HOUSTON – Most of us can’t live without our cellphones, tablets and laptops.
On average, we spend more than nine hours a day staring at one screen or another. Blue light comes from all of them and doctors say it’s dangerous, especially years from now.
As millennials do, Courtney Soltis can barely let an hour pass without checking in with her electronic community of friends and work.
“I’m on all devices -- tablets, computers, cellphones -- over eight hours a day,” she said.
Soltis started suffering daily headaches and it turned out digital eye strain was the culprit.
“Vision becomes blurry, eyes become fatigued, sometimes red, and it’s very frequent to start getting headaches,” Dr. Alan Mendelsohn said.
Mendelsohn said anyone looking at a screen for more than 30 minutes a day is at risk.
“There’s blue light that’s emitted from digital devices," Mendelsohn said. "That’s high-energy visible light, but it’s harmful, and that’s what causes the digital eye strain."
And if you don’t block that blue light early on, he said, you could be risking macular degeneration down the road.
Alex Bari is at risk for macular degeneration.
“You don’t really want to be at high risk of going blind after the age of 50,” Bari said.
The doctor told Bari the first thing he can do to lower his risk is to distance himself.
“There’s only one-fourth of the exposure holding it two feet versus one foot,” Mendelsohn said.
Mendelsohn said you should also make sure your glasses have blue blocker built in.
“Specifically it’s something called yellow chromophore pigment that’s embedded in the lens.”
It’s more expensive, but Mendelsohn said it’s worth it.
“We want to prevent the macular degeneration," he said "It’s a preventable thing."
Some insurance companies cover the cost of the blue blocker. Otherwise, it’s around $100 depending on the prescription.
Mendelson said it’s also important to protect children’s vision, saying they should watch screens from at least three feet away.