How Do Blue Light Glasses Work?

As you browse the eyeglass selection, you notice various lenses claiming to block blue light. With the rise in digital device usage, companies now market blue light blocking lenses to alleviate eye strain. But how do these compare to the UV protection of traditional sunglasses? In this article, you’ll compare blue light glasses to other popular options to determine which most effectively protect your eyes. Analyzing specialized coatings, tints, and filters, you’ll learn the unique benefits and limitations of each. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions when shopping eye protection and select the best lenses for your needs. Arm yourself with information to see through marketing claims and keep your eyes healthy in our increasingly digital world.

 blue light glasses

Blue Light Glasses vs Traditional Sunglasses

Blue light glasses are designed to specifically filter out blue light rays from digital screens and artificial lighting. They contain specialized lenses that block blue light while still allowing other visible light to pass through.

Blocking Harmful Blue Light

The lenses in blue light glasses are infused with a special pigment that absorbs high-energy blue light wavelengths between 415 to 455 nm. This range includes the highest energy blue light that can cause digital eye strain and potentially lead to long-term damage. By filtering out this harmful blue light, the glasses aim to reduce eye fatigue, dry eyes, and headaches from screen use and exposure to artificial light.

Allowing Beneficial Blue Light

However, not all blue light is bad. Blue light in the 460 to 500 nm range is important for circadian rhythm and mood regulation. Blue light glasses are designed to block out only the most harmful blue light wavelengths while still allowing some beneficial blue light to pass through. They strike a balance between limiting harmful exposure and supporting essential bodily functions.

Usage and Effects

Blue light glasses are meant to be worn during any activity that exposes your eyes to blue light, including using digital screens, fluorescent lighting, and LEDs. Many people find the biggest benefits when wearing them during prolonged technology use, such as working on the computer for multiple hours per day. The effects are often felt immediately, with reduced eye strain and fatigue. Long term, blue light glasses may help support eye health and prevent premature aging of the eyes.

Blue light glasses can be used alone or in combination with other eye protection like computer glasses or sunglasses. For the best all-around eye health and comfort, combine blue light filtering lenses with proper screen use habits, limited screen time, and regular breaks from looking at bright screens and lights.

The Benefits of Blue Light Blocking Lenses

Reduced Eye Strain

Blue light glasses are designed to block harmful high energy visible (HEV) blue light from electronics like phones, tablets, and computer screens. By filtering this blue light, blue light glasses aim to reduce digital eye strain that can cause dry eyes, headaches, and fatigue. Traditional sunglasses typically do not provide this targeted blue light filtering technology.

Improved Sleep Quality

Exposure to blue light before bed can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep. Blue light glasses filter the blue light that can negatively impact melatonin production and sleep-wake cycles. Wearing blue light glasses in the evening may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Regular sunglasses do not provide this benefit.

Vision Protection

While blue light glasses and traditional sunglasses both aim to protect your vision in different ways, blue light glasses provide protection against long-term damage from blue light exposure which may contribute to macular degeneration. Blue light glasses can be an important preventative measure for vision health, especially for those who spend many hours each day looking at digital screens.

Use in Combination

For comprehensive eye protection and vision health, blue light glasses can be used in combination with traditional sunglasses. When outside during the day, sunglasses should be worn to guard against UV radiation. During screen time or in the evening, blue light glasses can be used to filter out harmful blue light and support better sleep. Together, these specialized eyeglasses provide protection from both UV and blue light exposure.

Comparing Yellow-Tinted Glasses and Blue Light Filters

Reduce Digital Eye Strain

Blue light blocking lenses are specially designed to filter out blue light emissions from digital screens and artificial lighting. By blocking blue light, these lenses can help reduce digital eye strain from extended use of phones, tablets, and computers. Studies show that blue light exposure from screens and energy-efficient lighting can lead to dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and insomnia. Blue light blocking lenses provide a practical solution to mitigate these effects.

Improve Sleep Quality

Exposure to blue light after dark tricks our brain into thinking it's still daytime, disrupting our circadian rhythm. Blue light blocking lenses filter blue light, which may help improve sleep quality and daytime alertness. Research indicates that wearing blue light blocking lenses during evening screen use and for up to an hour before bed can have sleep-promoting benefits.

Support Long-Term Eye Health

While blue light in moderation is considered safe, long-term exposure to high energy visible (HEV) blue light may lead to age-related macular degeneration. Blue light blocking lenses filter blue light, which may help support long-term eye health and reduce the risk of vision loss as we age. Studies show that blue light blocking lenses can reduce retinal cell death from blue light exposure by up to 30-40%.

Enhance Visual Comfort

For some individuals, blue light can seem overly bright and irritating. Blue light blocking lenses enhance visual comfort by reducing glare and filtering harsh blue wavelengths. They create an overall warmer tone that many find more pleasant for extended viewing. Those with light sensitivity or who prefer less saturated colors may find blue light blocking lenses particularly helpful for reducing eye strain and improving visual comfort.

In summary, blue light blocking lenses offer significant benefits for digital eye wellness and long-term vision health. When used properly, they can reduce digital eye strain, support better sleep, enhance visual comfort, and promote lifelong healthy vision. Blue light blocking lenses provide an easy solution for anyone concerned about the effects of blue light exposure from technology and artificial lighting.

