Some people look at their mobile devices for several hours. This causes digital eye strain because mobile screens emit blue light. Studies have shown that blue light penetrates all the way to the retina and damages light-sensitive cells. For most people, digital devices are essential in daily living, so they disregard their digital health.
Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum. The visible spectrum contains blue, orange, green, yellow, and red light rays. Red, yellow, and green light rays have long wavelengths. They have less energy than blue and violet rays.
The electromagnetic rays on the blue end of the spectrum have short wavelengths. This means they have more energy than infrared lights.
Blue light is a high-energy visible (HEV) light. It is a high-frequency light in the blue/violet band on the visible spectrum. It has been known that it can damage the retina. It can also cause age-related muscular degeneration (AMD) and digital eye strain.
The screens of digital devices and personal computers emit short-wave blue light. This can contribute to various health problems. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), blue and violet light rays can cause cancer, retinal damage, melatonin disruption, AMD, etc. Also, long-term exposure to blue light can permanently damage your eyes.
Further, blue light can contribute to blurred vision, sleep loss, fatigue, and dry eyes. These are symptoms of digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome (CVS). CVS can trigger neck and shoulder strain.
Digital health advocates recommend that mobile users should refrain from using their digital devices over a long period. Including CVS, blue light can also cause long-term health problems.
Despite the risks, there are people who can’t really part with their mobiles. Businessmen rely on their phone to alert them of important reminders. Teenagers and young adults often use their smartphones for entertainment purposes. Busy individuals tend to have callers from time to time.
It’s hard for some people to reduce the amount of time of cellphone usage. That’s why screen filters, computer glasses, and filter applications were created. They’re designed to shield your eyes from the blue light.
Screen filters work like computer glasses. They’re coated with a material that reduces the amount of blue light that gets through. They are made of an anti-glare filter. Anti-glare materials are consist of acrylic or polycarbonate plastic. Such materials are natural UV filters.
The human eye refracts the different wavelengths of the visible light differently. By preventing blue light from entering your retina, screen filters can prevent digital eye strain.
HEV light filters are attached to mobile screens, so they’re easier to use than computer glasses. You don’t have to wear them whenever you’ve to gaze at your smartphone. If you use multiple devices, you must buy a screen filter for each one of them.
Filtering HEV light prevents eye strain when using digital devices. It reduces eye fatigue, screen flickering, and screen brightness. Individuals who wear computer glasses and use HEV screen filters have reported that they don’t experience the sensation of sticky and dry eyes anymore.
Many applications that can filter blue light are now available on the web for free. They shift the color tone of smartphones. The harmful HEV light is converted to orange, red, or yellow. They also reduce screen brightness and protect your retina from blue light penetration.
However, they are not as effective as screen filters. Further, color distortion and contrast reduction can be inconvenient for some people. It is difficult for the human eyes to focus when the true color is distorted.
Nevertheless, such applications can help you use your mobile device for hours without experiencing dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, or other symptoms of CVS.
Popular Blue Light Filter Apps
If you don’t have a screen filter, install to your smartphone any of the applications below.
Night Shift is a light filtering application for Apple devices. It is compatible with any kind of Apple device. It allows you to change the color of your smartphone’s display and view it on power-saving mode. Many users have reported that they don’t suffer from eye fatigue anymore after installing this application. They can now stare at their phones for several hours without feeling nauseous and sleepy.
The features of Night Mode are similar to Night Shift, but this is only for Android Devices. However, it is only compatible for Android Lollipop and later versions.
Iris is free to use. It may generate pop-up advertisements from time to time if your device is connected to the internet. But it can improve your digital wellbeing as minimum. It features unlimited blue light filtering, timers, break reminders, contrast adjustment, hue adjustment, and blocking options.
Twilight is available for Android devices only. The latest version can’t run on Android ICS and older. If this is your problem, you can download an earlier version of Twilight and install it on your phone. The application is designed and focused on reducing blue light penetration during night time. It adjusts the brightness of the screen and the filtering depending on the time of the day. To protect your eyes, it mounts a red filter and a blue filter over the whole display of your phone. It also allows you to set the intensity and the temperature of the filter. Further, you can also create profiles. This allows you to create custom filters and set them to be activated at a particular time. Twilight is free to download, but some features are only available on the premium version.
F.lux is 100% free. It is available on both Android and Apple mobile devices. It has some features that are similar to Twilight’s. You can manually set the color balance. You can also use the default settings to allow the app to adjust to the available light around you.
F.lux utilizes the color transform method. This directly acts on your phone’s video driver. It’s a more effective method than color overlaying. Both approaches filter blue light, but the latter tends to minimize display contrast. For some people, contrast reduction can cause digital eye strain.
Using HEV light filters can improve your overall digital health. Digital eye strain is not the only bad effect of blue light. According to studies, it can also cause long-term health problems and cancer. Today, smartphones and digital devices are essential for many people. For some, it’s hard to let go of habits or to find a new source of entertainment. If you’re one of these people, you must consider buying a screen filter or installing a blue light filter app to your digital device. Prevention is better than cure. So don’t wait for your digital eye strain to lead to complications.