Get the Facts: Blue Light Safety

February 3, 2022
Yaoyue Wang

First, how do we define blue light? 

Looking at the spectrum of light waves, we can see that only a fairly limited range of light waves are visible to the human eye. Within this visible range are many different colors of light waves which, when combined, form the "white" light that we perceive. Blue light is among these colors.

Every light contains some blue light. It occurs both naturally and from man-made sources but by far the largest source of blue light is the sun; man-made sources like LED lights or computer and mobile phone screens produce much less blue light by comparison. However, because of the increasing amount of time spent exposed to these sources (often in close proximity), there is growing concern about the effects on our eyes over time. To be clear, though, blue light can also be very healthy for you in managable amounts.

Benefits of blue light

  • Research has shown that blue light exposure can boost mood, alertness, memory and cognitive function.
  • "Light therapy" is sometimes used to treat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which utilizes a bright white light containing a significant amount of blue light.
  • Blue light can reinforce your circadian rhythm. In other words, blue light exposure during the day supports a healthy sleep cycle.
  • Research has shown that not enough blue light exposure in children can affect the growth and development of their vision.

Potential risks of excessive blue light exposure

  • Too much screen time (TV/tablet/phone/computer) before bedtime can negatively your sleep cycle.
  • Blue light contributes heavily to "digital eye strain" - that tired feeling your eyes get when you've been staring at a screen all day long.
  • The human eye is not as good at blocking blue light as others; blue light reaches the retina. Because of this, there are concerns that with increased exposure to strong blue light sources over time this may contribute to macular degeneration.

Light color (temperature) is measured in "Kelvin". As seen in the image above, a lower (warmer) Kelvin rating results in a more orange light and a higher (cooler) Kelvin rating results in a more blue light. The cooler color temperature a light has, the more blue light it has.

This is all great, but what does it have to do with me as a dental professional?

LumaDent™ LED headlights are 100% blue light safe. We even offer 2 versions of our award-winning HL360™ LED Headlight, "Neutral White" (5500K) and "Warm" (4500K) for those with sensitive vision who find bright white lights uncomfortable. This is not a very common experience, however. 9 out of 10 LED packages we ship contain our "Neutral White" light and most of our LED Packages feature adjustable light intensity.

As a dental professional, the precautions you should take against blue light are basically the same as someone in almost any other profession. There are no special requirements or hazards to be aware of when using our products. No warnings, no fine print, no disclaimers and no funny business. Our lights are safe.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't take care of your eyes though. If you're experiencing visual discomfort then take a break and rest your eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends using something called the "20-20-20" rule: Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to keep your eyes from getting fatigued by blue light. This applies not just to our lights but any light in any situation.

If you're experiencing discomfort, strain or fatigue using our LED Headlight, please try adjusting the light intensity down to a level where you find it comfortable.

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