In the day and age of the digital era today, many of us spend the majority of our waking hours staring at a digital screen be it the computer at work, our laptops at home, playing games, staring at our phones, going on social media, watching tv, carrying out activities on the iPad etc. Research propose that 60% of people spend more than 8 hours a day in front of a digital device.
Light consists of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves. These waves produce energy and varies in strength and length. The shorter the wavelength; the higher the energy. Blue light in particular has garnered quite a fair bit of publicity in the recent years thanks to the rise in technology. Blue light can actually be found everywhere. In a natural environment like the outdoors, light from the sun travels through the atmosphere and when highly energized blue wavelengths of light collide with air molecules causing it to disperse, it is why the sky looks blue. Blue light aids in increasing attentiveness, reaction times, uplift moods, and well-being. However too much exposure to artificial sources of blue light (which is produced from digital devices) can then create the opposite effect. This in turn can cause insomnia / disrupted sleeping patterns, hyper-sensitivity / activity, headaches, eye strain, muscle aches, physical and mental fatigue which in turn correlates with stress and a negative impact on well-being.
We can decrease blue light exposure via various trajectories. Certain optical stores now provide patrons with blue lenses (with / without prescription) to decrease the glare of blue light coming from digital devices and these are helpful for individuals who are required to use the computer a lot at work; these are also helpful for children. Gunnar Computer Eyewear also produces computer / gaming eyewear for avid gamers to decrease eye strain and other negative impacts that may arise from long hours of gaming / computer / digital exposure. Apple users have a function on iPhones / iPads / iPods called the Night Shift mode that allows for its users to automatically adjust their screen to warmer colours and this also helps with migraines and headaches. There is a lot that we can do to help increase our well-being in turns of exposure to technology today.
Dr Felicia Neo
PhD (Clinical Psychology & Neuroscience)
PGDip (Clinical Psychology)
BA (Psych & Mass Communications)
Clinical Psychologist, Neuroscientist