There is a reason why everyone seems to be talking about blue light these days. If you are reading this on a screen (smartphone, laptop, tablet), you are exposing your eyes to blue light.
Our daily exposure to blue light is merely one color in the spectrum of light.
In fact, even the sun and indoor lighting emit some amount of blue light. Finding a way to manage this light is the key.
Now, back to the screens. As we spend more time staring at monitors, iPads, and smartphones, we are exposed to more blue light – which is why blue light filtering glasses might be beneficial.
What is blue light anyway?
Firstly, blue light does not appear blue to the naked eye.
Known as high-energy visible (HEV) light, blue light has the shortest wavelengths of the visible light spectrum (400 to 500 nanometers or nm) as well as the highest energy, according to Dr. David Friess, OD, FAAO, a member of the Eyesafe Vision Health Advisory Board.
Blue light is not well blocked by the eye. The cornea and lens prevent ultraviolet rays from reaching the retina. Blue light passes through these structures and can reach the retina.
There is evidence that blue light exposure increases the risk of macular degeneration and contributes to digital eye strain.
There are also two primary domains of blue light, says Friess. One type damages retinal cells, and the other affects our wake/sleep cycle.”
According to him, this “good” blue light contributes to the physical and emotional health of a person.
How does blue light affect your eyes?
Our natural body clocks can be disrupted by blue light, which is everywhere.
According to Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, founding director of Southern California Eyecare and Vision Research Institute, “we are constantly exposed to blue light from ambient sunlight, computer screens, tablets, and mobile phones.”.
It is thought that blue light is associated with the daytime, so if a person is exposed to blue light for a prolonged period of time during the night, it will make it more difficult for them to fall asleep during the night or wake up in the morning, according to Varma.
While there is no definitive information on the exact amount of blue light you can be exposed to before showing serious side effects, Caroline Dubreuil, EyeBuyDirect’s product marketing manager, noted that “long-term exposure to screen light can have some intense serious side effects.”
The symptoms of blue light exposure include headaches, disorientation, and insomnia.
Benefits of blue light glasses
Digital eye strain may be caused by excessive screen time.
According to Dr. Raj K. Maturi, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, blue light is only one of the causes of eye strain.
“We strain our eye muscles when we look at such a close target,” Maturi explained.
Blue light (the sleep hormone) is affected by late-night screen time, which throws off sleep patterns.
In order to sleep, your body needs to produce sleep hormones such as melatonin. Blue light disrupts these signals, which results in less melatonin being produced.
A blue light filtering eyeglass can alleviate symptoms of excessive screen time, such as eye strain and sleeplessness.
How do blue light eyeglasses work?
Eyesafe Vision Health Advisory Board member Dr. Sheri Rowen, MD, FACS, stated, “Blue light lenses filter out blue light by blocking a specific segment or range of wavelengths.”
As well as providing actual filtering, Rowen says the lenses are designed to reduce digital eye strain and to avoid disrupting circadian rhythm cycles, affecting sleep and overall health.
If you can see any color at all, the blue light lenses have a pale yellow tint and are designed to block harmful blue light while modulating the wavelength that impacts circadian rhythm.
Do you need blue light glasses?
Possibly, as adults spend an average of 11 hours per day on devices and in front of screens. As a result, our eyes are exposed to a great deal of digital light strain.
If you do not require glasses to see clearly, Dubreuil recommends wearing blue light blocking glasses whenever you use a digital device.
Blue light glasses can be beneficial to those who spend a lot of time on their phones at night.
Dubreuil stated that digital screens are major sources of blue light, and specifically the type of blue light that our bodies use to regulate sleep.
When we use our digital devices, especially late at night, our brains are actually telling our bodies to stay awake.”
According to Dr. Dubreuil, “Research has shown that wearing light filtering glasses three to four hours before bedtime can lead to a better and more restful night’s sleep.”
Where can you find blue light filtering glasses?
Rowen advises consulting an eye care professional to determine your need for protection.
In addition, she recommends that you have a comprehensive eye exam once a year to maintain your eye health.
It is important to do some research before purchasing blue light glasses online. Check reviews, return policies, and most importantly, ensure that the lenses do not transmit harmful blue light.
How to choose blue light glasses
It is important to look for a certificate that specifies the wavelength range that is filtered when purchasing blue light glasses, Rowen advises.
Ideally, this range should cover the wavelength range of 455 nanometers or more for blue light filtering.
Blue light can also be blocked in other ways
You can try apps or settings built into your phone if you are still on the fence about blue light filtering glasses.
According to Maturi, most smartphones include a nightlight function. The screen changes imperceptibly over the course of a few hours, ensuring that the melatonin levels stay balanced.
It is also possible to use a free program such as F.lux, which adjusts your screen’s color according to the time of day.
You may want to consider Iris, which offers a greater degree of customization for a small investment.
Additionally, you can purchase blue light filters for your monitor, as well as blue light filtering lightbulbs that automatically filter out blue light at night.
It is important to note that photochromic lenses can be worn indoors or outdoors, day or night, because they block both the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and blue light rays.
The following are other causes of digital eye strain:
To summarize, blue light filtering glasses and “sleep aware” apps can reduce blue light transmission to the visual system. However, blue light is not the only contributor to digital eye strain.
Digital eye strain may also be caused by accommodative or focusing problems, problems with eye tearing, and dry eye syndrome.
We tend to blink less when we are looking at our screens, which can result in tired eyes, blurry vision, and dry eyes.
In order to return to normal vision, Maturi recommends that you look 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
In order to reduce the effects of blue light exposure and digital eye strain, spectacle technology and digital apps can be used.
A participant in the digital age is also required to take into consideration the need to achieve a balance with the use of digital devices, as well as the fact that the simple act of reducing exposure and use can also contribute to good eye health.