Here's help with blue light awareness for workers
Those of us of a certain age are lucky enough to remember “Blue Light Specials,” those exciting, surprise moments when a flashing blue light signaled an unbeatable bargain for shoppers in what used to be one of America’s leading discount department stores.
These days, blue light isn’t such a rare treat; it’s part of our everyday lives. In particular, blue light plays a major role in most workplaces thanks to a heavy reliance on PCs, tablets and smart phones – not to mention LED lights hanging above our desks. And if your workforce spends a lot of time outdoors, the sun is exposing them to as much, if not more blue light, as those who are indoors much of the time. That’s why March—Workplace Eye Wellness Month—is an ideal time to talk to your employees about the health risks of overexposure to blue light and eye health in general.
Who invented blue light?
Both Mother Nature and humankind are responsible. Blue light rays are part of the naturally occurring visible light spectra in sunlight as well as in indoor man-made innovations – like the ones you’re using to read this now or illuminate your work in the office.
The science around blue light’s effects is still developing, but research shows a link between prolonged exposure to blue light from digital screens and the increase in patients reporting digital eye strain, as well as the increasing frequency of age-related macular degeneration and other eye damage. It’s also been shown that artificial blue light exposure near bedtime can compromise overall health and well-being by disrupting our natural sleep rhythms.
Consider these facts:
- The average person spending more than 7 hours daily in front of a digital screen – from the smart phone you check in the morning (and throughout the day) to the screen you use to work and the television programs you relax with in the evening.
- Nearly 70% of Millennials (now the largest segment of the U.S. workforce) report symptoms of digital eye strain, and it doesn’t stop there.
- Almost 1/4 of children spend more than 3 hours a day using digital devices, which means your next generation of employees might be suffering from more eye health issues before they even join your team.
What can you do about it?
It doesn’t take a flashing light and a sale to make your employees feel special! A little communication goes a long way.
- Take some time this month to encourage employees to make use of the vision benefits they’ve enrolled in, not only for existing issues but also for preventative care. Remind them of the value of their vision benefit coverage.
Eye exams are a must, even for those who don’t need vision correction since eye doctors can detect early signs of many health conditions that may go unnoticed if employees aren’t getting regular health checkups with their physicians.
Most vision plans include an eye exam as well as coverage for some or all of their eyewear expenses—including blue light-filtering lenses. EyeMed benefits cover multiple options for eye doctors to prescribe lenses with blue light-filtering technology. That includes options like photochromic lenses with blue light filtering capability, such as Transitions® lenses, which are clear indoors, then activate and darken to protect your eyes outdoors.
- In your communications, link to vision health content designed for consumers and members on eyesiteonwellness.com, our award-winning vision health and wellness site. It gives easy-to- understand information plus fun, interactive ways to learn about vision health.
- Make the month of March the start of ongoing eye health engagement for employees. Check out our wellness content calendar for employers. Every month, you’ll find 3 great pieces of content ready to share with your employees.
Although this kind of blue light doesn’t signify a bargain in the store, your employees might end up saving money by protecting their vision against future complications when they learn about potential dangers now.