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August 2, 2017
DAVID NIELD 8/1/2017
We've seen many studies showing how bad late-night phone-checking is for our bodies, but new research confirms it – it's just not worth the hit your sleep quality takes for those last few minutes on Twitter or Facebook.
Participants in the new study were given special glasses that block blue light from devices like phones and televisions, and were then asked to carry on with their usual "digital routine" late at night.
They all ended up falling asleep faster, sleeping better, and sleeping longer than normal.
What's more, the researchers from the University of Houston found that levels of melatonin – the hormone released when our bodies think it's time to sleep – got boosted by 58 percent when the blue light-blocking glasses were worn.
That's a bigger boost than you would get from over-the-counter melatoninsupplements.
"The most important takeaway is that blue light at night time really does decrease sleep quality," says lead researcher Lisa Ostrin. "Sleep is very important for the regeneration of many functions in our body."
Blue light isn't inherently dangerous, and we get most of it from sunlight.
It boosts our alertness and regulates our internal body clock, by activating photoreceptors in the eyes called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells(ipRGCs), which then suppress the production of melatonin.
The problem comes when this is happening late at night – essentially our bodies think it's still daytime, not time to doze off. That means we get low-quality sleep, and less of it.
This particular study only involved 22 participants, but despite the relatively small sample size, it's just the latest in a growing body of evidence that says using electronic devices late at night is a serious health problem. It really is time to change our habits.
Even the tech companies are catching on: night modes that cut down on blue light are now built into iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android, though if you're using a Google-powered phone the exact setting and setup process varies depending on the make and model.
Disrupted sleep is starting to become a real problem too: according to 2014 figures from the National Sleep Foundation in the US, based on 1,253 adults, up to 35 percent of us are getting sleep that's only "fair" or "poor".
45 percent of Americans said that poor or insufficient sleep had impacted their daily activities at least once in the last week.
That's not all down to blue light, but we know that a lack of sleep is bad for our health in all kinds of ways: research from earlier this year showed that when the brain doesn't get enough rest, it starts to clear out more neurons and synapses than it needs to.
Maybe it's time to step away from the keyboard earlier so that we'll be more productive the morning after.
But if you really can't cut out your late-night Instagram checking or Netflix watching, which are likely to keep your brain active besides suppressing melatonin, then a blue light filter is going to be the next best thing.
The researchers themselves suggest using blue light blockers like they did in their own experiment is the way to go if you want to keep busy.
"By using blue blocking glasses we are decreasing input to the photoreceptors, so we can improve sleep and still continue to use our devices," says Ostrin. "That's nice, because we can still be productive at night."
The findings have been published in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics.
Ever worry about how your computer habits can affect your life? You should, because blue light has been shown to disrupt your sleep cycles, delaying the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep. Please check out Ontario Association of Optometrist's video Sleepless | Are Screens Keeping You Awake? to learn more. There are a few ways to reduce the amount of blue light exposure from using your devices. You can purchase glasses with an anti-reflective coating that filters the blue light, reducing the amount that reaches your eyes.
In addition to those blue light AR-coating glasses, you can do a few tricks on your PC/Mac, Android, or iOS devices that reduce the emission of blue light. Generally, these will remove blue light from showing on your screen, which leads to softer and yellower light that is easier on your eyes. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to set up a blue light filter for your device:
The best, and easiest solution is a program that you can install called f.lux . This program is great because it is so easy to set up. Based on your location that you enter, f.lux will automatically pick up on when the sun sets and rises to turn on or off the blue light filter.
It's seriously that simple. There are settings where you can adjust the colour of the filters but I don't recommend playing around with it. Also, you can disable the filter for one hour when you need to do colour-sensitive work, such as graphics design, or watching videos. You can access all of this in in the System Tray on Windows:
Mac OS X 10.12.4
I recently learned that Mac OS X 10.12.4 has a native Night Shift filter as well. Make sure your Mac has Sierra OS X 10.12.4 and is one of the following :
- MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
- Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
- iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
- Apple LED Cinema Display
- Apple Thunderbolt Display
- LG UltraFine 5K Display
- LG UltraFine 4K Display
- Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Displays.
- Click on the Night Shift tab
You can adjust the schedule and colour on this screen. You can also control Night Shift from the notification centre as well:
IPhone/IPad (IOS 9.3)
Please make sure your iPhone/iPad is on iOS 9.3 to use their native feature.
