Meeting Minutes 11/5/2019

At our meeting on November 5, Dr. Yuhas from the Ohio State College of Optometry taught us about blue light exposure. It gave great insight into ophthalmic research and how to respond to concerns regarding blue light from devices such as computers and smart phones. We would like to thank Dr. Yuhas for talking with us and teaching us more about blue light!In the discussion, Dr. Yuhas shared that there have been various headlines stating that blue light could expedite blindness. Blue light is thought to be dangerous and damaging because it has a short wavelength and emits a higher amount of energy in comparison to the rest of the visible light spectrum. There have been various studies that examined the effects of blue light exposure on conditions such as macular degeneration. However, an issue with some of these is that they take retinal cells out of their natural environment of the eye and are conducted in vitro where there are not neuroprotective pathways. Other studies have demonstrated that sunlight probably doesn’t cause macular degeneration, so it is highly unlikely that electronic devices that are magnitudes less in brightness cause it. However, if someone is using an electronic device late at night right before going to bed then these devices could negatively affect sleep. Light regulates the human circadian rhythm, which is like the body’s master clock. Therefore, using a bright phone right before going to bed reduces the melatonin that is produced and disrupts quality of sleep. It is been observed that using an electronic device directly before bedtime can delay when an individual goes to sleep and reduce their amount of REM sleep. It has also been found that blue light likely does not cause digital eye strain. It is actually more likely due to the fact that people blink less when looking at electronic devices such as computers. There is also no good scientific evidence that blue blocking products are useful to enhance sleep quality or macular health.

Thank you again, Dr. Yuhas, for teaching us the facts about blue light exposure and for helping us understand the studies conducted on the topic.