Worries Regarding Blue Light Exposure & New Screen Safety Standards

February 13, 2023

People are using screens for longer hours. For those who suffer from cluster headaches, spending prolonged periods in front of a screen may exacerbate their symptoms, and lead to various eye disorders like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and even eye cancer. It appears that most harms occur due to excessive exposure to blue light. Therefore, the industry has now come up with a rating of screens called the RPF scale (Radiance Protection Factor scale). This will help consumers choose screens that are relatively safer for prolonged use.

Spending a couple of hours in front of the screen is absolutely fine. However, people are not made to spend tens of hours in front of the screen each day for years together. In addition, people are exposed to different kinds of screens like computers, televisions, mobile phones, and more. These screens appear to transmit excessive blue light, causing much harm.

However, in most cases, reducing screen time is not an option. People cannot stop watching television or using mobile devices. Using laptops is essential in most cases, as people need to work for longer hours. Researchers say that the problem is quite similar to exposure to UV rays. The human body produces vitamin D when exposed to UV rays. Thus, UV exposure for a certain duration is good enough. However, prolonged UV exposure also causes skin cancer.

Similarly, some exposure to blue light is good and relaxing. However, prolonged exposure to blue light harms health and is particularly bad for eye health. Studies suggest prolonged blue light exposure is causing retinal damage, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), eye cancer, and many other issues.Fortunately, now the industry is responding to the challenge by fine-tuning screens. Some new screens made by various manufacturers now transmit less blue light. In addition, they are now certified by adopting the Eyesafe® Certification 2.0.

Consequently, industry specialists have come up with an Eyesafe rating, quite like SPF for UV protection creams. This will enable consumers to choose the right kind of screens that are safer for prolonged use.

However, one of the problems is that consumers are still unaware of these eye safety standards. If consumers remain unaware, they are less likely to look for it when choosing any gadget. Therefore, for the industry to adopt these standards on a broader scale, it is vital that people know more about the eye safety rating of various screens. Once people start looking for it, and it becomes critical in their choice of gadgets, the industry will adopt these standards even at a larger scale to ensure eye-safe screens.

Eye safety is becoming more important, considering that even children need to use these gadgets. Additionally, more and more people are working from home, thus an increased need to realize the threat posed by excessive blue light exposure. Furthermore, in recent years, the number of hours people spend in front of a screen has grown considerably.

The new safety standard rates screens on the RPF scale (Radiance Protection Factor scale). It is quite similar to SPF for UV ray protection for the skin. It rates gadgets from 0 to 100, with 35 being the minimal score needed to get a passing certificate. Of course, the higher the RPF, the better or safer the screen for vision health. Researchers say that once consumers become aware of the rating, such kind of rating would make choosing gadgets simpler. Therefore, people must start looking into these ratings when choosing devices with screens.

Here it is vital to understand that people generally look for different kinds of features when choosing gadgets. For example, for photographers, the monitor’s color accuracy is more important than anything. However, for gamers and students, RPF should be a more important factor when choosing gadgets.

By Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA, MHP