- On the home screen, swipe up from the bottom to open the control centre
- Tap on the Night Shift Icon on the shortcuts row
This will automatically set your device to turn on Night Shift when the sun sets to when the sun rises.
If you want to customize your Night Shift features, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift. On the same screen, you can schedule a time for Night Shift to turn on automatically and adjust color temperature.
Perhaps this is the trickiest one to do if you aren't tech-savvy, but it is possible and I will walk you through it! You will have several options depending on what version of Android you are running, and whether or not you are rooted. I will give my best recommendation depending on which version you are running.
Android Running 6.0 And Under (No Root):
- The easiest way to install a blue light filter would be to use an app called an Twilight, which you can download from the Play Store here
- After installing, you can open the app to pause/resume filtering, adjust the colour/intensity/brightness of the filter, and adjust the filtering times to work with your sunrise/sunset location
- You can also drag down the notification centre to quickly pause/resume Twilight, and access the settings from there
Android Running 7.0+ (No Root Required):
This is my favourite and current way of filtering blue light because its a feature that is native to the Android operating system. Please make sure you are running Android Nougat (7.0+) to have this work.
1. Enable the "System UI Tuner" by dragging down the notification tray (swipe down twice fully) and press and hold the little gear icon in the top right corner for settings for 10 seconds until it says "Congrats! System UI Tuner has been added to settings".
2. Head to the Play Store and install Night Mode Enabler from here
3. Run the application and click "Enable Night Mode". It should take you to another screen and then in the System UI Tuner set the slider to "On"
4. From here, you can adjust the time & location settings, tints, and brightness of the filter
Android With Root:
I don't have much to say about this section because only a small portion of the population has a rooted Android phone. As a root user myself, I do have a few recommendations for my tech-savvy readers! My favourite root app for blue light filter is C.F Lumen . This app actually works without root as well, but it does not work as well as when it is in root mode. There's a lot of customization that you play around with in this setting and I don't normally recommend it to the average user unless they wish to explore it. Also, f.lux made an Android app if you wish to try that out as well, but it only works in rooted Android devices.
I hope you found my post helpful in giving you less eyestrain from using devices throughout the day. I am positive that anyone who owns a device with a screen can benefit from having a blue light filter installed
See the original post here https://www.whatoptometristsdo.com/blog/
Here is a great article written by the American Optometric Association back in 2015.
Summer's unofficial start is just days away as pools and recreational getaways ready for the season, offering doctors a prime opportunity for discussing contact lens hygiene around water.
Americans will flock to local pools, waterparks, or larger bodies of water to escape the summer heat. However, contact lens wearers sometimes break important sanitation rules and risk infection by wearing their contact lenses around water, which often contains bacteria.
Did you know? According to the AOA’s American Eye-Q® Survey, nearly a quarter of those surveyed admit to swimming in their contact lenses. Water often contains bacteria that can cause eye infections.
According to the FDA and the AOA, contact lenses should not be exposed to any kind of water, including tap water and water in showers—53 percent of contact lens wearers say they shower while wearing their lenses, according to AOA’s American Eye-Q® Survey.
“Contact lenses are like sponges and will absorb whatever is in the water, including any chemicals or bacteria that may be present,”
Contact lenses accidently get splashed with water? Use artificial tears to lubricate and float the lens on the eye, wash and dry your hands and remove the lens, then clean and disinfect the lens with fresh sterile solution, or if it is a disposable lens throw it away.
Spending the day at the pool? If more pain or redness is observed in the eyes than normal after being in the pool, call an optometrist as soon as possible.
Did you know? UV protection is especially important around water. Sand and water at the beach, for instance, can reflect an additional 25 percent of UV rays, increasing the risk of damage to one’s eyes. The AOA recommends wearing sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
“Even just a few hours of intense exposure to sunlight out by the pool or beach could cause photokeratitis, known as a ‘sunburn of the eye,’ which can cause red eyes, a foreign-body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing,”
For swimming, water skiing or other sports, well-fitted prescription goggles that offer vision correction may be an option offered by an optometrist. Another route may be a durable, expertly fitted pair of prescription sun eyewear, which not only provides vision correction but also protects against harmful UV rays
In case of an ocular emergency, an optometrist can help prevent an eye infection or other serious damage from occurring. The eye doctor can answer questions over the telephone and recommend an office or emergency room visit for care.
Whether aiming to champion the tallest water slide or set a new goal on water skis, remember to practice good hygiene and safety with contact lenses and visit your optometrist annually, or more often if directed, to ensure your eyes are healthy.