What Is Blue Light? The Beginners Guide

Blue light is a one of the colours on the visible light spectrum that makes up about one third of all visible light. Blue light is also classified as high-energy visible light (HEV light) due to it being in the short wavelength and is found in 450 to 495 nanometer range.

Light spectrum

Where is Blue Light Found?

The blue light colour range is found emitted in both natural sunlight and also in man-made artificial light sources. Examples of sources of artificial blue light include LED, incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. So, artificial blue light is emitted by indoor and outdoor light bulbs and digital screens from computers, laptops, tablet computers, cellphones and gaming devices.

What Is The Difference Between Sunlight vs Artificial Blue Light?

Colours of a rainbow

The light that comes from the sun contains a wide spectrum of colours of light. When combined this range of colours form what we call white light, also known as sunlight.

Blue light that comes from sunlight is a beneficial entrainer of our natural circadian rhythms, whereas blue light that comes from artificial sources is a disruptor of circadian rhythms thus leading to health issues.

The light that comes from light bulbs doesn't contain the same desired distribution of colours in the short and long wavelengths like sunlight does. LED light typically produces more light in the blue light spectrum and is not balanced out with other colour wavelengths as found in sunlight.

Why is Blue Light a Problem?

Couple watching TV in the dark

Blue light is able to pass through the cornea and lens and reach the retina. This is why both excessive blue light exposure from both sunlight and lightbulbs can be damaging to the eyes.However, the blue light in sunlight is balanced with red light and invisible infrared (IR) light, which has been shown in some studies to heal and repair cellular damage.

This is in contrast to blue light that comes from artificial light sources that is not balanced out by red light and infra-red light wavelengths.

Each type of colour of light contains different amounts of energy. The warmer colours such as red, orange and yellows are low energy and the cooler colours like purple, blue and green all contain high amounts of energy. The highest energy visible light is often called blue-violet light or blue light.

What Are the Negative Effects from Blue Light?

There are many possible negative effects from being exposed to blue light from artificial light sources.

Here is a list of some possible unwanted effects from blue light exposure:

  1. Digital eye strain
  2. Headaches
  3. Disturbed sleep patterns
  4. Possible contribution to forming cataracts
  5. Disturbed circadian rhythm secretion of our melatonin hormone
  6. Possible damage to the retina cells at the back of the eye

Does Blue Light Affect Different in Children vs Adults?

Children's eyes are more sensitive and can absorb more blue light compared to adults. The reason being kids lenses do not filter out as much blue light as adults lenses. Also children's pupils don't constrict as much adults so allow more light to pass through.

Children have up to a 10 fold more circadian photoreception ability compared to an elderly adult and so are more sensitive to circadian light disruption from blue light.

We discuss more how blue light impacts children here.

What Helps Combat Artificial Blue Light?

Man wearing a pair of blue light glasses

We need to learn how to change our lifestyle habits to help mitigate the risks from excessive artificial blue light exposure. There are different ways to help reduce your exposure to blue light.

Here are some things you can consider using to help combat blue light:

Final Thoughts

This article has outlined the basics of blue light, why it is both good or bad for us.

With more people becoming aware of junk light we hope this article has helped provide a basic high level overview on what blue light actually is.

Please feel free to explore our other blogs and pages on our website to learn more about blue light and we hope to welcome you to our family of optimal light beings soon.

Love and Light from BLUBlox.

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