You’re probably doing it right now – staring at a computer, phone, or tablet that’s emitting blue light.
Looking at any of these for an extended period of time can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), a unique type of eye strain that causes symptoms such as dry eyes, redness, headaches and blurred vision. .
One solution offered by eyewear manufacturers is that of anti-blue light lenses. These are meant to block potentially harmful blue light emitted by electronics. But whether these glasses actually reduce eye strain is controversial.
Keep reading to find out if these glasses are right for you.
Blue light is a naturally occurring wavelength in light, including sunlight. Compared to other types of light, blue light has a short wavelength. This is important because doctors associate short-wavelength light with an increased risk of eye damage.
While many electronic devices (including light bulbs) emit blue light, computer monitors and televisions generally emit more blue light than other electronic devices. Indeed, computers and televisions commonly use liquid crystal or LCD screens. These screens may look super clear and vibrant, but they also give off more blue light than their non-LCD counterparts.
It is believed that too much exposure to blue light:
- affect your circadian rhythm, which can make it harder to fall asleep at night
- cause headaches
- increase eye strain
- cause eyestrain
Blue light isn’t so bad. Because this wavelength is produced by the sun, it can promote alertness, signaling that it’s time to get up and start the day.
And many studies on blue light and eye damage have been conducted on animals or in controlled laboratories. It is therefore difficult to know exactly how blue light affects humans in real-life scenarios.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, blue light from electronic devices will not cause eye disease. They endorse using other approaches to improve your sleep, such as completely avoiding screens within an hour or two of bedtime.
To reduce the possible damage and potentially negative effects of prolonged exposure to blue light, eyeglass manufacturers have developed eyeglass lenses with special coatings or tints designed to reflect or block blue light from reaching your eyes. eyes.
The idea behind blue light blocking glasses is that wearing them can reduce eye strain, eye damage and affected sleep. But there’s not a lot of research to back up the claim that glasses actually do this.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends wearing glasses in general as an alternative to contact lenses if you spend a lot of time staring at an electronic device. This is because glasses are less likely to cause dry eyes and irritation associated with prolonged contact lens use.
In theory, blue light blocking glasses help reduce eye strain. But this has not been definitively proven by research.
A small 2017 study measured 36 subjects wearing blue light glasses or a placebo. The researchers found that those who wore the blue light glasses for a 2-hour computing task suffered less eye strain, itchy eyes, and eye pain than those who did not wear them.
But other researchers have criticized this study for having potential for bias.
A 2021 study of 120 participants asked participants to wear blue-light blocking or transparent glasses and perform a task on the computer that lasted 2 hours. At the end of the study, the researchers found no difference in eye strain between the two groups.
Blue light blocking glasses are available in:
- corrective lenses
- over-the-counter (OTC) reading glasses
- glasses used solely for the purpose of blocking blue light
OTC Blue light blocking glasses can cost between $13 and $60. Order blue light blocking glasses are more expensive. The price will depend on the type of frames you choose and can range from $120 to over $200.
If you have medical insurance and need a prescription blue light blocking glasses, your insurance plan may cover some of the cost.
While Blue light blocking glasses are available at many retail stores, they are not endorsed by major professional eyewear companies.
But if you want to try blue light blocking glasses for yourself, here are some considerations:
- Or buy: You can buy blue light blocking glasses at many major retailers that sell sunglasses. Some online eyewear brands, such as Warby Parker and EyeBuyDirect, offer a blue light blocking coating on their prescription eyewear.
- UV Protection: If you spend time outdoors with your blue light blocking glasses on, make sure they have UV protection.
- Comfort: As with many eyewear brands, comfort is a major consideration. Look for lightweight glasses that don’t pinch the bridge of your nose, slide down your nose, or sit too tight behind your ears.
If you’re not sure if blue light blocking glasses are beneficial or right for you, you might want to start with a pair that’s cheap and comfortable to wear.
The effectiveness of blue light blocking glasses is not supported by much research. But if you spend a lot of time in front of your computer or watching TV, you might still want to try them to see if they help reduce eye strain and improve symptoms like dry eyes and redness.
You can also help reduce eye strain by taking 10-minute breaks from your computer or digital device every hour, using eye drops, and wearing glasses instead of contact lenses.
If you’re concerned about eye strain, talk to a doctor or eye doctor about other beneficial ways to help reduce any eye strain symptoms you may have.