Are Purple Lights Bad For Your Eyes?

Hey there! I‘m Terry and I‘m a total tech nerd. Lately I‘ve been getting a lot of questions about whether purple lights are bad for your eyes. I decided to really dig into the science and research to give you the full scoop. Buckle up, because this is going to get nerdy!

First, What Are Purple Lights?

When we talk about "purple" lights, we‘re usually referring to LED lights and devices that appear purple or violet to our eyes.

But here‘s the cool science part – there aren‘t really pure "purple" LEDs! True violet LEDs are pretty rare. Most purple LEDs create the purple color by combining a blue LED chip with a red phosphor coating.

So those trendy violet LED strips? The purple hue is coming from a mix of blue and red light, not a single violet wavelength.

This is important when considering the effects on our eyes, because pure violet light and mixed LED colors have different properties.

Can Too Much Violet Light Damage Your Eyes?

On the visible spectrum, violet light has a short wavelength, which means it‘s high frequency and high energy. Ultraviolet light is even shorter/higher energy than violet.

Studies show that overexposure to high frequency visible light and UV rays can contribute to:

  • Retinal damage
  • Cataracts
  • Skin cancer

Yikes! Does this mean purple lights are secretly frying our eyes?

Well, probably not in most cases. Here‘s why:

  • Most household purple lights simply don‘t emit that much true violet or UV light, if any.

  • Light intensity decreases rapidly the further you move from the source. Your ambient purple hue lights across the room aren‘t blasting your retinas at full intensity.

  • LEDs also give off much less UV than other light sources like compact fluorescents.

So while it‘s smart to use moderation with any bright light source, those purple LED strips you installed for your gaming room are unlikely to blind you.

But for very sensitive eyes, avoiding prolonged exposure to brightly lit violet lighting may be prudent.

Blue Light Overexposure Is a Bigger Risk Factor

However, there is a valid concern regarding overexposure to blue light wavelengths at night from screens and devices.

Why is blue light an issue?

  • It can suppress natural melatonin production and disrupt circadian rhythms
  • This makes it harder to fall and stay asleep

Guess what‘s also found in abundance in purple LED lights? Blue wavelengths.

In fact, blue light makes up an estimated 60-70% of the light mixture from a typical purple LED.

This means purple lighting shares many of the same concerns as blue light when it comes to sleep cycles and eye strain.

Violet Light Therapy Shows Some Promise

Early research indicates using specific wavelengths and intensities of violet or purple light might offer certain benefits, like:

  • Increased cell proliferation
  • Wound healing
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Anti-bacterial effects

However, most studies are limited to lab settings under very controlled conditions. The violet light therapy devices tested are far beyond standard purple ambient lighting.

Much more research is needed to determine if typical household purple lighting provides any measurable health benefits. But the initial results are intriguing!

Tips for Eye-Friendly Lighting

To minimize eye strain while enjoying those evening gaming or streaming marathons, here are my top tips:

  • Install blue light filtering apps on your devices to block high energy wavelengths after sunset
  • Wear blue light blocking glasses for added protection
  • Position bright light sources away from direct lines of sight
  • Take regular breaks following the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds)
  • Use ember, orange, or salt lamps for warm nighttime ambient lighting

And during the day, be sure to get regular sunlight exposure! Natural light is so important for regulating circadian rhythms and melatonin. Just don‘t stare right at the sun.

The Verdict? Moderation Is Key

Based on current research, exposure to normal household purple lighting in reasonable amounts is unlikely to cause any significant eye damage for most people.

But take care to limit screen time before bedtime, as blue light suppression remains a concern. Anyone experiencing migraines or visual discomfort should also consider reducing exposure.

As with so many things, it‘s about balancing usage and minimizing risk factors. Be smart, and don‘t blast yourself at close range with high powered laser violet light (unless you‘re going for supervillain chic).

And make sure to protect those peepers with regular eye exams! If you have any concerns about changes in vision or eye health, see your optometrist promptly.

Hope this lighting breakdown gave you some nerdy insights on purple lights! Let me know if you have any other tech and lighting questions.

Your friend,
Terry

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