In today’s technology-driven world, many of us spend a significant portion of our day glued to screens. Whether for work, school, or leisure, our digital devices emit blue light, sparking concerns about its impact on eye health and digital eye strain.
In response, blue light glasses have gained popularity as a potential solution. Blue light glasses are safe to wear all day but may not always be beneficial or necessary for everyone. We look at the science behind blue light, the benefits and limitations of blue light glasses, and the best practices for maintaining healthy vision.
Blue Light and Its Effects
Blue light is a short-wavelength, high-energy light on the visible spectrum. While the sun is the strongest source of blue light, it is also given off by artificial light sources like the LED (light-emitting diode) screens in our smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs.
The amount of blue light emitted by these digital devices is only a fraction of what is emitted by the sun. However, concerns about eye health have still been raised due to the proximity of these screens to our eyes and the long hours people tend to spend in front of them. Prolonged exposure to digital screens can certainly lead to eye-related issues like digital eye strain.
Symptoms of digital eye strain can include the following:
- Irritated eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty focusing
The Role of Blue Light Glasses
Blue light glasses, also known as blue blockers, are designed to reduce the amount of blue light entering our eyes. These glasses typically have special coatings or tints that filter out or block a portion of blue light.
Blue light glasses are safe to wear all day, as evidence doesn’t suggest they cause harm. However, you should still take other precautions to prevent symptoms associated with long hours of screen time.
Blue Light and Sleep
Wearing blue light glasses in the evening or before bedtime might aid in promoting better sleep quality. By blocking blue light, these glasses can minimize disruption of melatonin production, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep.
Blue Light and Retinal Damage
Some studies suggest that excessive blue light exposure could contribute to retinal damage over time. However, most experts agree that digital devices do not emit enough blue light to be a health concern and that the sun is the only blue light source bright enough to actually cause tissue damage.
The Need for Individual Assessment
Individual assessment by your eye doctor is always the best approach to determine whether blue light glasses are right for you. While they can be advantageous for specific scenarios, wearing them all day may not be necessary or suitable for everyone.
The necessity for blue light glasses may vary based on an individual’s profession and screen time usage. Those who spend long hours in front of screens may find these glasses more beneficial than someone with minimal screen exposure.
People with pre-existing eye conditions or sensitivity to light may benefit from blue light glasses. However, those with healthy eyes and limited screen time may not experience significant benefits from constant wear. In fact, one study found that an hour of exposure to blue light in the morning actually improved alertness, mood, and visual comfort!
Best Practices for Eye Health
While blue light glasses can be a valuable tool, they are not a standalone solution for maintaining eye health. Here are some best practices to promote healthy vision and avoid eye strain:
- Adopt the 20-20-20 rule by taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away. This practice gives your eyes a break from focusing too long on your screen to reduce eye strain.
- Reduce the brightness of your screen.
- You can turn on blue light reduction in modern versions of both Windows and macOS if you find it beneficial—check your display settings for something called “Night Light” or “NIght Shift.” Many newer computer monitors also have built-in blue light reduction modes that can be enabled at any time.
- Position your screen so it’s an arm’s length away from your eyes and at, or slightly below, eye level.
- Minimize screen exposure, especially 2–3 hours before bedtime, to improve sleep quality and prevent disruption to your circadian rhythm.
- Use eye drops or artificial tears to keep the eyes lubricated.
- Schedule routine eye exams with your eye doctor to monitor your eye health and address any concerns promptly.
- Wear the correct prescription glasses or contact lenses when using digital screens.
Supporting Eye Health & Vision
There may be potential benefits to wearing blue light glasses, especially for individuals with significant screen exposure or light sensitivity. And while wearing them all day may not be harmful, constant use of these glasses may not be necessary for everyone and might have some limitations.
It’s important to assess individual needs, consider other eye care practices, and have regular eye exams to help maintain your eye health. To determine whether you should wear blue light glasses, book an appointment with Vista Eyecare for personalized advice and recommendations.