If you remember your school science lessons, you’ll probably already know that light comes in a spectrum. That’s why, when you refract light through a prism, it separates into different shades. What you may not remember from school is the fact that blue light is especially harmful to your eyes, especially over the long term.
Unlike red light at the other end of the light spectrum, blue light is composed of shorter wavelengths with a higher frequency. This means that the light vibrates with more energy, which is potentially more harmful to our eyes.
Generated by the sun, smartphones, computer screens, TVs and artificial lighting, blue light is everywhere – and it’s pretty much inescapable. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Fortunately, our eyes have an inbuilt system to protect us from the vibrations of blue light. Known as the macula, this “system” has a yellow pigment which filters out blue light, helping to keep our eyesight safe.
Unfortunately, this system isn’t foolproof. Macular degeneration is a common condition, often triggered by long-term exposure to blue light. In its early stages, the effects of macular degeneration are almost invisible, but as the condition progressively worsens it can cause serious impairment in your vision – and even blindness.
It’s more Common than you Think…
A whopping one in ten people over the age of 65 are affected by age-related macular degeneration, while three in ten people over the age of 75 are also affected by the condition. But is macular degeneration an inevitable part of aging? Or are there steps we can take to look after the health of our eyes and our macula?
Is there a Cure?
A fresh study from Harvard University believes there is a solution to age-related macula degeneration. The answer, they claim, is to consume more of certain fruits and vegetables – and no, we’re not talking about eating carrots to help you “see in the dark”.
Instead, the researchers recommend that we all incorporate more lutein and zeaxanthin into our diets. Found in especially high quantities in leafy greens and well-known superfoods, these crucial macula-protecting ingredients have been shown to reduce the chance of developing the condition by 40%. The detailed survey followed the lifestyles and ocular health of 102,046 individuals over the course of 20 years, giving the results serious credence.
So which vegetables and fruits should you be tucking into to protect your vision?
The ultimate ocular-health boosting superfood, this tasty leafy green contains 18.3mg of lutein and zeaxanthin per 100g.
Grow a little crop on your windowsill and enjoy your produce in salads and sandwiches to benefit from the 12.5mg of lutein and zeaxanthin 100g of this greenery contains.
With 12.2mg of the good stuff in raw spinach and 11.3mg in cooked leaves, this is a versatile eye health-boosting ingredient.
Cook these dinnertime staples up with your next meal to imbibe 2.6mg of goodness per 100g of peas.
Tired of all that greenery, 100g of squash contains 2.2mg of lutein and zeaxanthin, perfect if you fancy a soup or stew this winter!
Blue-light is everywhere especially if you work requires you to stare at a computer all day long. Then most of us go home and spend ample amounts in front of the television or on our cell phone. It is important that you do what you can to protect your eyes from blue light as much as possible so that you avoid macular degeneration.