In optical, we talk about exposure to blue light from digital devices and how certain lenses and lens coatings can help. Usually, though, we are talking about use of those devices under normal lighting conditions.
It turns out that mobile device developers aren’t in the dark about blue light either… though their apps are. We say that because several new apps and features for cells focus on helping improve sleep patterns by reducing exposure to blue light after dark in general and at bedtime in particular.
Here’s the 411 on cells, digital devices, and after-dark exposure to blue light.
• Apple: Its iOS9.3 operating system includes ‘Night Shift,’ a feature using an internal clock and geo-location to adjust the balance of color.
What: Once the device recognizes it’s sundown, the tones onscreen will become warmer — that is, include more orange and red, less blue and white.
Why: Apple explains: “Many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep.”
• Android: A similar product, ‘Twilight,’ is available for Android phones. One problem? Some users may have difficulty reading due to the decreased contrast when black is changed to dark red.
• E-Readers: One bit of information you should definitely share with patients is how e-readers at bedtime can affect sleep. Researchers at both Harvard and Penn State have found that people who use them just before bed will take longer to fall asleep, won’t sleep as long, and will be less alert the next morning.
• Messaging: In optical, the potential dangers of exposure to blue light have been known for quite awhile. Blue-light attenuating lenses and coatings have become big players in the lens arena, and the issue of blue light is something that should be addressed in both the exam room and dispensary.
What better way to support the need for protection from blue light than to explain that even device developers like Apple are now taking it seriously?
Do you talk to patients about the dangers of exposure to blue light indoors from mobile devices? If so, please share below and join in the conversation on our ClubZero Facebook page here.