Eye Strain And Blue Light Glasses
Too much time spent in front of a computer screen can give you eye strain. Youll know it if you have it. Asthenopia, which is the clinical term for eye strain, can cause eye fatigue, red eyes, eye pain, blurred vision, headache, and even double vision. While taking a break and closing your eyes or focusing on something distant can work well, there is another solution to help soothe your tired eyes.
Blue light blocking glasses have filtered lenses that block the blue light emanating from your computer screen. Thats important because blue light has shown to be detrimental to our vision, but it also potentially disrupts human sleep patterns, keeping you awake. If you use blue light blocking glasses, these rays can be blocked, which helps reduce eye strain and also prevent the light from causing insomnia.
If youre considering blue light glasses for the first time, which brand should you choose? Weve looked at a few of the brands out there, including:
- Finally, the Blue Blocking Amber Glasses are geared so you can program all night but still get to sleep. These nighttime glasses are certainly more expensive, at $40, but they have great reviews on Amazon and approval from the FDA. These glasses have been shown to block 99% of the blue light that is very disruptive to sleep. Theyre even wraparound to make sure no light gets in to affect your peripheral vision.
Blue Light Is Everywhere
Sunlight is the main source of blue light, and being outdoors during daylight is where we get most of our exposure to it. But there are many other sources of blue light including LED lighting and flat-panel screens.
Most notably, the screens of computers, tablets, smartphones and other digital devices produce significant levels of blue light.
The amount of HEV blue light these devices emit is only a fraction of that in sunlight. But the amount of time people spend using these devices and the proximity of these screens to the users face have many eye doctors and other health care professionals concerned. It’s possible there may be long-term effects of blue light from computers and phones on the health of our eyes.
Is Blue Light That Bad
Here’s where it gets tricky: claims from manufacturers of blue light blocking glasses that don’t necessarily hold up to medical scrutiny. Essentially, blue light can’t directly damage your eyesight. The American Academy of Opthalmology notes that ultraviolet radiation can damage eyes but that computer monitors and other screens don’t emit that kind of radiation. The whites are cool, but they aren’t harmful. In fact, the AAO doesn’t recommend any special eyewear for computer use.
This doesn’t mean you should simply ignore the effects of staring at a screen all day. While the radiation might not hurt your eyes, fixating on a powerful light source a few inches or a few feet from your eyes for long periods can cause eye strain. Your eyes can become dry, irritated, or blurry and you can even get headaches when you look at screens for hours on end. Blue light blocking technology can help reduce that strain by making the light appear more soothing and less bright.
The AAO recommends the 20-20-20 rule every 20 minutes, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break. It’s a good habit to get into, but it isn’t always realistic and it isn’t the only thing you can do to help your eyes.
Below are products that can help alleviate screen strain on your eyes . We also cover a few software solutions that can help reduce your exposure to blue light.
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Best Splurge: Lensdirect Emory Glasses
Can be ordered as prescription glasses
Durable acetate frames
Standard lenses lack features
While Lens Direct’s Emory Blue Light Blocking Glasses may come with a slightly larger price tag, they’re worth every penny. These chic glasses are lightweight and fit comfortably on your face without pinching or squeezing your head. Their durable acetate frame flatters any face, and it comes in a handful of colors including crystal, tortoise, and navy blue.
Lens Direct also offers upgrades like anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings, so you can make sure your investment lasts. If you love the style of these frames, you can also order them with prescription lenses or as reading glasses.
Frame Material: Acetate | Blue Light Absorption: Not specified | Lens Color: Clear
What Is Blue Light And Where Does It Come From
Common sources of blue light include the sun, fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, and digital devices like computers and smartphones. You see, visible light comes in a spectrum of wavelengths. Each wavelength has its own energy level, and blue light actually has the highest energy of any wavelength on the visible spectrum.
Because of that, blue light has the potential to impact your eye health more than other types of visible light. Digital screens of all kinds computers, smartphones, televisions, tablets emit lots of this high-energy blue light.
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Why Blue Light Glasses Are Good For Your Eyes
The digital age has given us a lot of great benefits. But one of the things its also given most of us is eye strain. This has necessitated a new invention, called blue light glasses. What are they, and why are they helpful in reducing asthenopia ? What brands offer the best blue light glasses this year? This blog has all the answers.
Its A Modern Day Menace
Blue light penetrates your retinas, giving your brain a cue that its time to wake up and seize the day. But extended exposure to blue light can have a significant impact on our wellbeing headaches, eye irritation and fatigue are all common symptoms of blue light exposure.
Plus, by restricting the production of melatonin , blue light disrupts your natural sleep cycles causing you to feel lethargic, irritable and unproductive. Yikes!
