The night mode of applications
The night mode of applications

In recent years, the mobile phone has become an essential tool. And almost, almost, we have left aside the use for which he was born: call. The reason? The change produced in the way we have to communicate, especially driven by instant messaging applications and social networks. This change in habits has caused us to spend many hours in front of the mobile screen, something that according to different studies, can cause damage to our eyesight.

Perhaps this is why both mobile phone manufacturers and app developers have begun to include a “night mode” whose purpose is, supposedly, to alleviate the visual fatigue produced by the screens in our eyes, but is it really useful for anything? We have asked an ophthalmologist everything about the blue light and the night mode of the applications to know what is true in all this.

The blue light, as harmful as they say?

Let’s first look before entering into what exactly this is about blue light and why so much controversy surrounds it. Light is everywhere and approximately 25 percent of the light that we “see” is blue. This blue light has, unlike white light, short wavelengths, thus projecting more energy (so it could be more harmful in case of overexposure). Well, the screens of mobile phones (and tablets) with both LCD and LED screens emit light, so that 25% of this light is blue.

The debate about the danger of light has been open for many years. Some point out that prolonged exposure to this light can cause serious damage to our eyes, others that can cause mild discomfort or fatigue and many others launch theories about a possible influence of blue light on the quality of sleep by inhibiting melatonin, hormone In charge of making us sleep.

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Other theories say that blue light acts as a stimulant and inhibitor of sleep, since the light of the mobile screen emulates the sky during the day, making our brain at night stay alert, preventing us from sleeping properly.

This last theory is based on the night modes of applications and mobile operating systems. These change the color of the interface of the applications by darker or warmer tones so (in theory) prevent our brain from being tricked into believing that it is daytime and sleeping problems appear.

The truth behind the blue light, what the experts say

But what is true in all this? Does the blue light really affect us? And if so, do these systems work? Let’s see what the specialist we have consulted about the matter tells us, Dr. Rubén Pascual, a specialist in Ophthalmology and creator of the Ocularis project.

Gobhy Health: What are the effects of blue light on our eyes?

Rubén Pascual: None. There is no evidence to show that blue light affects our eyes, because the experimentation done so far has only been animal and in extreme conditions. Blue light is found in greater proportion in the sunlight than in the screens of the devices, that is, it is more likely to suffer “damage” from prolonged exposure to a shepherd or a sailor who are under the sun, than the user of a mobile phone.

Mobile Engadget: Does the exposure to light hours before sleep affect the production of melatonin?

Ruben Pascual: Quite the contrary, what’s more, there are phototherapy treatments with blue light for people with insomnia due to the absence of this in Nordic countries for example, since it is necessary to regulate sleep. The problem is not light, the problem is to excite the brain hours before sleeping using the mobile, but it is the same as if we exercise before going to bed.

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Engadget Mobile: So, what about the theories that say it affects more the temperature of color than the level of illumination when it comes to the effect of light on sleep?

Ruben Pascual: You can be more comfortable with a warmer color because it relaxes and is more welcoming (like the fire of a fireplace) but it is a subjective sensation, in fact at night we fall asleep with blue light, that of the moon.

«The problem is not light, the problem is to excite the brain hours before sleeping using the mobile phone, but it is the same as if we exercise before going to bed»

Gobhy Health: What would you advise us to maintain good ophthalmological health while using the mobile?

Ruben Pascual: Do not abuse screens, but not because of the light, but because of the effort it takes for the eyes to focus continuously on a point. If we work with a screen it is best to rest at the most every two hours, stop and look away for a minute, to stop focusing at the same distance so steadily.

In conclusion: it is the same as reading a book

As we can see, the words of Dr. Ruben Pascual are totally opposite to the paraphernalia of blue light screen covers that we want to sell, or to the applications that turn the color temperature of the screen to a warmer one. In conclusion, and quoting verbatim: “there is no difference between using the mobile and reading a book.”

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