Do Blue Light Glasses Work? Effectiveness & Tips for Reducing Exposure (2022)

Do Blue Light Glasses Work? Effectiveness & Tips for Reducing Exposure (1)Share on Pinterest

Blue light, also called blue-ray light, is a specific kind of light with a short wavelength.

This type of light is emitted from your computer screen, your mobile device, your flat-screen television, and many other devices that have screens.

Daily blue light exposure is exploding

The average person’s blue light exposure has increased exponentially in recent years as smartphones and laptops become more prevalent in daily life. But physicians are observing that blue light exposure may actually damage our eyes, according to a 2018 research review.

To help reduce damage from blue light, blue light glasses and lenses have been introduced. These may help limit the amount of blue light exposure your eyes get every day.

Researchers are still working to understand what blue light can do to your eyes over time.

In the meantime, evidence suggests that these types of lenses, along with certain lifestyle choices, can help treat blue-light-related symptoms like dry eye and eye fatigue.

Read on to learn what we know about blue light glasses, as well as what you can do to help prevent negative side effects from this type of light.

Blue light is a type of visible light on the light spectrum. It has a relatively short wavelength of 415 to 455 nanometers. Because of this, blue light rays contain more energy than many other light types.

Blue light isn’t produced by artificial sources only. We see blue light naturally every time we look up at a blue sky.

For thousands of years, humans were exposed to blue light only during the hours that the sun was up. So, our brains are trained to interpret blue light as a cue to be alert, energetic, and keep our bodies ready for action.

That’s why blue light exposure from a device can confuse your body. Your waking and sleeping cycle can be thrown off by high levels of blue light exposure — for example, from an artificial source (like your smartphone) in an otherwise dark environment.

And if you’re exposed to too much blue light during the day, your eyes can grow fatigued.

Dry eye is also a side effect of too much blue light exposure. You may be on your devices for more than 10 hours each day, both at home and at work — so you might be all too familiar with these symptoms.

Enter blue light glasses. These types of glasses are meant to filter blue light as light waves pass into your eyes. The idea is that this would allow you to use sources of blue light, like smartphones and laptops, with minimal side effects.

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Do blue light glasses work?

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology doesn’t currently recommend special blue-light-filtering glasses for use when you work with computers.

This may change in the future. A study that’s currently underway intends to more comprehensively examine whether blue light glasses have definitive benefits.

But in general, the evidence for blue light glasses as a preventive measure for reducing blue light exposure is mixed.

A 2017 review of three clinical trials found “poor” evidence to support the use of blue-light-blocking glasses to preserve eye health and prevent dry eye.

And another 2017 study found that only one-third of study participants said they benefited from using glasses with a blue-light-blocking coating on the lens. These participants claimed that the glasses reduced glare and improved vision during the time they were looking at their screens.

It’s also worth noting that this latter study was funded by blue-light-blocking lens retailer Swiss Lens Laboratory Ltd. This can indicate some bias in study results, due to private funding with a vested interest in outcomes that may drive company profit.

You don’t have to purchase blue light glasses to reduce your exposure to blue-ray light.

Protect your eyes from eyestrain and fatigue by adopting some eye-health-friendly habits, including:

  • Take “eye breaks” from your screens. You can do this by going on walks outside during the day. Avoid checking your phone during these breaks. You can also get vitamin D during time outside and connect with the natural world, which can both decrease stress.
  • Dim the lights in your home or workspace. Consider using red light as opposed to an LED bulb as a nightlight in your bedroom. Red light is less likely to disrupt your circadian rhythm because red wavelengths are shorter.
  • Take up hobbies that don’t involve screens. Screen-free time — perhaps spent reading, crocheting, or baking — can help decrease your blue light exposure.
  • Look into installing “blue-free” light bulbs. You can set these up in your home, and they’ll emit lower levels of blue light.
  • Institute a screen-free rule for your bedroom. Make an effort to avoid screens for the 2 to 3 hours before you turn in for the night.
  • Create screen-free spaces in your home. You can retreat to these spots for a momentary break from blue light exposure.
  • Treat symptoms of dry eye. You can do this by using over-the-counter eye drops.

