How do I protect children from blue light?
We recommend using several approaches to minimize blue light because at this time there are no standards in place to ensure products block 100% of blue light.
- Minimize children’s daily exposure to screens. Find other forms of entertainment for young children that don’t include screens and model healthy screen habits for your children.
- Give screens a bedtime. Doctors recommend turning screens off at least two hours before a child goes to sleep.
- Use a blue light blocker covering for all your computer/laptop/tablet screens including cell phones. There are thin films you can attach to the screen of your computer or laptop and then also a 100% blue blocker of hard thick plastic at night.
- Download a program onto your device that will automatically reduce blue light at night. Be aware that these programs only reduce blue light during evening hours. Our expert state that software programs should also be supplemented by a blue blocking covering over the screen because the programs may not fully eliminate blue light.
- Use light blocking curtains in the bedroom to block out artificial light from outdoors.
- You can also use blue lightblocking glasses when you are working on the computer. However, be aware that eyeglasses do not protect the skin, so it is best to cover the entire screen with a blue blocking screen.
This is issue is a challenging one because the solutions we have do not fully eliminate artificial blue light. We believe that companies need to step forward and develop screens without harmful blue light.
Things to Know
Children are more susceptible than adults to eye damage from blue light because their eyes are still developing.The lens of a childs eye allows more blue light to reach the retina than an adult. The American Optometric Association states that while more research is needed on the long term consequences: “Children may be at higher risk for blue light retinal damage than adults.”
Research has found that exposure to blue light, especially in the evenings, can disrupt sleep rhythms. “Cellular telephone, tablet and personal computer use before bedtime can delay sleep onset, degrade sleep quality and impair alertness the following day,” according to the American Optometric Association. “Extended use of these devices has also been shown to cause symptoms of dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches.”
In addition to impacting sleep, blue light is associated with numerous other health effects.
- Animal and human studies suggest that exposure to light at night may disrupt sleep patterns and decrease melatonin, which may disturb estrogen regulation, leading to increased breast cancer risk (James et al., 2017).
- A 2020 study linked outdoor blue light at night to colon cancer. (Garcia-Saenz et al., 2020). Animal studies have found blue light linked to depression-like effects (Meng et al 2018). Research from Oregon State University suggests that the blue light could damage cells in the brain as well as retinas (Nash et al., 2019).
- A study of artificial blue light on human skin found effects similar to that of the UV rays of the sun (Nakashima et al 2017).