Blue Light from Digital Devices May Cause Eye Strain

Young man viewing digital tablet.

Blue light is everywhere. It is one of the colors that enriches the beauty of the world around us. It comes from the sun, fluorescent and LED lights, and flat-screen TVs. However, blue light also is emitted from digital devices. Since the pandemic, people are spending more and more hours using their smartphones, tablets and gaming systems. Medical experts are concerned that blue light from these devices could hurt people’s eyesight. Consider how blue light from digital devices may cause eye strain and affect vision.


Eye doctors report an increase in the number of patients complaining of dry, irritated eyes, headaches and blurred vision. These all are symptoms of digital fatigue syndrome, also known as computer vision syndrome. Health professionals believe the blue light and extended use of digital devices may be the source. Too much blue, especially in the evening, can disrupt your natural sleep cycle. It can keep you awake, leading to sleeping problems and daytime fatigue.


Prolonged exposure to blue light is concerning to medical professionals, because the color blue is at the highest energy spectrum of visible light. This energy level can pierce through the eye’s natural light filters and injure muscles and tissues. Damage from blue light is cumulative, so over time there’s higher risk for vision problems and diseases, such as macular degeneration, the loss of central vision.

Extensive use

The Vision Council reports that digital eye strain occurs after two or more hours of viewing a digital screen. This includes computers, tablets and smartphones. Due to the pandemic, American adults spend nearly 8 hours daily using digital devices. This is an increase of almost 15% from 2019.

The harmful effects of blue light can be managed by blinking regularly, and taking frequent breaks. Eye professionals recommend following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

If you spend several hours daily working on computers, you may benefit from computer eyeglasses, which are designed to screen out blue light.


Take time away from digital devices each day, including TV, to rest your brain. This is especially important for children. Their growing brains need time to sort and strengthen visual-spatial pathways necessary for developing practical problem-solving skills.

During the pandemic, children’s use of digital devices increased dramatically. Because of this, doctors are concerned that kids may experience a variety of vision problems. These include eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision and nearsightedness. Learn why eye doctors believe the cause is related to the use of digital devices.

If there’s too much blue light in your life, check out Forbes’ top 10 list of blue light blocking glasses. Plus, you can activate the blue light filter display setting on your digital devices and TV screens, especially at night.

American Academy of Ophthalmology