Every day we are exposed to blue light for hours on end during our work and recreational hours, and for those born in the last 10 years or so, exposure has started at a very early age. Blue light is a high-energy wavelength which can have damaging effects to the eye structure if exposed for long periods of time. Reducing your exposure and protecting your eyes is very important to support eye health into the future.
Anatomy of your eye
Your eyes work in a similar way to a camera. Light enters the eye through the cornea and then the pupil. You may have noticed that when your eyes are exposed to varying levels of light, your pupils expand and contract in response. These expansions and contractions are controlled by the colourful iris, a circular structure that controls the amount of light that enters the eye.
After light enters the eye, the light is further focussed as it passes through the lens, located behind the pupil. These varying degrees of light and colour hit the retina at the back of the eye and it’s the retina’s job to send the images we see to our brain (via the optic nerve) in the form of electrical impulses. The retina contains specialised cells known as rods and cones. Rods help to distinguish varying degrees of light and dark, or black and white, whereas cones help to distinguish colour contrast.
The macula is located at the centre of the retina, towards the back of the eye, and it’s primarily involved in our central vision and being able to see fine detail.
Supporting and protecting your eye health
Limiting the amount of time you are exposed to damaging blue light should be a high priority. Bilberry and certain nutrients, including lutein and zeaxanthin, support eye health:
- Bilberry is a well-known herb that contains high concentrations of anthocyanosides, key antioxidant compounds that maintain eye health and reduce free radicals formed in the body.
- Vitamins C, E and zinc and copper provide key antioxidant nutrients that reduce free radicals formed in the body. High levels of vitamin C are found in eye tissue.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high concentrations in the macula (retina) of the eyes and act as filters by absorbing high energy blue light so they help maintain eye macula health. Lutein and zeaxanthin assist eye adaptation to variations in light intensity and night vision, and help to temporarily relieve light sensitivity. See Macu-Guard.