If your Whatsapp groups are anything like mine right now, they’re probably littered with selfies of your mates in their new blue light blocking glasses. Blue light glasses are not only a modern day necessity but the next must-have Zoom accessory, reducing the eye fatigue and strain caused by near-constant exposure to blue light while upgrading your video call #lewk in an instant. And sales have doubled during the pandemic.
While it’s undeniably better to cut your screen time altogether if you want to reduce the negative impacts of blue light exposure, in the midst of a national lockdown, doing so is not always realistic. We’re working from home – often for longer hours than we’d work for in the office – checking our phones, Facetiming loved ones and then watching television to unwind from all of the above. As such, *everyone’s* blue light exposure has increased of late – and our poor eyes are suffering.
Do I need blue light glasses?
While the jury is still out on the long-term effectiveness of blue light glasses, there are many reasons why investing in a pair of blue light glasses could be a good idea. Sure, prolonged exposure to any kind of light is bed for your eyes, but blue light is the worst of the bunch.
Blue light wavelengths are shorter than those of other types of light (like red or yellow), which means it has more energy. Plus, blue light is not filtered out by either the cornea or lens in our eyes, which means it can cause retinal damage or long term eye conditions (like macular degeneration – ouch). In fact, one study found that removing blue light during periods of prolonged light exposure drastically reduces retinal damage.
Blue light is also the primary cause of a condition called computer vision syndrome – or digital eye strain, as it’s more commonly known. The good thing is that this condition is temporary – but it can still be rather uncomfortable. It’s defined by symptoms like dizziness, headaches, dry eyes and blurred vision caused by staring at a screen for a long time. I’ve definitely been subject to all of that numerous times since I began working from home.
If you’re still not convinced, you might like to know that wearing blue light glasses could also help you sleep better. One study found that blue light suppresses melatonin production, the hormone that controls your sleep cycle. As such, wearing blue light glasses could help regulate melatonin production once more.
Do blue light blocking glasses really work?
Blue light glasses aim to filter out blue-light with anti-glare lenses which shield the fibres in your eyes. Many wearers report reduced headaches when wearing them, though some studies have suggested this *could* just be a placebo.
Dr. Mark Rosenfield, a professor at the College of Optometry at State University of New York, found that when participants read from a tablet computer for about 30 minutes wearing commercially available spectacle lenses that typically block around 20 to 25% of blue light, they reported no significant change in the symptoms of digital eye strain in comparison to the group who did not wear blue light blocking glasses. Rosenfield suggested that this may be to do with the distance from which we tend to hold our devices in comparison to printed material, rather than the blue light itself…
That said, Rosenfield did state that even if symptoms are not visibly reduced, blue light glasses could be super helpful when it comes to regulating our body’s internal light cycle. Basically, they could stop that late-night phone screen staring from preventing you from getting to sleep. In addition, a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health showed that when a group of young boys wore blue light blocking glasses while looking at their phones for a few hours before bed, they felt “significantly more sleepy” than they did when they wore clear glasses.
In short, though research is a tad inconclusive, there is *no harm* in trying out a pair of blue light glasses to see if they make a difference to you. Even if wearing blue light glasses makes you more aware of your screen time – and pulls in a few virtual compliments – the investment is worth it, right?
Is it OK to wear blue light blocking glasses all day?
Is it bad to wear blue light glasses all day? As far as we know, no. There are no studies which suggest it may be harmful to wear your blue harm glasses for the entirety of your working day.
Do prescription blue light glasses exist?
Yes! If you already wear prescription glasses, you can add blue light blocking technology to most prescription lenses as an upgrade. Bypass our gallery of the best blue light glasses below, and chat to your optician, instead.
For more from our Commerce Writer Sophie Cockett, follow her on Instagram @sophiecockettx.