Companies that make and sell blue light blocking lenses claim that they reduce eye fatigue, retina damage and headaches from late nights in front of a computer. But there is no research behind these claims and the companies that sell these lenses are the ones making these claims. The AAO does not recommend them.
There has been lots of research on blue light, but none of it supports the idea that glasses with light filter lenses are beneficial. Are they worth the extra money? Probably not.
What are Blue Light Filter Lenses?
Blue light blocking glasses are glasses fitted with a filter in the lenses that can block or absorb some of the light which is everywhere. Some designs additionally block UV light, similar to sunglasses.
“Blue light” is everywhere, and it is a general term and refers to all the light that falls in the range of 400-495nm. The “bad” light is only in the 400-430nm range. The “good” blue light is in the 430-490nm range and we need that to stay healthy and to survive. Companies claim that we may get more blue light that we need from television screens, laptops, mobile devices, and other electronics on the market. The average American will spend up to half of their waking lives (42 percent) in front of screens.
Companies that sell blue light blocking lenses do not distinguish between the good and the bad blue light.
Studies show that too much screen time can have a negative effect on the mind but also impact your eye health. For example, adults who spend hours in front of a computer screen to perform work-related tasks increase the risk of headaches and migraines. However, recent claims by companies that sell blue blocking lenses imply that this light is the leading cause of this and other hazards to people’s eyes.
Some vendors and advertisements about blue-blocking lenses claim to help prevent eye strain. They recommend to wear them during the day and anytime you are sitting in front of a computer or mobile device, especially at night.
Are Blue Blocking Glasses The Answer?
If blue blocker glasses are the answer, where’s the evidence to support these claims?
Wearing glasses with these lenses can reduce – by a small amount – the total amount of blue light that enters your eyes while you are looking at a screen – good and bad blue light. But, blue light is natural and a necessary part of the light spectrum, and light blocking lenses only block a small amount of the blue light that is entering your eyes.
Why is Blue Light Hazardous?
On a clear, sunny summer day, there’s no avoiding the bright blue sky. While humans have evolved under light from the sun, it was common practice to avoid looking directly into it to preserve eyesight. Nowadays there are new technologies emitting various wavelengths of light and people are staring directly into them for prolonged periods of time.
The concern of excess blue light comes from the long-term effects of screen exposure, the close proximity of viewing, and the length of time in front of these screens.
Can Blue Light Glasses Protect Your Eyes
For people with a sensitivity to blue light, having a pair of blue light glasses may reduce any adverse effects on your eyes. However, any claims that blue blocking glasses can improve sleep, reduce headaches, and prevent eye problems may be misleading due to a lack of evidence to support it.
If you want to protect your eyes and avoid symptoms of eye strain, the best advice would be to:
- Reduce the amount of time spent in front of a screen;
- Take regular breaks (i.e., 20-20-20 rule: Take breaks every 20 minutes by looking at an object 20 meters away for 20 seconds);
- Wear the appropriate eyewear, especially for any prescription glasses.
With all the hype in the media, blue light lenses may just provide a placebo effect. Or, perhaps more time is needed for research to discover its benefits. Ultimately, getting a pair of blue light lenses comes down to personal preference.