Can’t sleep at night? Let’s Discuss Blue Light.

Electric Blue - Illustration by Jason Aponte

Electric Blue - Illustration by Jason Aponte

It’s 2 A.M. and you are staring at your phone on your favorite social media app waiting for your body and mind to fall asleep.  This is a routine many of us follow, but what we do not realize is that this trend is creating a new problem.  Although the sun is the biggest source of blue light, our electronic devices and fluorescent bulbs give off this high-energy light as well. 

Studies have shown that the range of wavelength that is toxic to retina cells is 414-445nm.  Exposure to this range of wavelength of light, may be affecting our sleep and may be causing damage to our retinas.  In particular, it may cause macular degeneration, but another negative effect of Blue Light is how it affects our sleep patterns.  Our usage of digital devices is increasing and we need to find ways to protect our eyes.

There are a few ways of protecting your vision. 

  • Reduce exposure and usage of electronic devices.  This may be difficult due to the increase of computers in the workplace.  Some electronic devices have the capacity to change your screen settings to reduce blue light.  There are also options of blue light filters that can be added directly onto your device. 

  • When you are in the sun it is a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed hat.

  • Lenses with built-in Blue Light Filters.  Here in the office of Dr. Ricardo Silva, we offer some of the best options that can be added to your glasses.

Not all blue light is harmful and there are some benefits to blue light, such as that it gives a positive boost to our mood.  If you are interested in creating your next pair of glasses with Blue Light protection, ask one of our professional staff about some of the lenses we provide such as Eyezen, Transitions, and Prevencia.

Dry eyes? Then why are my eyes tearing?

Illustration by Jason Aponte

Illustration by Jason Aponte

Dry eyes can present itself with many different symptoms like burning, sandy gritty feeling, and blurred vision. It may sound like a complete contradiction, but sometimes tearing can also be a symptom of “Dye Eyes”. How can this be dry eyes if I’m tearing? There is a simple explanation to this riddle.

The tear is composed of three layers.

  1.  The outermost layer is oil.
  2. The middle layer is water.
  3. The lowest layer on surface of the eye is mucous.

When the outermost layer is compromised, the oil is not sufficiently present, then the tear will evaporate or run out of the eye leaving the eye dry.  So what do I do if I have dry eyes?

The most important step is to have a routine eye exam to evaluate the health of your eyes. The optometrist can evaluate your tears and treat your dry eyes depending on which layer or layers are affected.

The oil layer is produced by glands found in the eyelids. The oils are released through tiny holes found just behind the lashes at the edge of the lids. The water layer is produced by the lacrimal gland located on the upper, outer portion behind the bone. And, the mucous layer is produced by cells on the surface of the eye. If the oil layer is affected then hot, moist compresses with massages may be necessary in order to drain stagnant oils from the glands. This technique should be taught by your eye doctor to avoid injury and to get the best results.

There may be an inflammatory reason to the dry eyes in which case Omega 3 supplements and decreasing Omega 6 consumption may help the tear composition. Medications like Restasis and Xiidra may be useful in combating dry eyes by decreasing the inflammatory response of the body, but require a written prescription by your eye doctor.

If you have visited your local drug store lately, I’m sure you have been overwhelmed by the number of lubricating drops on the shelves.  Why play the guessing game? Your eye doctor can help you find the right drops based on your specific dry eye problem. As dry eye disease progresses, all layers of the tear may be affected and damage to the surface of the eye can occur. Now that your education has begun about dry eyes and before you attempt any of these possible solutions, see your optometrist to determine the best treatment for your dry eye.