Other technology tips

  • Consider setting up an email signature or text “away message.” This can let people know you are trying to avoid screen time. Advise them to call instead if they need you immediately. This can reduce the stress of feeling the constant need to look at your phone later at night.
  • Check out your phone’s preinstalled features. Some phones have options for “wind down” or “night” modes that change light emissions to a warmer tone for less blue light exposure.
  • Research blue-light-blocking screen protectors. You can get these for your phone and laptop.
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According to a 2016 review, research suggests that over time blue light exposure can result in more than just eyestrain and fatigue.

Computer vision syndrome, a set of symptoms related to screen time, is experienced by up to 90 percent of computer users, according to 2011 research.

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include:

  • eyestrain and fatigue
  • dry eye
  • blurred vision
  • headaches

The signals that blue light sends to your brain can also disrupt your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. This can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep after using your devices at night.

And beyond sleep quality, melatonin disruption throws off the entire hormone balance in your body.

Poor sleep quality can also change the way that your body feels stress. When you aren’t getting REM sleep, your mind isn’t able to fully relax.

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Blue light exposure may already be causing you to have symptoms like eyestrain and dry eye.

If these symptoms don’t resolve with lifestyle changes and self-care strategies, speak with an eye doctor about them.

You should also make an appointment with an eye doctor if you experience the following:

  • frequent bouts of eyestrain
  • eyestrain that lasts for days
  • prolonged, frequent symptoms of dry eye
  • decrease in your vision quality
  • blurred vision

As far as blue light glasses go, the definitive verdict is still out in their ability to substantively reduce your exposure to blue light and the associated symptoms of exposure.

But limiting blue-light exposure, adopting habits to take better care of your eyes, and taking breaks from your screens can all help you avoid dry eye and eyestrain caused by blue light exposure.

FAQs

Do blue light blocking glasses actually work? ›

Wearing blue light glasses may sound like a good solution, but a recent study determined there was little evidence to support the use of blue-blocking filters in the prevention of digital eye strain.

Are there any downsides to blue light glasses? ›

The disadvantages of having blue light protecting computer glasses: The glasses with blue light filters change the color of everything you see in the yellow tint. This often causes difficulties to read the screens. The light blue glasses increase the number of complaints of scotopic vision loss.

What can we do to decrease our exposure to the blue light? ›

Reducing The Effects of Blue Light
  1. Cut down on screen time. Taking regular breaks from computer or TV screens rests your eyes and limits blue light exposure. ...
  2. Take a break from blue light at night. Screen breaks are most important in the evening. ...
  3. Get new glasses. Computer glasses with special lenses can lower exposure.
3 Oct 2020

Should I wear blue light glasses watching TV? ›

You should definitely wear a precision pair of blue light blocking glasses when watching the TV, this includes watching daytime television shows. There is too much high intensity blue light present from television screens so you need to filter it down to protect against digital eyestrain and headaches.

Do blue light glasses Work 2022? ›

In short, the answer is yes. There is no evidence that shows signs of potential damage due to wearing blue light glasses all day. In fact, these glasses provide added protection to keep your eyes fatigue-free all day.

Why can I still see blue with blue light glasses? ›

Blue light glasses with tinted lenses (amber, yellow, orange, red, etc.) alter the colors perceived on a screen. These colors appear warmer, but it allows better protection against blue light. On the other hand, blue light glasses with transparent lenses do not change the colors of the screens.

Do blue light glasses help with headaches? ›

For many years, blue light blocking glasses have also been thought to help with the eye strain, dryness, blurred vision, and headaches. However, newly published research suggests that they actually aren't effective at reducing headaches and other symptoms related to digital eye strain.

What benefits do blue light glasses have? ›

Blue light glasses might not work for everyone, but they may help reduce potential damage to the eyes from prolonged exposure to blue light.
...
What are Blue Light Glasses?
  • Improve visual performance.
  • Improve sleep quality.
  • Alleviate eye fatigue.
  • Conserve macular health.
13 Aug 2021

How do I protect my eyes from blue light on my laptop? ›

How to set up blue light filters in your settings
  1. Open up your start menu.
  2. Select the gear icon to open up your settings menu.
  3. Go to system settings (display, notifications, and power)
  4. Select display.
  5. Turn the Night Light switch on.
  6. Go to Night Light setting.
11 Nov 2020

Can blue light cause headaches? ›

Blue Light Can Cause Headaches and Migraines

Researchers have suggested that there is a specific neural pathway from the eyes to the brain—separate from how vision is transmitted—that ultimately causes blue light wavelengths to worsen headache pain and other symptoms.

