Four ideas to help reduce blue-light exposure

Posted 4/2/24

People now spend an average of 13 hours per day using digital devices.

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Four ideas to help reduce blue-light exposure


Whether you work in an office, remotely, or do a little bit of both, you likely spend many hours looking at blue-light-emitting computer or smartphone screens.

People now spend an average of 13 hours per day using digital devices. All that screen time may affect your health – both now and in the future.

“It’s hard to avoid the use of digital devices at work and at home,” said Lori Archer, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Vision. “While the reliance on computers and smartphones is an essential part of modern life, it’s important to consider ways to help reduce the potentially harmful effects of all the blue light emitted from those devices.”

Blue light is a short-wavelength, high-energy light that may have the potential to damage the eyes over time. The sun is the largest source of blue light, but computers, smartphones and other digital devices also emit it. Researchers continue to evaluate the potential health implications that may come from too much exposure to blue light, including sleep problems and various symptoms that are collectively called digital eye strain.

Dr. Banwait says following these simple tips can help reduce the effects of blue light exposure:

1. Avoid Long Screen Sessions

Avoid long sessions in front of screens by encouraging the 20-20-20 rule. After 20 minutes of computer use, stop and focus on something that’s at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to give your eyes a break. Also, try to reduce blue light exposure from screens at least 1 hour before bedtime.

2. Focus on Clear Computer Screens

Encourage clean computer screens to help improve display readability. In addition, consider using screen filters to help reduce blue-light exposure when using computers or smartphones.

3. Invest in Advanced Technology

Some laptops and computer monitors now have built-in technology designed to help filter out blue light without diminishing the viewing experience. Some insurance plans like UnitedHeathcare Vision offer discounts on them.

4. Schedule Comprehensive Eye Exams

Squinting while looking at screens, discomfort, or dizziness may all be signs of eye problems that can be identified during a comprehensive eye exam. All adults should get a comprehensive annual eye exam.

Dr. Premilla Banwait is the vice president of clinical programs of UnitedHealthcare.

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