What is blue light and UV light and how can it affect my eyes?

Blue light also known as High Energy Visible blue light (HEV) is everywhere, its emitted by the sun as well as electronic devices and florescent/incandescent light bulbs. Ultra Violet light (UV light) also comes from the sun as well as artificail sources such as tanning booths, black lights, halogen lights, high-intensity discharge lamps, fluorescent and incandescent sources.

There is some evidence to suggest that a lifetime's exposure to high levels of blue and UV light, such blue light from LEDs and the screens of electrical devices, may mean an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in later life. This is life-long exposure which is thought to add up over the years. There is currently no evidence that blue light can worsen AMD in the short term.

Studies on the harmful effects of blue light have not been conducted on humans, however studies on animals have shown that prolonged intense exposure to blue light does cause some retinal changes. It is not currently known exactly how these results translate in terms of risk to humans.

Artificial lighting found in the home and office gives out much lower levels of UV and blue light than that from natural daylight. We recommend that everyone looks after their eye health by wearing good quality sunglasses in sunny conditions whether or not they have an eye problem. Wearing sunglasses, glasses or contact lenses with built-in UV filter will protect your eyes. You should only buy sunglasses that have a CE mark or carry the British Standard BSEN 1836:1997.

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