Blue light in the limelight
Don't stare into the sun—that's a given. But what about digital devices? New AOA resources offer ODs vital insight into this trending topic.
"Evidence suggests that high-energy visible light from artificial sources may not be entirely harmless."
High-energy visible (HEV) light—often referred to as 'blue light,' near the ultraviolet (UV) end of the visible spectrum—is not only found in sunlight, but also in the light sources people use every day. Blue light emitters such as digital devices, compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs aren't just common, they are fixations of our attention for hours on end.
According to the 2014 American Eye-Q® survey, 55 percent of respondents report using an electronic device for five hours or more daily. Add in the hours of TV people watch, and blue light exposure is at an all-time high.
Notably, research indicates all this blue light exposure could cause ocular harm, even possibly contributing to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). That's why blue light is the focus of both a new educational course and white paper.
Stay up to date: Latest on blue light
Now available as a COPE-approved continuing education course on AOA's EyeLearn (member login required), High Energy Visible Light: The Danger and Opportunities for Protection is a one-hour, two-part course that offers a breakdown of HEV, including:
- Introduction to HEV light, why it presents a danger to the macula and how it
- Concerns regarding ultraviolet light and HEV from natural and artificial lights; and,
- Avoidance techniques and supplementation recommendations that can be used to protect the eye from HEV damage.
"New research evidence suggests that high-energy visible light from artificial sources may not be entirely harmless," says Karl Citek, O.D., Ph.D., AOA Commission on Ophthalmic Standards chair. "This course reviews the current knowledge about HEV light and the steps that you can take today to reduce your patients' exposure."
In addition to the EyeLearn course, AOA members can also reference the Light and Eye Damage white paper available online that answers common questions about blue light, including:
- Is there any evidence to suggest that blue light/UV radiation causes ocular damage;
- At what age should ODs recommend protective eyewear coatings/contact lenses with UV radiation and visible light protection; and,
- Are there eye health-related concerns for patients exposed to light from ophthalmic equipment?