Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light With Blue Light Blockers

Blue Light Blockers

By: Joseph Allen, OD, FAAO, Dipl ABO

There’s been a lot of buzz around “blue light” recently. However, despite its name, it’s not merely about the color blue. Blue light belongs to the electromagnetic spectrum and resides within the high-energy, short-wavelength segment of light visible to the human eye. Technically, “blue light” encompasses all light wavelengths ranging from 380 to 500 nm, which includes violet hues. It’s also referred to as high-energy visible (HEV) light due to its elevated energy levels and the fact it can reach the delicate photoreceptors within the eye. Blue light, or HEV light, occurs naturally as part of sunlight and can also be emitted by artificial sources like digital screens and lightbulbs. Because of its high energy, blue light has long been suspected of contributing to the aging of the human eye, primarily through the increased occurrence of oxidative stress. Blue light also plays a crucial role in stimulating a specific type of photoreceptor within the retina, which aids in regulating our circadian rhythms and daytime alertness. Nonetheless, excessive exposure to blue light, particularly from digital devices, has raised concerns regarding the topics of retinal health, eye strain, and sleep pattern disturbances.

How to Protect Eyes from Blue Light 

So, how can we shield our eyes from this high-energy blue light? You may have come across blue light filtering glasses, but it’s essential to note that there are currently no formal regulations or standards governing the production of these tinted or filtering glasses, and research on their effectiveness remains inconclusive. Alternatively, you can take simple steps to safeguard your eyes from excessive blue light exposure through lifestyle changes.

First and foremost, consider reducing your screen time, particularly in the evening hours after sunset. Another effective measure is to modify the brightness and color temperature settings on your devices, opting for warmer, less blue-toned light during the evening. However, one of the most effective ways to shield yourself from potential blue light harm is by incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into your diet, particularly those containing ample amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin.

What is Lutein and Zeaxanthin? 

Lutein and zeaxanthin are natural carotenoids found in the human eye’s retina, primarily serving as a built-in defense system against harmful light exposure. When our eyes are exposed to intense light, these pigments absorb high-energy light and help prevent damage to the delicate retinal cells. In essence, lutein and zeaxanthin act as a natural internal shield, safeguarding the retina from potential harm caused by high-energy light.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin-Rich Foods for Eye Health

Lutein and zeaxanthin are naturally abundant in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens, as well as yellow and red vegetables such as corn, and red peppers. Additionally, egg yolks are a good source of both lutein and zeaxanthin. Consuming these foods regularly can contribute to higher levels of these antioxidants in the body, potentially helping with ocular health. 

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Supplements: Choosing a Dose and Brand 

Regrettably, most people do not incorporate the recommended daily portions of fruits and vegetables into their diets. An alternative means of obtaining these essential nutrients is through supplementation. Indeed, numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin in enhancing macular pigment. Lutein supplements are typically ingested orally in the form of capsules, soft gels, or tablets. The suggested dosage can vary but often falls within the range of 10 to 20 milligrams of lutein per day, contingent on your eye health and dietary intake. When searching for a supplement, I always advise selecting a reputable brand that offers a combination of both lutein and zeaxanthin. Numerous brands and products include these beneficial compounds, and you can find some options here. If uncertain, consider opting for a lutein and zeaxanthin formula from Lutemax 2020, renowned for its proven bioavailability and support from multiple randomized clinical trials. You can often identify this formula by spotting the Lutemax 2020 logo on the front label or on the supplement facts label at the back. Regardless, it is imperative to always adhere to the dosing instructions provided on the product label or as recommended by your healthcare provider.