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Talking to Your Patients About Blue Light

We know that blue light is a hot topic in the eye care industry right now. For the last few years, we’ve seen more and more patients coming to eye care professionals to ask about the risks of high-energy blue light, learn more about available products, and to take an active role in protecting their eyesight. If you find that your patients are interested in these products, or if you want to bring up the topic to ensure that they are seeing safely, here are some suggestions for talking with your patients about this concern.

Cover Natural Exposure

The risks of blue light are often thought of as only an indoor/digital screen problem, but that’s not true. The sun is the biggest culprit of exposure to high-energy blue light. It makes sense that blue light causes us to feel awake because it comes from the sun and helps set our daily rhythm! The problem is that unprotected and prolonged exposure to bright sunlight can cause a lot of discomfort and difficulty seeing. It also adds to the aging of our eyes. This type of exposure is linked to things like macular degeneration and cataracts. Blue light protection, UV protection, and darkening of the lens all help reduce risks from sun exposure, so make sure to discuss them all.

Talk About Sleep

Many people have heard about blue light environments affecting humans because the media have focused on the studies that show how it can affect sleep patterns and cause restlessness and wakefulness. Talk to your patients about their sleep habits. How late are they watching TV? Do they view digital screens in bed? Is their bathroom or bedroom like from CFL bulbs? There are lots of things that could cause sleep disturbances, but assessing their risks could help alleviate some of the trouble. Suggest that they stop looking at electronic devices a few hours before bed, and instead read a book with dimmer lights.

Know Their Occupation

Many people work in offices, and even those who work from home or on the go usually rely on digital devices for communication and more. People who work at a desktop environment often need to be reminded that their eyestrain can be a symptom of focusing on a screen for too long. This can be an opportunity to remind them of the 20/20/20 rule. It can also be a way to start a conversation about computer eyewear, and glasses with features that block or filter blue light to reduce exposure.

Our eyes change over time and even take on a yellow tint with age, which builds our natural defenses against blue light. Younger people—especially children—have clearer lenses. This means they are without the natural protection of older adults, and may be at greater risk for damage from blue light. The good news is that Blue light features including anti-reflective treatments and coatings or specialty lenses are available for nearly every kind of eyeglasses. Talk to your lab or lens reps if you want to know what’s available and how your eyewear can help protect your patients.

For more information about blue light and the eye, check out this link from All About Vision.

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