Blue light glasses have become more and more popular in recent years as more and more people are spending increasing amounts of time with their devices. With many Americans spending up to 12 hours per day on their TVs or smartphones, people are experiencing digital eye strain, blurry vision, dry eyes, and headaches more frequently than ever before.
One potential solution to this problem is blue light glasses. Manufacturers say that this type of eyewear can help to reduce symptoms associated with what is called “computer vision syndrome.” In other words, they are computer glasses that can potentially help make it easier on your eyes to spend time in front of your digital devices.
This begs the question, though, do they work? In this article, we’re going to explain the technology behind blue light glasses, talk about why you may consider using them, and ultimately explain that yes, blue light glasses do work.
What Does Blue Light Do?
In order to understand why blue light blocking glasses are effective, it’s important to first understand what exactly blue light is and what it does.
Light is emitted across a range of visible light wavelengths ranging on a light spectrum from white/blue to yellow/orange. You can see this in light from the sun throughout the day.
In the morning when you walk outside, lights are bright and tinted blue. In addition, you may also notice that you get energized when you walk outside on a bright sunny day. This isn’t a coincidence.
Blue light affects your brain and prevents it from producing melatonin, a chemical that helps you relax and fall asleep. In contrast, yellow or orange light does the opposite.
It signals your brain that it’s time to relax and allows it to start producing much-needed melatonin so that you can get to sleep. In the same way, our brains do this with any kind of light—not just light from the sun thanks to our circadian rhythm and sleep cycles.
Additionally and more importantly, blue light stimulates the brain and can cause headaches and blurred vision.
Where Does Blue Light Come From?
As we said, the sun emits blue wavelengths of light throughout the day. However, digital screens also emit harsh, blue UV light when you use them. Just 20 or 30 years ago, this was not nearly as significant of an issue because people didn’t spend as much time with their iPhones and computers.
Today, though, many people are starting to experience the side effects of extended blue light exposure. Blue light causes things like significant eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, and poor sleep quality.
People who spend lots of time with that much blue light can begin to experience these side effects pretty quickly. If you have ever had a long session of deep work with your eyes glued to a screen for hours, they were likely tired afterward.
In the same way, if you’ve stayed up late at night binging Netflix on a laptop, you may have found it more difficult to sleep better. This is likely because the blue light coming from the screen was preventing your brain from settling and relaxing.
Why Blue Light Glasses?
That’s why blue light glasses exist. They work to filter out much of the harmful blue light before it can ever reach your eyes and do any damage.
If you haven’t had blue light glasses before, you may be confused as to how this works. Basically, the lenses are specifically crafted with a blue light filter to prevent certain colors of light from penetrating—usually anything below a specific wavelength.
You can also purchase blue light screen protectors, and many devices have built-in blue light filtering options. These include night shift on Apple devices and blue light filtering on Android devices.
However, if you work on a device that doesn’t have these options or you just want extra protection, blue light glasses can be a great choice.
How Do Blue Light Glasses Work?
As far as exactly how blue light glasses work, it can differ depending on the exact pair you purchase. However, the general principle is that the lenses feature some kind of filter that prevents blue or ultra-violet (UV) light from penetrating through to your eyes.
The lenses sometimes have a yellow tint to them because of this, but not all do. The blue light glasses here at Look Optic actually have clear lenses. Those with clear lenses are easier to wear on a day-to-day basis, as the yellow-tinted ones stand out more.
By filtering out harmful wavelengths of light, the lenses help to ease your eye strain and ideally prevent you from experiencing any side effects of CVS.
Are Blue Light Glasses Worth the Money?
Considering that so many devices have blue light filtering software, you may be asking yourself whether or not additional lenses are worth the money. Truthfully, it depends on your specific circumstances.
If you are someone who works at a computer all day long, only to come home and spend a few hours watching TV or scrolling through Instagram at night, they are likely worth it for you. Staring at a yellow-orange screen in those “night shift” modes can make it difficult to see your screen. If you have blue light glasses, you can have the same benefits without the downsides.
In addition, if you already have prescription glasses, then adding blue light filtering is a no-brainer. It is not typically very expensive, and if you have to wear glasses all day anyways, the extra filtering can help a lot.
What Kind of Blue Light Glasses to Buy?
If you fit into any of those above categories and are considering purchasing a pair of blue light glasses, there are a lot of options to choose from. Most prescription lenses have the option to add in blue light filtering. However, if you don’t need glasses to see, you can still get blue light glasses.
For instance, at Look Optic we offer all of our blue light reading glasses with a 0.0 magnification for those who just want the blue light filtering feature. We also sell them in various reading magnifications, as well.
You also want to make sure that you like the look of whatever glasses you purchase. This is something you’re going to wear every day, so you want to make sure you like the way you look in them.
At one time, the only options you had were utilitarian models with thick, yellow lenses. Now, though, blue light glasses come in just as many options as readers or prescription glasses.
When to Buy Blue Light Glasses?
The best time to purchase blue light glasses is before you start having eye problems. If you can prevent eye strain before it starts to affect you, you’ll be much better off.
However, if you are already experiencing symptoms of CVS, it’s not too late to try them out. Many people have reported alleviation of their symptoms within just a few days of using blue light glasses.
If you find yourself spending long hours in front of a computer screen, you should definitely consider picking up a pair, as it may save your eyes from a lot of trouble down the road.
Other Effects of Prolonged Screen Time
In addition to a lack of sleep and unwanted headaches, prolonged screen time can lead to a host of other eye issues. You may find yourself itching your eyes a lot, experiencing dry or sore eyes, having headaches, or potentially even blurred vision.
If you go unphased by the lack of sleep that blue light can cause, but experience other symptoms such as headaches or blurred vision, then consider getting a pair of glasses from Look Optic which can help prevent the strain causing those symptoms.
Other Ways to Alleviate CVS Symptoms
These are all side effects of CVS, and they may not all be solved with blue light glasses. Whether or not you have blue light glasses, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends taking the following precautions whenever you use a screen:
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a break from the bright, digital screen and allows them to relax and reset. This helps keep your eyes hydrated and ready to work.
- Sit at least an arm’s length away from your computer: This applies to any device, but you want there to be around 25 inches (about the length of your arm) between you and the screen.
- Limit screen time: Although much of the time you spend in front of your computer is unavoidable, try to limit it as much as you possibly can. Take frequent breaks to go walk outside and give your eyes a long rest. You should do this at least every few hours.
In addition to these precautions, you can also purchase some basic eye drops. These can help keep your eyes hydrated if basic precautions aren’t enough. You can use them a couple of times per day, or anytime that you are feeling like your eyes need a pick me up.