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The Link Between Electronic Light & Mood Disorders: Is It Real? – What to Know

By February 7, 2020 No Comments
Ipad and computer on a table

Ipad and computer on a table

In recent years, mood disorders and the emergence of their symptoms in various patients all over the world have been growing increasingly prevalent. 

According to a study conducted on the prevalence of mood disorders in the last nine years, there was a reported increase in such cases. The results have shown that reported mood disorder symptoms among younger generations increased by as much as 37 per cent in almost a decade. 

Understandably, the sharp increase of reported mood disorder symptoms is a significant cause for concern. What’s causing this increase, however, can only be described as a complex mix of factors. 

Initially, the root cause of the prevalence of mood disorder symptoms was determined as a combination of an unbalanced diet, a lack of exercise, electronic device usage, and social media. However, recent studies have discovered that one factor, in particular, holds a significant impact: electronic light.

While the studies conducted to further understand the role of electronic light in the development of mood disorders are relatively new, the findings are solid as they can be. Classical psychology and physiology dictate that there are both direct and indirect connections between light and mood, taking several factors and conditions into account. The light-and-mood relationship can be traced to one of the three types of photoreceptors in the eyes, which is the ipRGCs that directly respond to light. 

The relationship between brain systems and ipRGCs with mood disorders

When the ipRGC photoreceptor is engaged and directly responds to light, the projections that they create reach various brain regions that regulate and affect emotion. For example, if you’ve noticed that you feel more optimistic and carefree during a sunny day, then it’s your ipRGCs at work. 

In regard to the indirect connection between light and mood, however, one study carried out by Ospri, et al. showed that mood disorders are linked to the disruption of indirect connections between ipRGCs and certain systems. Once the link between the photoreceptors and systems are disrupted, ipRGC fails to express monoamine, which is composed of neurotransmitters that are vital for preventing mood disorders. 

A disruption in the connection between the ipRGC photoreceptors and a brain’s systems inevitably leads to a disruption in the body’s circadian rhythm—an internal process that is commonly known as your “body clock.” Your body’s circadian rhythm is essential in determining its sleep-wake patterns, appetite, tendencies, and, most importantly, your mood. 

What roles does electronic light play in all of this? 

Electronic light contains a certain component called “blue light,” which travels along a certain part of the visible spectrum that can be transmitted to the human eye. What most people don’t know, however, is that the blue light is the harshest form of light that penetrates the deepest within the retina and its photosensors. 

According to countless studies and tests, scientists have determined that the strength of the blue light is powerful enough to disrupt the connection between the ipRGCs and the brain’s systems. This eventually affects the body clock. Extended periods of usage to electronic light from different types of displays can enhance the previously mentioned disruptive effects, severely affecting a user’s mood. 

Final words

Recent studies and scientific undertakings have only begun to delve into the cause-effect relationship between electronic light and the occurrence of mood disorders. While it may be best to take the latest findings with a grain of salt, you must control your exposure to electronic light to protect your mood, eyes, and body clock. 

If you’re looking for blue light screen filters for your electronic devices, get in touch with us today! We’re happy to help.

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