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Blue light from screens, such as phones and computers, can cause strain on the eyes and disrupt the natural sleep cycle. As a result, most people use screen-time limits, take frequent breaks, and use apps or filters to help reduce the harmful effects of blue light.
However, if taking breaks is not feasible for you due to long working hours, you can use blue light glasses instead. These glasses block blue light since they have filters in the lens to absorb or prevent blue light from getting through. Some blue light glasses can also stop and absorb UV light.
But how do blue light glasses work? Who can benefit the most from these glasses? Here’s a guide to help you learn all you need to know about the function and benefits of blue light glasses.
Blue light glasses have special lenses that block or filter out blue light. Blue light is high-energy visible light (HEV) emitted by electronic screens like computers, tablets, and phones.
Some studies suggest that too much blue light exposure may be linked to eye strain, sleep problems, and migraines. Since blue light glasses prevent blue light from getting through, they can reduce glare.
Glare is common when using electronic screens for long periods. It’s the bright, harsh light that can make it difficult to see your screen. Blue light glasses may also help with eye fatigue, which is when your eyes feel tired after looking at a screen for a long time.
If you work in front of a screen for long hours, you will be exposed to large concentrations of blue light throughout the day. Blue light can affect your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
It can also contribute to digital eye strain, which causes symptoms like dry eyes, headaches, and difficulty focusing. However, wearing blue light glasses is a simple way to reduce your exposure to blue light and protect your eyes from its harmful effects. Here are some reasons to wear blue light glasses:
Melatonin is an important hormone that induces sleep. When the sun goes down and your surroundings are relatively dark, the body starts producing this hormone naturally to make you feel sleepy.
Blue light can disturb your sleep pattern because it has short wavelengths known to delay melatonin release¹. So, whether you like to scroll through Instagram before bedtime or catch up on emails at night, you should consider wearing blue light glasses to help you sleep better.
A study¹ published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that blue light glasses improved sleep quantity and quality in 63 managers. The glasses also enhanced performance at work.
If you often experience symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and dry eyes after looking at screens all day, you may be suffering from digital eye strain. The condition is also called computer vision syndrome¹ and has the following symptoms:
Ever since remote work became prevalent, most people have been spending more time in front of monitors than ever before. If you’re looking for relief, blue light glasses may help.
By reducing eye strain, blue light glasses may help combat computer vision syndrome symptoms. They may also make it easier for you to focus on work since digital eye strain can make it difficult to keep your eyes open.
Blue light glasses are not the only type of computer glasses available on the market today. There are a variety of different types of computer glasses you can wear to reduce eye strain and stay comfortable while working.
Monofocal glasses are single-vision glasses that offer optical correction for one distance. They are standard eyeglasses that correct common vision problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
The wearer can see the screen with minimum head movement. However, the downside to monofocal glasses is that reading materials close to you and distant objects can appear blurry.
Bifocal glasses are designed so that the upper part is aligned with the screen distance, while the lower part is ideal for reading distance to focus on things closer than the computer screen. Thus, these glasses help with two different vision problems simultaneously.
While bifocal glasses may help you see the computer screen and reading materials clearly, they have some disadvantages. For one, bifocal lenses distort images in your peripheral vision.
Plus, they also have a smaller field of view, which means you’ll have to move your head up and down to view the desired portion of the screen. Any objects away from the screen will also appear blurry.
Trifocal glasses have three segments. The first segment is for far vision, the second for screen distance, and the third for near distance. You can use the computer while wearing trifocal glasses without moving your head too much because all three segments are designed to help you see things at different distances.
However, like bifocal glasses, you’ll have trouble seeing things clearly in your peripheral vision.
Progressive addition lenses (PALs) are a type of multifocal lens. They have many small segments that gradually increase in power, allowing for a smooth progression of vision correction.
Anyone who spends a significant amount of time staring at digital screens can benefit from blue light glasses. Here are some people who’ll find blue light glasses helpful.
Blue light glasses may not be the ultimate fix for computer vision syndrome, but they have plenty of benefits. Here are some:
Blue light glasses aren’t exactly as revolutionary as some sellers claim them to be. Besides the overdone marketing, here are some disadvantages of blue light glasses:
The over-glorification and misleading marketing of blue light glasses make them seem like the ultimate solution for digital eye strain. However, this is far from the truth.
In reality, blue light glasses offer very little in terms of reducing digital eye strain. While they may help reduce the amount of blue light entering your eyes, they do not address the root cause of digital eye strain –spending too much time staring at screens.
