Blue Light Series – Part 2 – The Problem, by Benjamin V. Clingan, OD
- Posted on: Feb 9 2018
In blue light exposure, the two major consequences are the reduction of melatonin and an increase in macular degeneration. Without getting too technical, we will explain these below.
Blue light inhibits the release of melatonin and that can affect your circadian rhythm. When your circadian rhythm is altered, many of the body’s systems can be compromised. The first side effect you may notice would be your sleep patterns. Increased trouble falling asleep and quality of sleep are most noteworthy. Once your sleep is compromised, then a lot of other systems can go off-line. You can become moody or agitated, concentrating becomes difficult, your immune system may be suppressed, cardiovascular functions are diminished, and your metabolic processes won’t function properly.
All light is known to increase free radicals as your retina processes light. Every time a photoreceptor (your rods and cones) is struck with a ray of light a biochemical reaction happens. As a result of this reaction, a waste product (the free radical) is made. An increase in free radicals within the retina can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) later in life. Now, your retina is most sensitive to a specific wavelength of light. Of course, this wavelength falls in the blue spectrum of light. So, an increase in blue light will likely lead to an increased risk of developing AMD.
Links for this get pretty technical; search PubMed for “blue light AND retina.” You will find some very interesting articles.
So we gave you some bad news this time, but follow us next time when we discuss solutions to the problems brought on by blue light. Make sure to schedule your Routine Eye Exams and feel free to schedule an appointment or visit our optical to discuss how to protect your eyes from blue light.