Is your smartphone affecting your eye health?

A new IADSA Mind the Gap resource focuses on the serious harm blue light poses to eye health. The Dark Side of Blue Light explores how our exposure to blue light has surged as a result of the increased use of smartphones, computer monitors and LED lighting. For example, it is estimated that we now spend an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes a day looking at our phones – nearly 50 days every year.

Your smartphone is a source of blue light Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay
Smart phones, computers and energy efficient LED lighting have enriched our lives and delivered many benefits to society. The flipside is a detrimental impact on eye health

Deeply penetrating light

Blue light is more energy-intense than other types of light, which means it can penetrate deep into the eye and, over time, cause irreversible degenerative conditions that may result in blurred vision.

Until now, the irreversible degeneration of macular health has been most likely to start after the age of 50. Worryingly, however, there is evidence emerging that growing numbers of people are being impacted in their 40s.2 There is concern that greater exposure to blue light from smart devices and energy-efficient lighting is to blame.

Macular health

IADSA’s new resource explains that a daily intake of 10mg lutein and 2mg zeaxanthin can help to maintain macular health. However, these levels can be difficult to obtain from the diet. Food supplements offer an alternative source, with most of the lutein and zeaxanthin used in supplements derived from yellow marigold flowers, which are rich in both of these antioxidants.

The Dark Side of Blue Light was developed by IADSA in association with the US Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). US CRN president & CEO Steve Mister comments: “Smart phones, computers and energy efficient LED lighting have enriched our lives and delivered many benefits to society. The flipside is a detrimental impact on eye health. With studies showing that 10mg lutein and 2mg zeaxanthin can help to maintain eye health, including these antioxidants in the diet is a sensible step to take.”

Cynthia Rousselot, director of Technical and Regulatory Affairs at IADSA, added: “Exposure to blue light has increased for people of all ages, which means eye health is no longer a priority only for the elderly. Our new Mind the Gap story brings this issue to life in an engaging and impactful way.”

Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap is an information resource created by IADSA – the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations. It facilitates the sharing of positive stories about the benefits that nutrition offers to consumers all over the world and society at large. It also seeks to fill gaps in our scientific knowledge, while promoting real-life examples of successful national nutrition programmes. Find out more at iadsa.org/mind-the-gap.

Based in London, IADSA is the international association of the food supplement sector, with members from six continents. IADSA is the global platform to guide the evolution of policy and regulation in the sector. Visit iadsa.org for more information.

1. https://blog.rescuetime.com/screen-time-stats-2018/

2. University Medical Centre, Groningen

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