Blue light: Screen protection strategies

Given the number of hours users currently spend looking at screens — five hours per day on average — solutions offering protection from the harmful effects of blue light (sleep disturbances, myopia, hyperactivity in children) are increasing in the consumer market.

Research has established a link between exposure to the artificial blue light emitted by screens and problems with sleep and vision (myopia, ARMD), as well as attention deficit and hyperactivity (ADHD) issues in young children.

In the US children aged 8-10 spend on average 6 hours a day in front of a screen, kids aged 11-14 spending 9, and adults spend on average over 10 hours a day across devices.

Blue-light-filtering glasses

In light of such findings, applications and software first of all came to market. One of the most widely known is F.lux for iPad and iPhone, which warms up the display’s color temperature, giving the screen a yellower overtone for a less harsh effect. Twilight for Android serves a similar propose, automatically adjusting the effect in relation to sunrise and sunset times. Finally, some smartphones and computers have built-in blue-light filtering or dimming modes to reduce the intensity of blue light emitted.

Glasses are another option. Some opticians now make corrective lenses with built-in blue-light filtering for under-16-year-olds. These have the added advantage of not altering the appearance of the original colors. Some brands have also developed blue-light-filtering glasses for people who don’t need corrective lenses.

Plastic films applied to screens

Meanwhile brands such as RetinaGuard, Rosco, Ocushield and Rosco, among many others, sell blue light screen protectors designed to fit onto devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets with varying claims as to percentage of blue light blocked out.