse. Go to sleep. Be a good role model for the younger generations who are watching us.
Trust the Evidence…or Lack Of
If you’ve seen the claims that blue light glasses will protect your retina, there’s very little evidence, if any, that this is true. If you’re claiming it helps your tired, dry eyes, then fabulous. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that it’s not necessary to spend money on special eyewear for computer use. They found that blue light from electronics doesn’t lead to eye disease due to the small amount emitted. You may be wondering why our eyes feel strained after staring at our screens all day. It actually has nothing to do with blue light. A cool fact AAO tells us is the reason we get digital eye strain is that we blink less when we stare at our devices. Instead of the normal 15 times per minute, that number gets cut in half. Again, BOOM.
Despite the research, or rather lack of, the global market for blue light eyewear will increase to $27 million by 2024, up from $18 million in 2019.
Many established eye-wear companies like Warby Parker are selling blue light glasses, but are very careful with their claims. “Blue-light-filtering lenses may help.” Felix Grey’s website says, “By filtering Blue Light and eliminating glare, our glasses may help combat Digital Eye Strain.” They have a very large portion of their site dedicated to related studies and statistics, including sleep solutions. While some may benefit from these claims, the truth is we simply need to learn to shut it down.
Whether we’re talking about kids or adults, providing ways to extend screen usage without damage is just contributing to the problem. While many of us have to use technology throughout the day for work and school, we all use our electronics as a way to combat boredom or procrastinate. Solutions to the symptoms of our addiction should be replaced with solutions for the problem.
I’m guilty, you’re guilty, we’re all guilty of relying on technology for everything and anything. When’s the last time you went to the bathroom without bringing your phone with you? It’s as if we can no longer rely on our thoughts to pass time. From the research I’ve done for this article, it’s obvious that while blue-light glasses may provide relief for some, there’s no scientific evidence behind it.
Companies are capitalizing on our weaknesses as well as our dependence on the world that technology has created for us. We need to take responsibility for self-regulating our screen use, which is definitely easier said than done. One day at a time. That is after we finish our social media binge of learning what our friend from fifth grade named her dog and the latest COVID numbers. I’m exhausted just thinking about all the information that is literally at our fingertips. Aren’t you?
Hope You Enjoyed the Read!