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Blue Light Glasses vs Night Mode: What Is Right for You?

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woman wearing blue light glasses while working

Anyone who spends at least 2 hours in front of a screen is familiar with its harmful effects. From eye strain to headaches that turn into migraines, the longevity of our screen times materializes in the form of these painful side effects.

Undoubtedly, it’s the excessive exposure to blue light that’s causing all these issues, but how do you prevent that? A while ago, the only solution was to get blue light glasses, but now nearly every device comes with the “night mode” feature.

You may be wondering: What’s the difference? How do I decide which one is right for me? Both options technically serve the same purpose but aren’t one-size-fits-all regarding usability.

Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between blue light glasses and night mode. Keep reading to find out which one is right for you.

What Are Blue Light Glasses?

Blue Light Eye Glasses

Image Credit: Stereo Lights, Shutterstock

Blue light glasses, also known as blue-light-blocking glasses, are glasses that have special lenses. These special lenses are coated with blue light filters that block out the majority of blue light rays and prevent them from damaging your eyes.

Not only do they block blue light rays, but they also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. In addition, most blue light glasses also feature anti-reflective coatings that prevent glare from obscuring your vision.

How It Works

The blue light absorption rate differs for every pair of blue light glasses. Some offer a 40% absorption rate, while some even absorb up to 95% of all blue light rays. This factor depends entirely on the lens tint. The darker the lens tint, the more light rays it will absorb.

However, darker lens tints can result in color distortion, making it impractical for those that need color accuracy while working, such as graphic artists. In this case, a light amber tint is ideal for blue light glasses and preferred over yellow or orange tints.

You may even clear lenses in blue-light-blocking glasses, but their absorption rate isn’t as high.

close up woman wearing blue light glasses

Image Credit: Only_NewPhoto, Shutterstock

When to Choose Blue Light Glasses

Individuals that spend more than 2 hours a day in front of screens or LED lights are advised to invest in blue light glasses. They’re an ideal option for those that already wear prescription glasses and want to prevent overexposure to blue light.

Pros
  • Can absorb up to 95% of all blue light rays
  • Improves sleep
  • Anti-reflective coatings to prevent glares
Cons
  • Can cause color distortion
  • Not ideal for those that need a temporary solution

What Is Night Mode?

Night mode is a feature available on most devices that reduces the blue light rays emitting from the screen. This feature is available on most PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

How It Works

When you turn on night mode, the device’s screen turns into a warm contrast, thus reducing overexposure to blue light.

You can either turn night mode on and off whenever required or set it to turn on automatically whenever the Sun sets. It’s best to only use the night mode feature at night as your body still requires blue light during the day to maintain your sleep cycle.

However, there’s no information available on the blue light absorption rate of the night mode, so it’s uncertain how much more efficient this feature is compared to blue light glasses. However, it’s still a step in the right direction and unobtrusively protects your eyes.

 

When to Choose Blue Light Glasses

The night mode feature is ideal for those that don’t prefer to wear glasses and are only exposed to blue light when they turn their devices on. In addition, it works for people that don’t want a permanent blue light filter on their prescription glasses and only need the protection while using their devices at night.

Pros
  • Free
  • Easy to switch on
  • Can be scheduled for night or day use
Cons
  • Temporary solution
  • Blue light absorption rate is unclear

Blue Light Glasses vs. Night Mode

Playing Pc Eyeglass

Image Credit: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

There’s no doubt that blue light glasses and night mode are different. Although they have the same purpose of reducing exposure to blue light rays, their usability and efficiency are different.

In simpler words, blue light glasses are much more efficient and reliable when absorbing blue light rays. They also help with absorbing blue light rays from LED lights, so its services aren’t restricted to just screens. Blue lights can absorb up to 95% of all blue light rays, depending on the lens tint and quality of the blue light filters. Unfortunately, you can’t find blue light glasses that block 100% of blue light rays because your body still requires some blue light.

Blue light helps your body recognize when it’s time to start producing melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel tired or sleepy. Blocking all exposure to blue light can hinder your sleep-wake cycle.

On the other hand, night mode only turns your screen to a light amber tint, emitting less blue light than usual. As a result, it only protects your eyes from blue light while using a screen and not in the case of any other LED light.

In addition, it’s uncertain how much blue light Night Mode is blocking. So, it’s an efficient protection choice for those already experiencing migraines, eye strain, or presbyopia due to blue light exposure. Blue light glasses are a better option for those that already wear glasses and are exposed to blue light most of their day. Meanwhile, night mode is a better pick for those that don’t want to switch their glasses or only want to block blue light for a few hours at night.

It’s also recommended that individuals only put on blue light glasses a few hours before sleep, while night mode can be turned on and off whenever required.

