Hello, Optical Family it's time to converse about our passion -- which is giving our patients/clients the BEST optical service ever! Let's talk about blue light and the effects of blue light to our eyes. With the steady growth in consumer use of digital devices which has ubiquitously invaded our lifestyle, the need for protection is in high demand. A 2014 Vision Council survey suggested that consumer awareness and usage of blue light lenses are little. Seventy-three percent of eyeglasses wearers said they are unaware of such lenses, and just 5 percent indicated current usage. 83 percent stated that they would be willing to try such lenses. It is clear that we need to educate our patients/clients about the potential long-term risks associated with overexposure to blue light and about the options available to reduce exposure. So who are the candidates do we need to educate?
Well, Clients/Patients who use digital devices nine or more hours a day, i.e., cell phones, digital tablets, computers, and other handheld digital devices.
Patients/clients with a family history of macular degeneration. So our job is to educate them about reducing exposure to blue light is a wise preventative measure.
Patients/Clients who have frequent symptoms of eye strain. Blue light, especially overexposure of it can cause discomfort. They need to know and understand that blocking blue light can mitigate its symptoms.
Patient/Clients who have recently had cataract surgery. You should educate the patient/client that the removal of the natural lens allows more blue light to reach the retina, which in return increases the risk of damage.
Blue light overexposure matters because of its potential to damage the eyes. Again we get blue light naturally via the solar system. It wakes us up, adjusts our mood patterns, and boosts our alertness. According to Gary Heiting, OD, a senior editor of AllAboutVision.com writes, "Blue light is also important in regulating circadian rhythm — the body's natural wakefulness and sleep cycle. Exposure to blue light during daytime hours helps maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. But too much blue light late at night (reading a novel on a tablet computer or e-reader at bedtime, for example) can disrupt this cycle, potentially causing sleepless nights and daytime fatigue."
With that said, every patient/client should be asked how many hours a day they spend using a laptop or desktop computer, digital tablet, or yes -- a smartphone. Again any patient/client who uses any of the above devices for nine or more hours a day will benefit the most from blocking blue light. When we say Blue Light Matter, we're broadening the conversation around the damaging effects to the eyes of overexposure to blue light which includes all of the ways to prevent or alleviate via blue light filter lenses. Let's build this very important movement #BlueLightProtectionMatter.
David Butler, ABOC, CPO, LDO