Blue light syndrome – is it that bad?

Blue light syndrome – is it that bad?

by Pamela Ng 26 Feb 2020

We’ve all heard the advice on minimising screen time – that is, spending less time staring at our smartphones, tablets, TVs, etc.. The idea is that engaging with screens heightens neural activity, which makes it harder to fall asleep and can even mask fatigue.

But what’s this got to do with blue light?


In the visible light spectrum, blue light has the highest energy level and is what’s emitted from most digital screens. There is no way to avoid it completely (unless you live in underground), but decreasing exposure to blue light may do you some good. At the same time though, not all blue light is bad. Here is the breakdown of the pros and cons of blue light:




1. Therapeutic

Light therapy uses a high amount of blue light, and the treatment can be used to alleviate seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that arises due to a change in seasons.


2. Improves brain function

Adequate exposure to blue light is essential to general well-being. Studies have found that the high-energy visible light can increase alertness, enhance memory and cognitive functions, and also improves your mood.



1. Disrupt sleep cycle

While blue light helps to regulate circadian rhythm (the body’s natural state of wakefulness and sleep cycle), too much of it can disrupt the cycle. This can cause one to be unable to fall asleep at night, thus resulting in fatigue in the day.


2. Increase risk of macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the part of the eye that controls acute vision. Blue light has high energy and can penetrate the eye, so too much of it can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. This changes the eye in a way that is very similar to that of macular degeneration which can potentially cause permanent loss of vision.


3. Digital eye strain

Digital devices emit a fair amount of blue light and can cause eyes to strain. With that, one will experience unpleasant symptoms such as pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache, and sometimes even double vision. Wearing computer glasses may help to alleviate the strain and increase comfort for the eyes.


More and more people these days are requiring glasses, and long hours in front of digital devices may be the reason why. Yet, we are bound to technology, whether for work or leisure purposes. While some form of blue light is good, the negative effects of it should be lessened, and one of the ways is by using protective eyewear or just setting a daily limit or curfew. You only have one pair of eyes after all; protect it as best you can!