How you can protect yourself from headaches caused by the blue light emitted from your LED monitor
If you’re someone whose job involves sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day and staring into its monitor, you’ve probably read an article or two — or perhaps seen a news report, or maybe even had a conversation — about the negative effect that blue light emanating from screens can have on our eyesight, and even on our overall health.
According to leading ophthalmologists, the problem is largely a result of continuous, long-term exposure to the light produced not only by computer monitors, but also from tablets, flat-screen LED TVs (such as those manufactured by Samsung, Sony, and LG), and OLED TVs with curved screens, including the very newest models from Panasonic, Samsung, and LG. A report from GigaOm’s technology research platform, meanwhile, revealed that long-term exposure to blue light after dark can lead to chronic insomnia, and even breast cancer.
“Being in the presence of light at night disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythms by suppressing the production of [the sleep hormone known as] melatonin,” according to the report’s author. “But melatonin does far more than help us get sleepy — it’s also an antioxidant that appears to play a pivotal role in slowing the progression of cancer and other diseases.”
Headaches, Migraines, Retinal Damage and More
According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF), direct exposure to blue light — especially the sort of exposure that results from staring into a computer or TV screen for long stretches of time — can cause severe damage to the retina. What’s worse, the sort of retinal damage that results from blue light exposure can lead to macular degeneration, which will eventually lead to the loss of central vision. That’s a frightening bit of information, without a doubt.
Ready for even more bad news? An estimate from the American Optometric Association tells us that roughly 75 percent of regular computer users suffer from a range of vision-related problems known as CVS, or Computer Vision Syndrome.
CVS refers to a group of vision-related problems and other symptoms that result from prolonged computer use. Incredibly, the American Optometric Association estimates that approximately 75 percent of regular computer users have CVS. That’s as many as 60 million people, with about 1 million new cases each year. As a result of the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays emitted from display monitors, they tell us, operating a computer for as little as 2 to 3 hours per day — or playing video games, using multimedia devices, or watching television — can result in everything from blurred vision to severe migraines.
Clearly, our habit of staring into computer and TV screens for hours at a time — during the day or after dark — is a serious problem. Thankfully though, there are actions you can take that will significantly decrease the negative health effects of blue light, which seems nearly impossible to avoid in our screen-filled world.
NuShield DayView Screen Protector Films
Screen protector films are one potential solution, but you need to proceed with extreme caution when you’re choosing your film. Unfortunately, the vast majority of screen protector films that claim to eliminate blue light are not quite worth the investment. That’s because they only cut down on up to 32% of the blue light emission coming from your display.
NuShield films, however, filter out an astonishing 99.9% of UV-B rays. If you place a NuShield screen protector film over all of your regularly used electronic devices, in other words, the UV-B rays coming from each device’s monitor will essentially be eliminated entirely.
NuShield makes screen protectors designed to fit approximately 12,000 of the most popular devices available today. If you can’t find yours, there are custom cut-to-fit protectors available at no extra charge, ensuring a perfect fit for nearly any device. NuShield screen protectors come with a 100% money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.
If for any reason you’re not satisfied, NuShield will refund your money, no questions asked. With easy to apply low-tack adhesive, the screen protectors can be installed in seconds, and they remove easily without any damage to your screen.
F.lux Software for Computers
Here at NuShield, we’re big fans of f.lux, which is free software for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android mobile devices that allows your device’s display to adapt to the time of day: Warm at night and reminiscent of sunlight during the day. Apple provides its own version of this for iOS called “Night Shift” which can be turned on in the Settings —> Displays and Brightness.
“It’s even possible that you’re staying up too late because of your computer,” according to the f.lux website. “You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it because it makes your computer look better.”
We’ve been using f.lux on a Windows laptop for the better part of a month now, and indeed, the dimming of the monitor, which occurs slowly and in concert with the daily setting of the sun, does seem to have had a beneficial effect on our sleep patterns. Which is a good thing, especially when you consider that some of the latest research on blue light has found that after exposure to a cold virus, sleep deprived people are much more likely to get sick than those who aren’t sleep deprived.
Visit the f.lux website, at justgetflux.com, to download and install the software yourself.
Here are a few other simple and easy solutions that can immediately help to reduce the effects of the potential damage that can be caused by blue light and ultra-violet light:
- Consider purchasing sunglasses with melanin pigmented polarized lenses. These glasses cut down on blue light exposure outside. NuShield’s anti-reflective DayVue filmis developed in such a way that you’ll still be able to clearly read your phone, tablet or computer’s display outdoors while wearing these glasses. Other screen-protecting films, meanwhile, will render your screen dark if your polarized lenses are on.
- Especially with young children, limit the number of hours of daily electronic device use. Remind your children, and yourself, to keep your device at least 12 inches (1 foot) from your eyes.
- Putting your devices away at least one hour before bedtime will go a long way toward improving your sleep. If you’re in the market for a new bedroom television set, consider purchasing a standard flat screen TV with reduced blue light emission.
For further information about eye strain caused by blue light exposure, read this recently updated article by NuShield’s Andrew Serenyi.