Shedding some light on blue light – what it is, where does it come from, and does your little one really really need a pair of blue light glasses?
What is ‘blue light’?
It’s not light that’s coloured blue, but it’s a type of light that contains high amounts of energy and it’s everywhere around us. Yes, you’re exposed to it every single day! You’ve probably heard that blue light is emitted from our smart devices like phones and tablets but did you know blue light is also found indoors and outdoors? Blue light is emitted by the sun and even indoor lights give off blue light to a certain extent.
In the digital age, we’re constantly looking at our screens which increases our exposure to blue light. Unfortunately, our eyes actually don’t filter our blue light all that well. Blue light can pass through the different parts of our eye and reach the retina. As a result, it can contribute to digital eye strain (DES) and even macular degeneration.
However, not all blue light is bad! While overexposure to blue light can lead to detrimental vision conditions, it actually also helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycle! So at the end of the day, what’s concerning about blue light is the amount that we’re being exposed to. That’s why it’s important to manage and moderate our exposure to blue light.
The introduction of blue light glasses.
Living in the 21st Century obviously necessitates smart device-use, especially for our children. Gone are the days when homework was just a pencil and a workbook. Now, homework has gone digital, class discussions can take place through video conferencing, and projects can be completed online. This is just the tip of the ice berg. Our children use their smart devices for so many other purposes, doubling or even tripling their screen time and increasing their exposure to blue light. Too much blue light and they could face vision conditions like DES and face trouble falling asleep.
Enter: blue light glasses. Some parents have turned to blue light glasses in a bid to filter it out. The lenses of these glasses block out the transmission of some of the light’s wavelengths. When this happens, the lenses help to reduce DES and avoid disrupting the sleep/wake cycle.
But does your child really need them?
It really depends on the average time your child spends on his/her screens. If your child spends a lot of time staring at the screen – be it for school or for entertainment – you might want to consider getting him/her a pair of blue light glasses. However, that doesn’t necessarily remove the root of the problem which is your child’s screen time.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), your child should adhere to the following screen time guidelines:
- 0-2 year olds: no screen time at all
- 2-5 year olds: 1 hour of screen time a day
- 5 and above: A little more screen time can be introduced, but moderately. No more than a few hours of screen time a day.
Managing your child’s screen time will be sure to nip the problem in the bud and you won’t have to find him/her a pair of blue light glasses. You can do this with the help of parental control apps like plano.
Plano helps to monitor your child’s device use and reminds your child to take regular breaks from the screens every 30 minutes. As a parent, you can also use the plano app to schedule no-device times. For instance, if your child is not allowed to use his/her phone during dinner time, you can use the plano app to lock his/her device during those hours.
If your child follows these prompts and reminders in the plano app, he/she can earn points! These points can then be used in the plano Shop* to request for device-free activities.
We can’t refuse our children screens in this day and age, but we can help them manage their screen time. In turn, we help to reduce their exposure to blue light which lowers their risk of DES and other vision conditions. Our children only have one pair of eyes, let’s help protect them.
*Only available to Singapore plano users.