The new normal has presented a lot of new
things for children to adapt to, like online
education. Children are waking up to the reality
of spending hours in front of screens that give out
blue light. Experts from R. Kumar tell you how the
blue light is affecting children.
Blue light is believed to reduce the production of sleep-inducing hormones. So, when the eyes sense blue light in the surroundings, they send a signal to the centre in the brain which produces the chemicals that make us sleepy that it is still not time to sleep. Basically, the presence of blue light delays the onset of sleep.
How This Is Affecting Kids
- Online education means learning on a laptop, mobile or tablet, where children have to constantly look at the device that is at a short distance compared to the classroom board. This causes fatigue and disinterest in studies. The fatigue can also be due to weak external muscles of the eye, which control eye movements.
- Those who face the computer screen for a longer duration tend to open their eyes wide and stare at the screen, attempting to focus. This causes them to blink less than one should. The normal blink rate in humans should be 14 to 16 blinks in a minute. While on a computer screen, the blink rate comes down to eight to nine blinks in a minute. Lower blink rate can cause the eyes to dry faster, which in turn causes watering and redness of the eyes.
- It is important to understand that it’s not the blue light that is harmful in itself; it is the time of the day when we are exposed to it that can have some disturbing effects.
- One must stay away from digital screens for one to two hours before going to bed. The exposure to blue light on any device closer to bedtime can disturb the quality of sleep. Moreover, despite having slept for adequate hours, one will not wake up feeling refreshed.
- It has also been hypothesised that such disruption in sleep leads to lifestyle diseases like diabetes.
As cave people, our primary source of light was the sun. After sunset comes the waning light and so the amount of blue in the visible light zone begins to decrease. As the blue light from the surroundings decreases, the centre in the brain that is responsible for producing ‘sleepy’ chemicals kicks into gear, and we start feeling sleepy.
As humans invented artificial sources of light powered by fire and then electricity, the number of hours under light increased. Consequently, our exposure to blue light also increased. So, our ‘sleepy’ chemicals started to kick in later in the evening than they should. The longer we see blue light, the more our sleep is delayed.
How to Protect Yourself from Blue Light
- Hold Your Device At An AngleHold your device at a 30° angle or more as this will prevent the light from directly hitting your eye.
- Wear Glasses That Block Blue LightAmber or orange-coloured lenses absorb close to 99% of blue light and wearing these glasses will reduce the strain on the eye.
- Use A Screen FilterScreen filters are the easiest way to keep the blue light out of your eyes. These are available for all reading devices—laptops, tablets and phones.
- Install A Blue Light Blocking PluginSoftware can be installed to reduce and cut the blue light from your machine.
- Move To Comfort SettingsA lot of new devices have a comfort setting that has warmer light with less contrast