Let’s debunk some myths about blue light glasses.
Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the retina’s center, which is responsible for our central vision. It’s a leading cause of blindness and affects older adults.
There is no evidence that blue light causes or worsens macular degeneration. However, you’d find many healthcare professionals and companies claiming that blue light glasses can protect you against macular degeneration.
Optometry Today reports¹ that Boots Opticians, a UK company, was fined $56,000 because they misled their customers by claiming blue light glasses can prevent eye diseases.
Blue light glasses may provide some relief, but they are not the treatment for digital eye strain. A trial¹ published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology found that when study subjects wore blue light glasses for a computer task, it did not change the symptoms of eye strain.
Another study¹ in Optometry and Vision Science journal showed similar results. The researchers found that a blue-light-blocking filter on the screen effectively blocked 99% of the short wavelengths. However, it did not alleviate the symptoms of digital eye strain any better than a regular neutral filter.
You blink less often when you sit in front of the computer for long hours. Therefore, reduced blinking can lead to dry eye syndrome.
A 2017 review¹ found that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove blue light glasses can prevent dry eye. The same review also established that blue light glasses are not effective at preserving eye health, as opposed to what is touted by companies that sell them.
Here are some commonly asked questions about blue light glasses and their benefits.
Blue light glasses might help prevent sleep disturbances caused by excessive exposure to blue light. However, they do not prevent macular degeneration or any other eye diseases. If you think blue light glasses provide you with any relief, you should consider wearing them. There’s no harm in wearing blue light glasses, but you shouldn’t expect any miracles.
Headaches are one of the many symptoms of digital eye strain. While there’s not enough evidence to prove that blue light glasses can alleviate headaches, you can give them a try if you’re exploring options.
Since blue light glasses are not medical devices, the FDA does not regulate them. Many manufacturers capitalize on this lack of regulation by advertising their glasses as FDA-approved or “scientifically tested,” when in reality, the FDA does not approve such eyewear. If a manufacturer claims that their blue light glasses can prevent retinal disease or alleviate digital eye strain, it’s a red flag you should not ignore.
Some blue light glasses are designed to be worn at night, while others are daytime glasses. You should not wear nighttime glasses during the day since they may cause sleepiness.
There is no definitive answer to this question since everyone’s tolerance of blue light exposure is different. However, if you wake up frequently during the night or experience other sleep disturbances, you might consider wearing blue light glasses while working. Excessive blue light exposure can also cause computer vision syndrome. Its symptoms include dry eyes, head and shoulder strain, blurry vision, and fatigue.
If blue light glasses are not providing the relief you need, use the 20-20-20 rule to reduce digital eye strain. The rule states that you should take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away. You can also try installing an anti-glare screen on your computer or using apps that filter blue light.
If you’re a gamer or work in front of a computer all day, you might want to try blue light glasses to see if they can help improve your sleep-wake cycle and reduce eye strain. Here are some factors to consider when looking for the best blue light glasses.
First, you want the glasses to fit snugly since you’ll be wearing them for long periods. Look for a pair that has adjustable nose pads and temple tips so you can find the right fit.
It’s better to buy your first pair at the store rather than online, so you can try different glasses and find the right fit.
Next, consider the lenses. You want lenses that block out at least 90% of blue light, but some glasses offer 100% protection. The downside to lenses that block out all blue light is that they can make everything appear too yellow. Opt for blue light glasses with a rose or amber tint, as they tend to be the most effective.
Many companies offer an anti-reflective coating, which can help reduce eye strain. However, glasses with premium coating might cost you more, so keep that in mind.
While this is more of a personal choice, the frame material can determine how comfortably the glasses will sit on your ears. There are many material options, such as acetate, plastic, and titanium.
Again, you can wear different glasses and see which material feels most comfortable on your skin. If you’re uncertain, plastic is a good option that suits almost everyone.
To sum up, blue light glasses might provide some degree of relief against eye strain. They may also help improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. However, they do not prevent any retinal disease. Likewise, they do not help against macular degeneration or computer vision syndrome.
If you want to try blue light glasses, there’s no harm since they do not have any adverse effects except that some things might look overly yellow. You can avoid this by talking to the seller about the glasses’ tint before buying them.
Just remember that blue light glasses are not a cure-all solution, and they should not replace other essential measures, such as taking breaks from screens and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Featured Image Credit: Stereo Lights, Shutterstock
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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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