No escape from the artificial blue light — Alexander Goh

NOVEMBER 4 — Entering the time where everything is being digitalised, the latest technologies have been designed to allow us to operate machines in a “smarter” way and provide the maximised convenience to us.

Since the mass use of smartphones, it has become our inseparable tool which we are constantly tapping on it every 5 minutes. Undoubtedly, we are heavily relying on it to complete most of our everyday task, but without realising, it had affected our focus to the surrounding and directly took a toll on our health.

The smartphone is just one of the so-called essential gadgets in the 21st century, there are more gadgets such as our laptop, smartwatch, smart television and tablet.

We are consistently swapping these gadgets in our daily routine for a different purpose from studying, working to leisure activities.

When we are spending more time on technology gadgets for most of the daily activities, it shortens our spare time either to do our hobby or improve our personal development. This results in us neglecting our health and does not exercise enough.

The light source which keeps us productive during the day seems to be the most disruptive at night. The artificial source of blue light emitted from our technology gadgets is sending similar signals of the natural blue light to our brain, assuming that it is still daytime which eventually hampers our sleeping pattern.

A new feature in most of the latest technology gadgets which we can find is the blue light filter. This signifies the impact caused by the artificial blue light to our eyes.

Despite the introduction of this feature, scientifically it could not prove its functionality to reduce the health risk. When we completely filter out the blue light with this function, our screen will turn yellow and the entire colour spectrum will be altered. 

Ordinarily, humans’ brain detects and interprets the natural blue light coming from the sunlight as morning and hence it keeps our mind fresh. Blue wavelengths boost our attention, reaction times, and mood.

At the back of our brain, we have a biological clock which can be also known as the circadian rhythm. It is a cycle between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.

With the large presence of artificial blue light around us, it disrupts and affects our circadian rhythm.

This explains why some of the current younger generations are having sleep deprivation problem. Our smartphone is the first thing they woke up to and the last thing they see before sleeping. 

As productive as the digital workplace could be, it poses a new threat to their employees. They are forced to exposed to artificial blue light for long hours and it makes them face strain eyes and headache. Therefore, they are advised to take a break every 30 minutes interval by looking at natural environment colours.

The easiest method which we could protect our eyes would be cutting down the use of smartphone whenever unnecessary. For example, after work hours, leisure time and family time. We should encourage to have more face to face conversation rather than emphasising on virtual communication as it refines human connections.

Another way of taking a break from the unwanted artificial blue light would be exercising. We could set a fixed hour in a day and make sure that nothing comes in the way of exercising. Running or jogging is one of the best options as there is no need for guidance, all we have to do is start putting on our sports shoe and start running. It keeps us away from the desire of scrolling our smartphones feeds by making it our habit.

Ultimately, the best method is finding a hobby which we can have fun and relax and not needing any technology gadgets. If the smartphones manufacturers acknowledged the harmfulness of artificial blue light, it is time for us to pay attention to this issue and take the preventive measure to protect our own eyes.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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