Digital eye strain isn’t just a fad. Like any health hazards that resulted from the prolonged use of electronic devices, it is a problem that you should be aware of. And if you happen to be a chronic user of your smartphone, the blue light it emits can lead to bigger problems.
So yes, those blue light filter apps you’ve seen but haven’t installed yet are more important than you might think.
Understanding the Mystery of the Blue Light
Before the advent of artificial lighting, the sun was pretty much the only major source of light and every night was spent in relative darkness. So, it’s no surprise that we chose to bask in all artificial light once created. But now we must consider the consequences.
Blue light emits blue wavelengths that are beneficial during the day but cause an adverse reaction in the body at night. It is generated by smartphone and tablet screens, enabling users to enjoy their device-driven lifestyle a little bit longer into the night.
But exposure to blue lights in dark surroundings has unwanted health consequences.
Blue Light and Your Body: They Don’t Go Well Together
During daylight hours, blue light can boost attention, mood, and reaction times. But it’s a completely different story at night and in dark surroundings. In fact, it can cause several health problems.
Research conducted by the University of Toledo in the U.S. revealed that continuous exposure to blue light can accelerate blindness. It can cause the light-sensitive cells of the eyes to generate poisonous molecules that lead to macular degeneration. Note that, macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.
Some types of cancer
A new study published in the journal, Environment Health Perspectives, showed that exposure to the kind of blue light that smartphones, tablets, and outdoor LEDs emit increases the risk of prostate or breast cancer.
The researchers found that women exposed to high levels of outdoor blue light at night have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The risk level is estimated at 1.5-fold.
Men, on the other hand, have a twofold higher risk of developing prostate cancer. If they are exposed to high levels of indoor artificial light, the risk levels increase to 2.8 fold.
Some studies helped establish the link between blue light and cancer, and it has something to do with circadian rhythms. It is a fact that exposure to light has an impact on the circadian rhythm because it suppresses the secretion of melatonin. Although experimental evidence is very preliminary, it is believed that lower melatonin levels will help explain how blue light is associated with cancer.
Diabetes and obesity
There is also a possible connection between blue light and diabetes and possibly obesity, according to a Harvard study.
During the research, the timing of the circadian rhythms of 10 people was gradually shifted. They manifested increased blood sugar levels, leading them into a pre-diabetic state.
While any light can suppress melatonin secretion, blue light has a more powerful impact. When Harvard researchers conducted an experiment to determine how long melatonin is suppressed when exposed to green light or blue light, the latter proved to suppress secretion twice as long. As a result, the circadian rhythms are also shifted by twice as much. Three hours compared to 1.5 hours for green light exposure.
With these unwanted health consequences, you should download and install blue light filter apps for your mobile phones, especially if you use them at night or with the light turned off.
Do Blue Light Filter Apps Really Work?
Blue light filter apps are effective but to a certain extent. They can reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes but cannot block all of the blue light emission coming from your devices. Still, they are a huge help and better than no protection at all.
However, if you’re particularly sensitive to blue light, you’re going to need a physical filter that offers heavy-duty protection like the Ocushield Blue Light Filter for iPhone.
Blue Light Filter Apps for Android
For Android users out there, here are blue light protection apps that you might consider using:
Blue Light Filter – Night Mode
This app reduces blue light by adjusting the screen to natural color and shifting to night mode. This effectively relieves eye strain, helps you sleep easily, and makes you feel at ease while reading at night.
- It allows you to adjust the intensity of the filter.
- Helps save power by reducing the screen’s blue light.
- Comes with a built-in screen dimmer.
- Easy to use with the auto timer and handy buttons.
When the filter is on, a marginally red channel is mounted over the entire screen based on your local time. This protects your eyes from strain and stress.
- It automatically adjusts the light intensity of your smartphone or tablet based on the sunrise and sunset, local time.
- Adjust the intensity, color temperature, and screen dim settings.
- Create profiles where you can set custom channels for specific times.
Night Shift – Blue Light Filter for Migraine
With migraine as one of the results of a disrupted circadian rhythm, this optimal night filter provides a warm light night screen that protects the eye from the effects of light blue wavelength.
- It has pre-made blue light filters that you can use to activate the night mode and warm light.
- Create and edit night shift filters to suit varying needs, such as to protect the eyes or to the fix circadian rhythm.
- It has a “Dim” night screen option that is recommended for chronic headache relief and for good eye health.
- Customize the temperature, color, RGB, and filter schedule.
As the name suggests, just switch on the night mode and the blue light filter will be activated. It is built to reduce the blue light that reaches your eyes.
- This app allows you to adjust color temperature, intensity, and screen dim settings.
- Customize a schedule—which time of the night the blue light filter starts and which time in the day it closes.
- It only occupies 1MB of your device storage, making it the lightest blue light filter app.
Blue Light Filter for Eye Care
Run the app and it will adjust the display color temperature. You can choose from several filter colors.
- Using a slider, you can set the display color temperature.
- Define the sunset time and set display intensity.
- Comes with an opacity filter that you can activate or deactivate using the dark or light UI of the app.
Blue Light Filter Apps for iOS devices
iOS users, we haven’t forgotten about you. Here are some of the apps that can help you minimize the ill effects of blue light:
Compatible with jailbroken iPhones and iPads, F.lux reduces blue light exposure for free. When activated, it automatically changes the color of your screen.
- It automatically changes the amount of light coming out of your device based on the time of the day in your geographical location.
- It adjusts the screen according to your area’s sunset schedule. The color changes to a warmer, slightly amber-tinged hue.
This cross-platform application adjusts the color of the screen, depending if it’s daytime or nighttime.
- It comes with a range of customizable options—brightness, temperature, and manual/automatic settings, etc.
- It controls brightness minus the PWM flicker.
- It is not free.
This is an in-built feature in Apple devices running iOS 9.3 or later. To turn on Night Shift, simply bring up the control center with a swipe up from the bottom and then tap the sun/moon icon.
- It allows you to schedule when the feature goes on or off.
- It lets you adjust the brightness level, warmth of the screen tint, etc.
Eye Care Browser – Cut Blue Light
Not a blue light filter app per se, but this browser lets you browse at night and in the dark with reduced blue light. From the browser, you can easily adjust the level of brightness of the display and the proportion of blue light.
Through these apps that filter blue light emitted from your smartphone and tablet screens, you can protect yourself against the harmful effects of blue wavelengths.