If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably found yourself spending a huge amount of time watching screens since the coronavirus outbreak. Binging TV, Zoom calls with friends and family, working from home on laptops, and checking new sites for COVID-related updates – it’s been a screen-heavy time for many of us.
Although this increase in screen time is understandable, especially if you’re working from home, but it has been well established that prolonged screen time can have an effect on your eye health due to increased exposure to blue light1.
So what is blue light and how can it affect our eyes?
Sunlight is the main source of blue light, and being outdoors during daylight is where we get the most intense exposure to it. However, the display screens of computers, tablets, smartphones and other digital devices also emit significant amounts of blue light and we are usually exposed to these devices over a much longer period of time than sunlight.
Along with UV light, blue light has a high energy with high potential to cause damage to the eye. Unlike UV which is blocked and filtered by the lens and cornea at the front of the eye, we know that blue light penetrates the cornea and lens and can cause visual disturbances and long-term damage to the light-sensitive cells in the macula.
The macula is a specialised area of the retina at the back of our eye that controls nearly 90% of our detailed central vision (used for reading, writing, driving, cooking and seeing faces). If damaged over time from blue light exposure (known as photo-oxidation), and oxidative stress from the normal ageing process, the macula can suffer damage and negative effects that are both short-term and long-term.
Long Term Risks
Long term, eye doctors are concerned that the added blue light exposure from our screens can increase a person’s risk of developing cataracts, dry eye and a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a condition that causes a person to lose their central vision and is the leading cause of blindness in people in Ireland over the age of 50.
Short Term Effects
Short term, we are likely to suffer from digital eye strain, with symptoms that unfortunately might ring a bell such as tired eyes, headaches, dry eyes, loss of focus, eye twitching and blurred vision. Also, blue light exposure has a direct negative effect on our visual performance. Put simply, the macula cannot use blue light as we have no light receptors for blue light at the centre of our macula and this results with light being scattered causing sub-optimal vision.
How can MacuPrime help?
Being realistic none of us can fully avoid our screens, and it goes without saying that we need to take regular breaks away from the screen (advice is every 20 mins) and drink lots of water, but what else can we do to help protect our eyes from increased blue light exposure?
You may have heard of the glasses you can wear to help block blue light, but what is fascinating is that nature has already provided us with natural protection from blue light in the form of a protective layer called macular pigment.
Natural Sun Block – Macular Pigment
Science has shown that plant nutrients called carotenoids naturally gather and concentrate at the back of our eyes, forming a protective yellow layer in front of our macula called the macular pigment.
Scientists from the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have proven that our eyes need 10mg Lutein, 10mg Meso-Zeaxanthin and 2mg Zeaxanthin, as contained in MacuPrime, to successfully rebuild macular pigment in our eyes, protect against AMD and improve vision2,3.
This protective macular pigment acts like a powerful natural sun block, filtering blue light inside the eyes and protecting our macula from damage.
However, if not nourished with the right quantity of carotenoids every day, the protective barrier breaks down when exposed to blue light, sun light and oxidative stress from ageing.
Now we know carotenoids are crucial in keeping our macular pigment at optimum levels – where can we find them? Unfortunately, our bodies cannot produce carotenoids so the only way to get them is through our diet by eating green leafy vegetables and rainbow fruits.
Sadly with the nutritional quality of food dropping world-wide, it is nearly impossible to get enough carotenoids from diet alone.
MacuPrime food supplements can help boost your diet with these critical carotenoids to rebuild and keep your macular pigment at optimum levels. Taken every day, MacuPrime has been proven in Irish clinical studies to deliver the exact amount of the three carotenoids needed to rebuild the protective macular pigment, filtering blue light and protecting the eye from oxidative stress1,2.
MacuPrime Supplement vs Diet alone
While we will always advocate eating a healthy varied diet of fruit and vegetables, we would need to eat 1.7 cups of kale, 11,904 whole trout and 1.8 cups of orange pepper every day, to get the amount of carotenoids present in MacuPrime that have been shown to be effective in the Waterford Institute of Technology studies. All natural and safe for consumption, as shown by numerous studies.
Isn’t it good to know that not only is there an easy way to protect our eyes from damaging blue light but at the same time we can protect our eyes from developing conditions like AMD in the future.
Food Supplements should not be used to replace a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle.
- 1. Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance, Sleep Quality, and Adverse Physical Symptoms in Those with High Screen Time Exposure” Stringham, et al Foods, 2017 2. Enrichment of Macular Pigment Enhances Contrast Sensitivity in Subjects Free of Retina Disease: Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials – Report 1, Nolan et al, IOVS, 2016. 3.The Impact of Supplemental Antioxidants on Visual Function in Nonadvanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Head-to-Head Randomized Clinical Trial” Akuffo, et al IOVS, 2017.