By Sean Hotchkiss
Since COVID-19 landed in Los Angeles last week, I, like many of us, have been logging more screen-time. Much of what I fill my day with - from coaching sessions with clients to hangouts with friends, even dating, have transferred over to FaceTime or Zoom, the popular video conferencing platform. (Buy some stock in Zoom, people, they’re thriving.) All the creativity that’s happening around finding ways to connect during the global quarantines is inspiring. It’s making many of us realize how precious our time with loved ones, colleagues, and friends can be.
But what’s all that extra screen time doing to us?
Our friends at ZEISS, who make the best damn lenses in the world, tell us that the extra screen time on smartphones, tablets, and laptops means more exposure to blue light (also called HEV or high-energy visible light), which can lead to symptoms like painful inflammation of the conjunctiva and cornea, damage to the eye's crystalline lens, and to the retina. See, artificial blue light penetrates deep into the eye in a way UV light from the sun can’t. So, the more time we spend FaceTiming, Instagramming, and swapping Corona stats with friends means we’re also potentially harming our vision.
Blue light doesn’t affect all of us the same way. Some of us are more sensitive to it than others: it makes us restless at night, or irritates, dries out, or tires our eyes. Checking our laptop or phone in a dark room or outside at dusk or nighttime actually shifts our eyes to a different mode of vision, so blue light instantly becomes more harsh. (Ever been on the road at night and been blinded by a sports car coming the other way with new LED or xenon lights? That’s a dramatic effect of what happens when we pick up our iPhone in the dark.) For me, it’s impossible to sleep with my smartphone near my bed. If I’m scrolling anytime before or after I’m asleep it drastically changes my mood. Some of us don’t feel the affects of blue light at all, though, while others may even get a lift from it — that’s why light therapy is a thing.
It can all be kinds of confusing, but if you’re someone who gets negatively affected by blue light, you know it. And blue-blocking clear lenses can help ease the daily grind of having to be tethered to a screen. DuraVision BlueProtect from ZEISS is a lens coating for clear lenses that can be applied as an additional layer to create blue light blocking glasses. The coating attunes all blue light coming into our fields to the friendly zone of 380 to 450 nm, which can actually be good for us. (It’s the kind of artificial light used to treat winter depression and Insomnia.) The coating is totally clear - so you won’t be able to tell the difference from any other pair of glasses you own. It’s also super easy to clean, and can be worn all day, unless you’re popping on your sunnies for the daily walk, hike, or run that keeps all of us here in Southern California sane.
Blue blocking lenses are available as an option on all pairs of GLCO glasses and sunglasses. Screen time is increasing in these uncertain times, but thanks to ZEISS, your eyes will be good to go.