Relax, Blue Light from Your Smartphone Won't Blind You

SAN DIEGO, CALIF (September 2018) - Despite what the latest round of alarmist headlines may say, blue light from electronic screens will not make you go blind. A recent study from the University of Toledo has inspired some misleading headlines from a number of news outlets, but eye experts caution that many of the news reports leap to inaccurate conclusions.

“It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina,” says Sandy T. Feldman MD, Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center in San Diego. “The focus of this particular study was to determine exactly how blue light impacts our eyes and may contribute to age-related macular degeneration.

“AMD is an incurable eye disease that can cause a loss of central vision. Once the process is better understood, the hope is that scientists can find ways to slow it down.”

Just because blue light isn’t the sight-stealing villain some have made it out to be doesn’t mean there’s no reason for concern. Research shows that blue light can interfere with the body’s circadian rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep. Too much time screen time can lead to eye strain, too. Dr. Feldman advises limiting screen time before bed and using a night filter on digital devises to reduce blue light exposure after dark. To avoid eye strain, she recommends the 20-20-20 rule: Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

In some parts of the world, excessive screen time is cause for a great deal of concern. China recently announced that it will restrict the number of video games and take steps to curb playing time by minors to address growing rates of myopia (nearsightedness).

“It’s estimated that around 500 million Chinese - nearly half the population over age five - has some degree of visual impairment,” says Dr. Feldman. “Perhaps shocking statistics like that will help motivate all of us to spend less time on our phones.”

About Sandy T. Feldman, MD
Sandy T. Feldman, MD is the Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center - voted best LASIK center in San Diego by the San Diego Union Tribune (2016 and 2017) and CityBeat Magazine two years in a row. Her numerous awards include “Top Doc San Diego” and the Goldline Award, an honor granted to only 10 laser eye care providers in the U.S. each year. She has also been profiled in Forbes, Newsweek, and other respected publications. Dr. Feldman is a fellow of the prestigious American College of Ophthalmic Surgeons, as well as a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. She has successfully performed more than 20,000 refractive procedures. For more information, visit clearvieweyes.com.

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