Here’s a complete comparison of blue light glasses and night mode.

Eyeglass in computer

Image Credit: Igor Zvencom, Shutterstock,

  Blue Light Glasses Night Mode
Definition Glasses with blue light filtered lenses Setting on most devices that change the color of the light emitted by the screen
Purpose Improves sleep Reduces eye strain
Blue Light Absorption Blocks up to 95% of blue light rates Uncertain
Color Clear, amber, orange, or red-tinted lenses Light, amber-tinted screen light
Time of Use 2–3 hours before sleep Can be turned on and off manually whenever required
Recommended For Individuals exposed to LED lights and blue light most of the day Individuals using PC, laptops, mobile phones, etc.

Which One Should You Use?

If you’re exposed to blue light or LED lights most of the day, it’s best to invest in a pair of blue light glasses. If you already wear prescription glasses, you can find blue light glasses with prescription lenses and an anti-reflective coating to enhance your vision.

However, it’s easiest to use night mode if you are only exposed to blue light when you turn on your device and don’t want to wear glasses. For example, if you already wear prescription glasses but are only exposed to blue light when you turn on your device, it will be a hassle to switch from prescription glasses to blue light glasses.

It’ll also be a hassle to wear blue light glasses with tinted lenses when you aren’t exposed to blue light. So, in this case, night mode is the most efficient option. But what if you’re exposed to LED lights aside from your screen now and then?

In that case, you can opt for blue light clip-on filters that attach to your prescription glasses as a temporary solution. You can protect your eyes without committing to a pair of blue light glasses.

If you use screens most of the day but only need blue light protection at night, these clip-ons are a great solution, but you can also set your night mode to turn on automatically at night time. Most devices can detect your city/town’s sunset and sunrise times and turn on your night mode accordingly.

Blue Light Glass in laptop

Image Credit: Nubelson Fernandes, Unsplash

How to Buy the Best Blue Light Glasses

If you’ve opted for blue light glasses as the permanent solution to prevent overexposure to blue light rays, here are a few factors to keep in mind while buying your perfect pair.

  • Blue Light Absorption: Blue light glasses can offer an absorption rate between 40%–98%. Any company that claims to offer lenses with 100% absorption shouldn’t be trusted, as your body requires a certain amount of blue light to maintain the sleep cycle. The ideal absorption rate is 95%, creating a healthy balance.
  • Lens Tint: The lens tint affects the glasses’ ability to block blue light rays. The darker the lens tint, the more blue light it absorbs. However, darker lens tints cause color distortion, so it’s best to go for an in-between tint such as light amber.
  • Anti-Reflective Coating: Reflective glasses obscure your vision and only add to the eye strain and migraine you experience due to excessive blue light exposure. That’s why blue light glasses can’t do their job without an anti-glare or anti-reflective coating to assist them.
  • UV Protection: It’s best to opt for blue light glasses that also offer UV protection. This way, you won’t have to switch to sunglasses when you’re outside, eliminating the prescription and blue light filtering aspect of your vision.
  • Prescription: Blue light glasses are a permanent solution. If you already wear prescription glasses, constantly switching between the two pairs can be a hassle. So, look for blue light glasses that offer prescription lenses.
  • Comfort: There’s no use getting blue light glasses if their tightness or looseness is still causing you discomfort. The frame is too loose if your glasses are slipping down your nose. If your glasses are pressuring your temples and the bridge of your nose, they’re too tight. Invest in the right frame to ensure comfort for all-day wear.

 

How to Turn on Night Mode

Turning on night mode is easy, but the method is different for every device. Here’s how you turn it on with your PC or mobile.

  • Navigate to Settings.
  • Click on Display.
  • Scroll down and find “Eye Comfort Shield,” “Night Light,” or “Night Mode,” depending on your phone or PC.
  • Click on the toggle to turn it on.
  • In the advanced settings of the night mode, choose between “adaptive” or “custom.”
  • The “adaptive” option turns on the eye comfort shield depending on the time of day and your surroundings.
  • On the other hand, the custom option allows you to pick when you want to turn on night mode and what color temperature you need. You may use the slider to adjust the color temperature.
  • You can also switch the schedule from “Always On” to “Sunset to Sunrise” or “Custom.”

Conclusion

Blue light glasses have lenses that are covered in blue-light-blocking filters. On the other hand, night mode is a feature offered by most devices that turn the screen to a light amber tint and prevent overexposure to blue light.

Both options block blue light to a certain extent, but the efficiency of night mode is unclear. If you’re unsure which option is right for you, keep in mind that night mode is a temporary solution while blue light glasses are a permanent but efficient solution.


Featured Image Credit: Prostock studio, Shutterstock

About the Author Jeff Weishaupt

Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.

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