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So Rather Than Investing In Blue
- Monitor the length of screen time.
- Reduce the duration of your screen time.
- Take frequent breaks.
If you’re still experiencing eyestrain or other eye issues, make an appointment for a thorough eye examination to ensure your eyes stay healthy and any problems are caught early.
For the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a non-patient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
Can Blue Light Glasses Be Harmful
There appears to be no evidence that blue light glasses are harmful. However, people who wear them may expect them to work and therefore not take other precautions that could help alleviate symptoms associated with screen time.
Several companies manufacture blue light glasses and lenses. Products include:
- Hi-Vision BlueControl
- Gammaray Optix blue light blocking glasses
- Felix Gray Turing glasses
- Uvex Skyper blue light blocking glasses
- Cyxus blue light filtering computer glasses
- Prospek blue light glasses
The AAO recommends the following tips for avoiding eyestrain:
- Stay around an arms length, or 25 inches, away from screens.
- Look slightly downwards at the screen.
- Use the 20-20-20 rule, which involves looking away from the screen to an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes, to give the eyes a break.
- Use artificial tears to add moisture if the eyes feel dry.
- Adjust the lighting in a room and the contrast levels of the screen to make it comfortable to look at.
- Use a matte screen filter if needed.
- Wear glasses when using a screen, if an optometrist or opthalmologist has prescribed them.
CVS is a collection of eye and vision problems that can occur following prolonged use of digital screens, such as those on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Symptoms of CVS include:
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What The Science Says About Blue Light Glasses
Research released in February of 2021 indicates that blue light lenses may have no effect at relieving digital eye strain symptoms. 120 eye-strain-symptomatic computer users were asked to complete a 2-hour computer task. Each person was randomly given either clear glasses or blue blockers, but each was led to believe they were wearing blue blockers.
After 2 hours, there was no significant difference in the feedback given from each group. Even more telling is that there was no difference in the eye strain symptom score between the two groups. In short, the blue light glasses had no effect.
Add this study to the fact that blue light may not even be the real culprit for your digital eye strain, and there are serious doubts about the effectiveness of blue light blocking glasses.
When Should You Use Blue Light Glasses
While using a laptop or computer
We spend a lot of time staring at computer displays, which is bad for our eyes. On average, people sit in front of computer displays for at least eight hours every day. Long-term exposure to the blue light generated by screens can cause unpleasant side effects including dry eyes and headaches. You can combat these issues by using eye protective glasses while working to minimize blue light contact.
When using tablet and cell phone
You must account for the time you use other electronic devices in addition to the eight hours you spend at work sitting in front of your computer. Due to the blue light that modern technologies create, using cellphones, tablets, e-readers, and televisions can also harm your eyes.
While watching TV
The pineal gland in our brains secretes less melatonin when exposed to blue light at night. It reduces the time of the night as sensed by the body. Constantly being exposed to blue light in the evening interferes with melatonin generation and affects the quality of your sleep. If you use blue light glasses before bed, they can lessen the negative effects of blue light and enhance your sleeping experience.
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What Is Cvs Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer vision syndrome is strain on the eyes that happens when you use a computer or digital device for prolonged periods of time. Anyone who has spent a few hours on the computer has probably felt some of the effects of prolonged use of the computer or other digital technology.
What is the 2020 rule?
Try your best to remember to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Set a timer to remind you to look away every 20 minutes at an object that is about 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds. Buy some artificial tears at your local drugstore to use when your eyes feel dry. A humidifier can also help.
Can blue light glasses help with headaches?
Do Blue Light Glasses Work
Manufacturers claim that blue light glasses filter out blue light.
Blue light glasses feature filtering materials or surface coating on the lenses to block out blue light.
People who believe that their eye and vision symptoms are from blue light exposure may wear blue light glasses to reduce their exposure.
Experts cant rule out an undiscovered risk of chronic, day-long blue light exposure.
However, some experts state that the low levels of blue light coming from devices are not dangerous. This is even with prolonged exposure.6
A 2017 systematic review suggests there is not enough evidence available to support the potential benefits of blue light glasses.5 Some advertisers have even received fines for misleading claims.
Despite the lack of evidence to support the use of blue light glasses, wearing them wont cause any harm. Its up to the person whether they want to try blue light glasses.
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Prolonged Screen Time Decreases Your Natural Blink Rate Which Reduces The Film Of Tears Covering Your Eyes Making Them Dry You Can Prevent This By:
- Taking frequent breaks during screen time. Try following the “20-20-20 rule.” Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Using artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
- Getting a vision exam to evaluate an uncorrected eyeglasses prescription or refractive error. This helps identify focusing issues and if your eyes are working well together, both of which could cause eyestrain.
