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Sponsored content: Is the blue light from your digital devices damaging your eyes and causing you sleep problems?

Digital devices. Like it or not, they're here to stay. People turn to smartphones, tablets and computers for everything from driving directions and checking account balances to restaurant reservations and highway congestion reports. These devices have made our lives easier, absolutely — but at what price?

Well, for starters, our eye health and wake/sleep cycle. In concert with sunlight, flat-screen televisions and energy-efficient lighting, digital devices bombard our eyes with high-energy visible spectrum (HEV) or blue light, which tends to be especially disruptive at night — because it inhibits melatonin secretion at a time when our bodies need to power down in preparation for sleep. Inadequate sleep is linked to increased risk for depression, diabetes, obesity, adrenaline fatigue, and cardiovascular problems.

Meanwhile, an estimated 60 percent of adults use digital devices more than five hours daily, according to a 2016 report from the Vision Council, an organization dedicated to educating the public about eye health and eyewear. Additionally, 70 percent of Americans use two or more devices at the same time, and 75 percent of these people report experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain, such as headache, itchy eyes, blurred vision and eye fatigue.

Dr. Michael Lange, of the Lange Eye Institute in The Villages, is a board-certified optometric physician and a certified nutrition specialist who has studied extensively the effects of blue light on our eyes, sleep cycles and overall health. He has designed a series of blue-filtering lenses as well as the line of Fortifeye supplements to help the body defend itself against blue light's damaging effects. These products have been clinically proven (by OmniActive's studies Lama 1 and 2) to replenish macular pigment density, lower cortisol levels and reduce psychological stress. Doctors all over the world recommend Fortifeye Focus for the potential protection against blue light damage and to help reduce symptoms of computer eye strain.

"Without protection, blue light, which is part of the visible light spectrum, reaches deeper into the eye, and its cumulative effects can damage the retina," explains Dr. Lange. He adds, "Light in the blue-to-violet range has been implicated in the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which, unchecked, can lead to permanent vision loss."

Obviously, blue light is unavoidable — but there are steps we can take to protect our eyes, as well as ensure a better night's sleep:

• Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed.

• Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythms and suppress melatonin.

• If you work a night job or use a lot of electronic devices at night, consider wearing blue-filtering glasses like Blue Light Defense Lenses.

• Increase your intake of carotenoid antioxidants astaxanthin (found predominately in marine life like salmon, algae and shellfish), and lutein and zeaxanthin (found in dark green leafy vegetables, orange bell peppers and gogi berries); and in supplements like Fortifeye Focus (which contains all three). In the right proportions, strength and frequency, these powerful antioxidants not only help reduce oxidation and inflammation in the eyes and body, they may also help improve visual performance, sleep quality, memory, cognition and psychological stress.

Dr. Michael Lange can be heard every Saturday morning on Ask The Doctor, a radio talk show that focuses on nutrition, anti-aging and eye care. Visit www.drmichaellange.com/category/videos/.

If you'd like to order Fortifeye Focus, visit fortifeye.com and enter code tbt20 to receive 20 percent off your order. Fortifeye Focus is being recommended by doctors all over the world for its eye and total health benefits. Access detailed studies and testimonials there and at bluelightdefense.com. If you are concerned about the effects of blue light on your eyes, or have a question or topic you would like to discuss with Dr. Michael Lange, then click here to ask a doctor: www.drmichaellange.com/contact/.

Sources: allaboutvision.com; health.harvard.edu; fortifeye.com; Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Protection Against Blue Light Damage to Eyes by Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG); drmichaellangeoptometrist.me.

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