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 prolong your eye health into the future.
Anatomy of your eye
Your eye works 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 pupil expands and contracts in response. These expansions and contractions are controlled by the colourful iris, a circular structure that controls the amount of light that enters your eye.
After light enters your eye, the light is further focussed as it passes through the lens, located behind your pupil. These varying degrees of light and colour hit the retina at the back of the eye and it’s the retinas job is 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. If the macula is compromised, blind spots may appear in your central field of vision and your ability to read, drive and recognise faces will be affected.
Supporting and protecting your eye health
Limiting the amount of time you are exposed to damaging blue light should be your number one priority. Bilberry and certain nutrients may also help to support eye health.
- Bilberry is a well-known herb that contains high concentrations of anthocyanosides, key antioxidant compounds that help support healthy eye function and vision, and help to protect and maintain the health of the eye macula.
- Vitamins C, E and zinc provide key antioxidant nutrients to maintain eye health and to protect the eyes from free radical damage.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help protect the eyes from free radical damage and are found in high concentrations in the macula (retina) of the eyes and help protect and maintain eye tissue. Lutein and zeaxanthin protect the eyes as they act as filters by absorbing high energy blue light and support eye health when using electronic screen devices such as phones and computers.