Best Style: Felix Gray Turing Glasses
If you’re going to wear your blue light blocking glasses to the office , you probably want a pair that gives you a clean, polished look. Felix Gray’s Turing Glasses are the best of both worlds. They are both stylish and effective and use filtering technology to eliminate up to 50% of blue light.
Frame Material: Organic acetate | Blue Light Absorption: Up to 50% | Lens Color: Clear
Verywell Health / Simone Scully
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Why Should You Wear Blue Light Glasses For Eye Protection
Wearing glasses to address eyesight issues is pretty common. But, regular glasses wont work to fully protect your eyes from damaging blue light exposure. Wearing blue light glasses is good for your general health, even if you dont have eyesight issues.
Blue light glasses are different from conventional eyeglasses because they are made particularly to protect your eyes from the effects of extended screen use and damaging blue light exposure. Blue light emitting from electronics causes different issues like dry eye, hazy vision, eyestrain, retinal deterioration, cataracts, sleep problems, migraines, and headaches.
To lessen glare projected off electronics, blue light glasses contain an anti-reflective coating. Here are some advantages of using blue light glasses that filter blue light:
- Increase the standard of sleep
- Reduced levels of stress hormones
But be mindful that not all blue light glasses are made equal and only the high-quality ones offer the optimal protection.
What Scientific Research Says About Blue Light Glasses
So far, research doesnt support the idea that blue light glasses can relieve digital eyestrain symptoms, such as headaches, dry eyes, or blurred vision. There havent been any scientific studies that have proven they have any sort of health benefits, says Vivienne Sinh Hau, MD, an ophthalmologist at Kaiser Permanente in Riverside, California.
According to a trial published in February 2021 in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, blue light glasses worn during a two-hour computer task did not change eyestrain symptoms whatsoever. And another small study, published January 2019 in Optometry and Vision Science, found that even though a blue-blocking filter used on a computer screen blocked 99 percent of wavelengths between 400 and 500 nanometers, it didnt alleviate digital eyestrain symptoms any more effectively than a neutral filter.
Thats likely because blue light isnt the only reason for digital eyestrain. The screen-related issues that people are having with their eyes are indeed more likely related to dry eye, eyestrain things like that, says Lauren Branchini, MD, an ophthalmologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center and an assistant professor at UMass Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts.
In short, because blue light isnt to blame for the headaches and dry eyes youre feeling, blue light glasses likely wont help.
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Benefits Of Blue Light Glasses
This is where blue light glasses come into play. This type of eyewear works by absorbing the blue light wavelengths before they reach your eyes. Certain types of lenses can also reduce glareanother cause of eyestrain and CVS.
While there is some debate as to the effectiveness of blue light glasses for reducing eye strain, there is evidence that suggests blue light glasses are an effective way to regulate sleep. Exposure to blue light can impact your circadian rhythm as our bodies are naturally designed to wake up with the sun . However, if youre spending too much time on your devices before bed, your body tends to get a little confused and you may have trouble drifting off. Thats because the blue light inhibits our natural production of melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Avoiding blue light from screens for the recommended four hours before bedtime might feel unrealistic to somebut wearing blue light glasses could help you scroll yourself to sleep.
If its eye strain youre worried about, experts often recommend taking other precautions to help reduce the negative impacts of screen time. One example is the 20-20-20 rule: Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by focusing on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Another perceived benefit of blue light glasses? They arent just functionaltheyre fashionable, too! Different color frames, shapes, and styles mean this eyewear can reflect your personal taste and even complement your outfit.
What Are The Myths
Basically, that blue light causes eye strain or worse permanent eye damage.
As for eye strain, Arundel says the theory is that blue light scatters in the eye and increases the effort needed to maintain visual focus. There are, however, many components which contribute to digital eye strain, he says, and there is currently no high-level evidence to support wearing blue-light blocking glasses.
Andersons own findings from a randomised controlled trial, , found no difference in symptoms between participants wearing blue-light filters and those wearing clear lenses.
Anderson says researchers are working to determine what causes eye strain. Blue light aside, even the overall light from screens is unlikely to be an issue. Scientists now believe its more to do with human behaviour and how we use our digital devices, rather than a feature inherent in the screens. For example, when youre staring at a screen, your blinking rate drops to about five times slower than usual, so your eyes are more likely to dry out and feel tired.
Also, Anderson says, fixing your gaze at a short distance for long periods of time can then make it difficult to relax your muscles to adjust your focus for further distances, and that makes things further away appear blurry. Looking at a computer screen also exposes the eyes more, potentially contributing to dryness. Then, theres poor positioning of a screen, which can cause visual discomfort, for example with glare from a window behind you.
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