Exposure to Screen Light Can Cause Insomnia – Optometrists

Posted on: Wed 18-05-2022

An optometrist and chief consultant at Access One Eye Centre in Lagos, Abraham Omeh and an intern optometrist, Prisca Ikechukwu, have warned that a high-level exposure to blue light from screen devices will lead to eye strain and insomnia.

In an interview with our correspondent, Omeh, cautioned that a prolonged stare at the screen could trigger digital eye strain, as well as insomnia.

Omeh explained that blue light was naturally produced by the Sun, saying it was also produced by devices that relied on light-emitting diode technology, including computer screens, laptop screens, electronic notebooks, smart phone screens, flat-screen television, tablets, which use high amounts of blue light.

He said, “The electromagnetic spectrum consists of light with various wavelengths, some we can see and others we cannot see.

“The visible light is what we can see, and it is made up of the following colours: green, yellow, orange, red, violet, indigo, and blue.

“The shorter the wavelength, the greater amount of energy that it produces and releases.’’

Omeh said that blue light had the highest energy colour and with a very short wavelength.

He said this implied it would produce greater emission, which allowed it to penetrate the cornea, the lens, and the retina tissues of the ocular system.

“In the advent of artificial light, humans tend to stay up longer on the screens from phones, laptops, and TV sets; this process allows blue light to mess up with the release of melatonin, which then alters the circulation rhythm (sleep and wake time), by reducing the production of melatonin.

“This prolonged exposure will then increase the sleep time of the individual, thereby not letting the individual get proper sleep, leading to insomnia, and can also lead to depression and mental health issues,” he said.

Also speaking, Ikechukwu, affirmed that a high level of blue light exposure from prolonged use of screen devices could trigger insomnia in the long run.

She said, “Blue light in the evening tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime, which inhibits the production of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) and thus reduces the quality and quantity of sleep.”

Ikechukwu advised people to practice the 20-20-20 rule, a technique she said could help protect against digital eye strain.

“While using a device that emits blue light, stop every 20 minutes to focus on objects 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, before going back to work on your devices.

“This will help reduce the digital eye strain,” she urged.