Today’s world is full of devices that emit blue light, such as smartphones, tablets, and computer screens. Many people, including older adults, spend a lot of time looking at screens. They check social media multiple times per day, watch movies, read e-books, and check e-mail. Devices can be a great way to stay connected with others and provide entertainment. However, if your aging relative spends a great deal of time looking at screens, you may worry about how it could affect their vision and sleep. But, is there really cause to worry? Some experts say, perhaps not.
Blue Light Basics
The blue light emitted by devices is the same as the blue light given off by the sun. Light from the sun consists of several types of light: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Those kinds of light combine to make the white light that we see. The wavelengths and energy of the different kinds of light depends on where in the spectrum they are. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and more energy.
The greatest source of blue light that people encounter is, of course, the sun. Blue light also comes from manmade sources, like:
• Fluorescent lights.
• CFL bulbs.
• LED lights.
• LED televisions.
• Computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones.
Blue Light and Vision
Some people think that blue light is quite dangerous to vision, perhaps even leading to blindness. However, in an article posted on the AARP website, Karl Citek, a professor of optometry states that “The amount of blue light emitted by your smartphone, tablet, computer screen or similar device is nowhere close to the intensity necessary to cause retinal damage.” He goes on to explain that the amount of blue light given off by the sun is far more powerful than from electronic devices and people don’t go blind from being in the sun.
One reason that people may believe that blue light is damaging their eyes is because they may notice some eye fatigue and discomfort after looking at a screen for a while. However, this is merely eye strain and does not lead to long-term damage. Taking a break from screens and limiting screen time can end the problem and prevent it from happening again.
Blue Light and Sleep
While you may not have to worry too much about blue light harming your older family member’s vision, if they are using a device close to bedtime, you might have to worry about their sleep. Studies show that blue light has an impact on sleep. It interferes with the body’s natural circadian rhythm that tells your older family member when to go to sleep. It can also block the production of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep.
Senior care can help your aging relative to avoid eye strain by reminding them to take a break from devices, which could also help them to be more physically active. If they continue to complain of eye problems, a senior care provider can schedule an eye doctor appointment for them and drive them to it. Senior care providers can also prevent older adults from using their devices close to bedtime by encouraging them to do other, more relaxing activities, such as reading or listening to music.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Senior Care in Eastern Cherokee, KS please contact the caring staff at Adelmo Family Care today at (417) 206-4576.
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