What Are the Effects of Using Headlights Daily on Your Eyes?

August 31, 2023
Josephine Medina

In today's fast-paced world, the use of LED headlights has become a commonplace practice, especially in professions like dentistry. While these headlights undoubtedly enhance visibility and precision, it's crucial to understand the potential effects of daily use on your eyes. Your eyes are one of your most valuable assets, and protecting them should be a top priority in your professional life.

Let us shed some light (you get it?) on blue light and eye health and suggest some ideas on how to work safely with the equipment you use! 

Common Hazards From Using LED Headlights Daily

  1. Blue Light Exposure: This is a big one. Many headlamps and LED headlights emit a significant amount of blue light. Long-term exposure to blue light, especially during nighttime use, has been a topic of concern due to its effects on sleep patterns and circadian rhythms. Blue light exposure, particularly in the evening, can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
  2. Eye Strain: Prolonged exposure to bright light sources, including headlamps leads to eye strain, discomfort, and fatigue. Staring at a bright light for extended periods, especially in dark environments, can cause the pupils to constrict and dilate frequently, contributing to eye strain which can cause dry eyes, blurry vision, and a feeling of heaviness in your eyelids. 
  3. Accommodation: Constantly shifting focus between bright areas illuminated by the headlamp and darker surroundings may cause the eye's focusing mechanism, known as “accommodation,” to work more frequently. While this isn't necessarily detrimental in the short term, over time it might contribute to eye strain.

More About Blue Light

Blue light exposure, especially from digital devices and artificial lighting, has gained attention in recent years due to its potential negative effects on human health, so let’s break it down. 

Blue light comes in two varieties:

  1. Blue-turquoise, which is good for overall well-being.
  2. Blue-violet light, which is artificial and comes from gadgets and even pollution. This shade of blue light is often ubiquitous when it comes to the workplace, all because of cell phones, TVs, and computer screens. 

Graphic courtesy of ThoughtCo.

*Blue light is, on average, presently stronger in LEDs than in normal lamps. This is because LED lights need blue to produce white light, similar to how computers or TV screens need RGB light. Blue light causes damage because its wavelengths are shorter than green and red (see graphic above.) Our retinas process the wave in front of our eyes due to its shorter wavelength, which is why long-lasting exposure can cause fatigue and nearsightedness. Ensure that your workspace has proper lighting to accommodate your loupes as well. 

*The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and other eye health organizations have cautioned against excessive blue light exposure from devices.  If you're concerned about the effects of using a headlamp on your eyes, consider the following solutions:

  • Use Adjustable Intensity: Many headlamps offer adjustable intensity settings. Use lower intensities when possible, especially in darker environments.
  • Limit Exposure: Avoid using headlamps for extended periods. Give your eyes regular breaks from the bright light. You may have heard of the 20-20-20 rule, which is for every 20 minutes of light exposure, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 
  • Choose Warm Light: Warm or neutral white light sources generally have less blue light content compared to cooler white lights.
  • Consult an Eye Professional: If you're experiencing discomfort or are concerned about your eye health, consider consulting an eye doctor for personalized advice.

Dentists should take the same precautions against blue light as any other working professional. With LumaDent, there are no special requirements or hazards to be aware of when using our products, whether it’s our ErgoPrism Vario loupes or an airLUX. Discomfort, strain, and fatigue can happen with headlights, so if you experience any of these symptoms, just change the light intensity down to a comfortable level. 

Empowering Solutions: LumaDent's Low Blue Light Headlamps

Your eyes are so important to your practice! All in all, just make sure to keep in mind the effects of light exposure on vision and eye health, your individual sensitivity, light intensity, and duration of exposure so you can continue to master your craft.  

Within our mission to protect the health of our eyes, innovative solutions like LumaDent's low blue light headlamps are at the forefront. Designed with a focus on ocular well-being, these headlamps are individually handcrafted to minimize blue light emission and allow for proper illumination for any task. Additionally, LumaDent headlamps have been designed to offer less disruption to your night vision and research from reputable resources like the Journal of Ophthalmic & Vision Research, ScienceDirect, and Surgitel backs up our company’s need for awareness and proper interventions. 

When we follow these recommendations, in addition to proper screen habits, we can help working professionals protect their eyes and further their careers for years to come. 

For more information about our products and the technology behind LumaDent, visit our store and FAQ pages.

Additional Sources: 

Research on effects and prevention of blue light on eyes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288536/

EyeWiki from the AAO: 

https://eyewiki.org/Main_Page

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