How can we protect our eyes from LED light? ›

One easy way to guard your eyes is to wear glasses with lenses that offer complete UV protection on both the front and back surfaces.

How often should I wear my blue light glasses? ›

So when is the right time to wear blue light blocking lenses? Anytime that you are using a desktop monitor or laptop computer you should be wearing your blue light blocking lenses. Many employees spend at least eight hours a day looking at a computer screen.

Are all blue light glasses the same? ›

Blue Light Glasses

One very convenient option is to prevent blue light from reaching the eyes by wearing blue light blocking glasses. The important thing to note, though, is that not all blue light blocking glasses are the same. Some are much more effective at blocking blue light than others.

Are expensive blue light glasses worth it? ›

Should I buy blue light glasses? The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) does not recommend blue light glasses — or any other special eyewear for screen use. It states that "many eye symptoms caused by computer use are only temporary and will lessen after you stop using the computer."

How do I know which blue light glasses to buy? ›

The percentage amount of blue light blocked is the first thing to take note of. Aim for a pair blocking over 95% of blue light. Also, consider the lens color, if they are FDA approved, have UV rated anti-glare coating, the sturdiness of the hinges and if prescription lenses are available.

Are computer glasses worth it? ›

Computer glasses won't entirely prevent digital eye strain but they can help reduce your symptoms. While blue light filters do block it from reaching your eyes, there is no concrete evidence blue light harms your eyes. Some professionals recommend them despite this.

What benefits do blue light glasses have? ›

Blue light glasses might not work for everyone, but they may help reduce potential damage to the eyes from prolonged exposure to blue light.
...
What are Blue Light Glasses?
  • Improve visual performance.
  • Improve sleep quality.
  • Alleviate eye fatigue.
  • Conserve macular health.
13 Aug 2021

What does blue light do to your eyes? ›

Constant exposure to blue light over time could damage retinal cells and cause vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration. It can also contribute to cataracts, eye cancer and growths on the clear covering over the white part of the eye.

Can blue light blocking glasses be clear? ›

And while clear lenses in blue light blocking glasses won't harm you in any way, Rapoport said, they also don't help your eye health, nor do they benefit your sleep cycle. These clear lenses offer minimal blue light filtration, making them less effective than yellow lenses.

Do blue light glasses help with headaches? ›

For many years, blue light blocking glasses have also been thought to help with the eye strain, dryness, blurred vision, and headaches. However, newly published research suggests that they actually aren't effective at reducing headaches and other symptoms related to digital eye strain.

Are all blue light glasses the same? ›

Blue Light Glasses

One very convenient option is to prevent blue light from reaching the eyes by wearing blue light blocking glasses. The important thing to note, though, is that not all blue light blocking glasses are the same. Some are much more effective at blocking blue light than others.

Does blue light contribute to macular degeneration? ›

The bottom line. Blue light from electronic devices is not going to increase the risk of macular degeneration or harm any other part of the eye. However, the use of these devices may disrupt sleep or disturb other aspects of your health or circadian rhythm.

Can blue light cause cataracts? ›

Studies have shown that blue light can induce the production of ROS in the mitochondria of lens epithelial cells (hLECs), which may lead to the development of cataracts[12]–[13].

How do you test blue light glasses? ›

Perform the blue sky computer glasses blue light filter test. It is as easy as it sounds. Just wait for a clear day and hold your glasses towards the blue sky. During normal wear, the lenses look clear, but they actually have a slight yellow tint if filtering the recommended 30% of blue light.

Which glasses are best for computer use? ›

Eyezen lenses are computer glasses made to protect your eyes while you work on your computer, tablet or smartphone. They can help you see your screen more clearly, whether it be large or small, and can help protect your eyes from the harmful blue light given out by computer screens.

What percentage of blue light should glasses block? ›

Non-prescription and prescription blue light blocking glasses can only block five to 40 percent of blue light between a spectrum of 400 and 495 nm, which may not be as sufficient for those who spend several hours on the computer each day. Lenses that block more than 40 percent of blue light begin to have a yellow tint.

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