Eyeglasses that claim to filter out blue light from electronic devices have become increasingly popular, especially since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. With more people spending time in front of screens, it didn’t take long before concern about the effects of blue light set in and if people should take precautions. To reduce potential harm there has been a rise in blue light glasses and lenses, but are they worth investing in? As your trusted optometrists, we are here to help and offer our advice on blue light glasses.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is quite high in intensity along the visible light spectrum and is just below UV radiation levels. Blue light has a wavelength of between approximately 380nm and 500nm making it one of the shortest, high-energy wavelengths.
The short, high-energy waves of ultraviolet and blue light can cause various changes to the body. In moderation some exposure can be beneficial, however, too much exposure can cause sunburn or increase your risk for developing certain health conditions such as skin cancer, cataracts, or macular degeneration.
Where Does Blue Light Come From?
Blue light can be found everywhere. Though the sun is the main source of natural blue light, there are many man-made sources such as fluorescent lights and LED lighting. However, the most notable source of man-made blue light is from digital display screens on smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions.
Though these devices may only emit a fraction of rays compared to the sun, the amount of time spent looking at these devices and, in such proximity, has been a cause for concern for many healthcare professionals.
What Are Blue Light Glasses?
Blue light glasses are designed with a filter to provide relief from the side effects associated with staring at blue light devices and claim to reduce the risk of retina damage due to prolonged exposure.
However, according to the American Association of Ophthalmology, there is little scientific evidence to support these claims
Does Blue Light Cause Eye Strain?
Studies have shown that digital eye fatigue, also known as computer vision syndrome, is not caused by blue light devices but rather the way we use our devices.
Today, both adults and children may spend hours a day staring at a screen. When we stare at screens, we tend to blink less frequently leading to dry eyes, burning eyes, itchy eyes, and blurred vision. Staring at a light source close to our face for prolonged periods can cause the following symptoms: eye fatigue, light sensitivity, headache, neck and shoulder pain, and difficulty concentrating.
There is no denying that hours spent in front of the screen can be harmful to your vision, but the irritation and discomfort are not directly from blue light.
Tips to Reduce Digital Eye Strain
You can protect your eyes from digital eye strain with the following tips.
If you spend most of your day looking at a screen, be sure to use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. BY looking at objects at varying distances frequently, your eyes relax to refocus.
When your eyes feel dry, use eye drops to help lubricate them throughout the day as you work.
Adjust your setting periodically throughout the day. Changing the lighting in your room or office and the contrast of your screen can help to reduce eye strain. A matte screen filter can help to prevent glare. Remember to sit at least an arm’s length away from your computer or laptop and avoid looking down at your phone or tablet to avoid neck strain.
Throughout the day, try to take breaks from electronic devices such as a short walk, avoiding checking your phone during breaks, or taking up a screen-free hobby such as baking or puzzling to decrease your exposure.
In short, blue light glasses have little evidence to support significantly reducing symptoms of digital eye strain or preventing damage from blue light exposure. If you are concerned about digital eye strain or the impact your job may have on your visit, speak with your optometrist about ways to protect your vision. For more information on the effect of blue light on your vision and our services or to schedule an appointment, contact St. Lucy’s Vision Center today.