You may be unsurprised to learn that we spend more time staring at screens than we sleep – an average of 50 hours a week according to Ofcom's annual statistical survey.
If you work in an office, you probably spend most of the working day staring at a computer screen, only to go home and half-watch Netflix while also staring at your phone. The long term implications these devices have on our health is something many of us never consider outside the parameters of time wastage.
Blue light – or High Energy Visible (HEV) as it is also known – is the glare that comes of our devices. If you remember GCSE physics, you will know that light is made of a rainbow spectrum of colours (ROYGBIV) with different energy and wavelengths. Blue light has short yet high energy wavelengths that can penetrate the skin, strain your eyes, and cause headaches alongside a whole host of physical, mental and emotional effects.
But if a digital detox is just not feasible, how can we reduce our exposure to blue light? We have consulted the experts to find out everything you need to know about its effects and the products to combat it.
Protection for your eyes
It is estimated that over 50 per cent of people suffer from digital eye strain according to a report in the British Medical Journal. Staring at screens all day can result in itchy or dry eyes as well as migraines.
“Your blink rate, which is typically about 15-20 times per minute, can reduce by up to half when you are closely focussing on a screen, which can cause dry spots and blurred vision” explains Mr Sheraz Daya, Ophthalmologist and Medical Director of Centre for Sight.
Investing in blue light-blocking glasses, filters and protectors for your devices are the easiest and simplest way to shield your eyes when a digital detox is simply not possible.
Anti-blue light screen protector
One of the most simple and cost effective options to protect your eyes against blue light is to use a screen protector, many of which also include a privacy filter meaning prying eyes won't be able to see whats on your screen unless they are directly in front of it.
There's loads of different size options as well ranging from tablets, iPhones, desktops and laptops. After you remove any dust from the screen, the protector is attached with small adhesive non-damaging strips. All you need to know is the size of your screen.
From £14.99 | Ocushield on Amazon | Buy it now
Anti-blue light glasses
Scroll to your heart’s content with the help of these glasses that will protect against dry eyes and fatigue caused by an overexposure to blue light. The prescription-free glasses will shield your eyes from the damaging wavelengths with a crystal clear picture.
£38 | Soda Says | Buy it now
Quay Australia High Key Mini
The popular sunglasses brand has relaunched some of its best-selling models with clear blue light protecting lenses. From heart-shaped options, to oversized lenses, there are options for every taste to shield you eyes from the harmful rays emitted by mobiles, computers and the rest of our daily devices.
£50 | Quay Australia | Buy it now
#D SCREEN - Screen protection glasses
These stylish glasses are fitted with lenses that filter out 40 per cent of blue light rays. The contemporary silhouette also has a rubber texture with flexible arms that adapt to all face shapes.
£40 | Izipizi | Buy it now
Protection for your skin
The effect of blue light on our skin has become a hot topic in the beauty world. It has been associated with premature ageing, the reduction of skin laxity and hyperpigmentation as it releases cell-damaging free radicals that can penetrate to the second layer of your skin known as the dermis.
“It is important to protect the skin by ensuring your daily regime includes a good topical antioxidant” suggests Dr Preema Vig, the Medical Director at Dr Preema London Clinic, “Vitamin C serums and sunscreen or make-up creates a barrier between our skin and the blue light/ infrared emitted by our devices.”
Wear SPF daily and opt for products with blue-light-fighting and HEV light blocking ingredients.
Digital Detox Face Mist
Keep this face mist on your desk for a refreshing and detoxifying face mist that will help protect against blue light, while also containing Frankincense, Magnesium Salts, Marine Actives, Ginseng and Ylang Ylang that work to aid concentration and de-stress.
From £30 | Amly | Buy it now
City Skin Broad Spectrum SPF 50
This mineral sun cream has been formulated to protect your skin against the leading causes of ageing such as pollution and sun damage as well as blue light damage — which the product claims can shield 89 per cent of the blue light emitted from devices. While the science behind this is difficult to test we did notice our skin appeared more even with a reduction in age spots after just a few weeks of use.
£60 | Murad | Buy it now
Out of the Blue 3-in-1 Vanity Blush Palette Beam Of Light
Vegan beauty brand Pur has launched its ‘Out of the Blue Collection’ that contains a specially formulated to fight against High Energy Visible (HEV) blue light.
Infused with marigold extract, safflower oil, xanthophyll and lingostem to combat premature ageing skin, the multitasking blush compact contains two different shades as well as an illuminating highlighter.
£24 | Beauty Bay | Buy it now
Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex
The Holy Grail Estée Lauder eye treatment uses a 10 times more concentrated formula to fight against damage caused by external aggressors like UV rays and pollution as well as blue light. It will also help relieve dark circles and puffiness with an instant hydration boost.
£45 | Estée Lauder | Buy it now
Blue light can disrupt our natural circadian rhythm (our sleep-wake cycle) – and a lack of sleep can lead to depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.
Silentnight’s sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan explains, “When light levels drop in the evening, our circadian timer switches on and stimulates the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. However, the use of tech before bed disrupts this natural process.”
“Screens on phones and tablets emit blue light which suppresses the production of melatonin from the brain’s pineal gland and stimulates the production of the chemical dopamine which makes us feel alert and ‘switched on’.”
But what can you do to prevent this? Ramlakhan recommends "an electronic sundowner 60-90 minutes before bed, this will allow your brain to wind down and prepare for sleep.”
Lumie Bodyclock Spark 100
Switch out your phone for a good book and invest in a Lumie that minimises your exposure to blue light by replacing your phone as an alarm and clock. The device also has a gradual sunset simulation that encourages your body to wind down and feel ready for sleep. In the morning, the sunrise function prepares your body so you wake up ready to start the day.
£79 | Lumie | Buy it now
Red Night Light
Blue light is a stimulant that keeps you awake, but at the other end of the spectrum, red can shift your circadian rhythm and enhance melatonin product, encouraging you to wind down and promoting a good sleep. A red night light can be particularly helpful for sleep deprived parents with young children when every little helps.
£4.99 | Amazon | Buy it now