Other Digital Eye Strain Remedies to Use With Blue Light Glasses

Screen Filters

Along with blue light glasses, screen filters that attach to your digital devices can help reduce eye strain. These filters block blue light and glare, allowing your eyes to focus better on the screen. Many popular brands of blue light glasses now offer screen filters that are specially designed to complement their lenses. Using screen filters in combination with blue light glasses provides the most comprehensive protection from harmful digital eyestrain.

The 20-20-20 Rule

No matter what eye protection you use, it's important to give your eyes regular breaks from looking at bright screens. The 20-20-20 rule recommends taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes and looking at something 20 feet away. This helps reduce eye strain by focusing your eyes on distant objects, allowing your eyes to relax. Even brief breaks can provide relief and make blue light glasses and screen filters more effective when you do resume looking at digital devices.

Proper Display Settings

The brightness and color settings on your digital screens can intensify eye strain if not properly adjusted. Reducing the brightness and blue light levels on devices like phones, tablets, and computer monitors can make a big difference in eye comfort. Many devices now have a "night mode" that filters blue light and dims the screen for better low-light viewing. Activating this mode during the day may also help reduce digital eye strain, especially when used along with blue light glasses and the 20-20-20 rule.

Other Tips

Remaining tips for reducing digital eyestrain include:

  • Holding your devices slightly further away from your eyes. Even a few extra inches can help your eyes focus better.
  • Using voice commands instead of looking at the screen. This gives your eyes an occasional break from constant visual focus.
  • Practicing eye exercises like blinking, rolling your eyes and focusing on distant objects.
  • Ensuring proper posture to allow your eyes to relax. Slouching or hunching over a screen strains your eyes.
  • Limiting screen time when possible. Take longer breaks from technology to rest your eyes.

Using a combination of blue light glasses, screen filters and smart digital habits, you can effectively protect your eyes from harmful blue light and reduce digital eyestrain for improved long term eye health and comfort. By making small changes to your daily technology use, you'll be helping your eyes in a big way.

Finding the Right Blue Light Blocking Glasses for You

Lens Material

The material the lenses are made from is one of the most significant factors determining how much blue light they block. Polycarbonate lenses offer basic protection, blocking only about 20% of blue light. High-index lenses block around 50% of blue light. However, the most effective are polarized lenses like those in blu-ray shielding computer glasses, which block up to 90% of blue light.

Lens Tint

The color tint of the lenses also impacts how much blue light they absorb. Amber and yellow-tinted lenses are very effective at filtering blue light and reducing digital eye strain. They block the greatest amount of blue light, around 90%. Clear or lightly tinted lenses still offer some protection, blocking 50-80% of blue light, but may not relieve eye strain as well as darker tints.

Anti-Reflective Coatings

Anti-reflective coatings help reduce glare from screens and bright lights. Glasses with multi-layered anti-reflective coatings block over 90% of blue light. Single-layered coatings still block a majority of blue light at around 70-80% effectiveness. The more advanced and layered the anti-reflective coating, the more comprehensive the blue light protection.

Additional Features

Additional beneficial features for blue light blocking glasses include polarized lenses to reduce screen glare, UV protection to shield from sun damage, and magnification for those needing vision correction or enhancement. Combining blue light filtering lenses with these extra features provides comprehensive protection and visual support for digital device use.

In summary, the most effective blue light blocking glasses use high-quality lens materials, darker tints like amber or yellow, multi-layered anti-reflective coatings, and added features such as polarization or magnification. With the proper selection of glasses that incorporate these attributes, you can gain maximum defense against the potential damage and discomfort caused by excessive blue light exposure.

When to Wear Blue Light Glasses vs Sunglasses

Start Slowly

When you first get your blue light glasses, begin by wearing them for short periods, such as 30-60 minutes at a time. This allows your eyes to adjust gradually to the tint and prevents eye strain from the change. As your eyes get accustomed to the glasses, you can wear them for longer durations. Within a week or two of regular use, you should be able to wear them comfortably for most of the day.

Focus on Reducing Digital Eye Strain

The primary benefit of blue light glasses is reducing digital eye strain from electronic devices. Wear them whenever you're looking at digital screens, such as smartphones, tablets, TVs, and computers. The yellow tint filters out the high energy blue light these devices emit, making them more comfortable to view for long periods. You may notice fewer headaches, less eye fatigue, and improved sleep.

Use Them for Other Activities Too

Blue light glasses can also be beneficial for some indoor and low light conditions where blue-rich light is present. Consider wearing them for tasks like reading, writing, and indoor hobbies where your eyes are visually focused for an extended time. The tint helps relax your eyes in these situations as well. However, for driving or outdoors, traditional sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays are better options.

Be Patient Through the Adjustment Period

It can take time for your eyes and brain to get used to the color distortion from the yellow tint. Images may seem slightly darkened, and colors may appear somewhat off. Don't get discouraged. Your eyes will adjust to the tint over regular use, and the benefits to your vision and eye health are well worth this temporary inconvenience. Stick with the glasses, and in no time they'll just seem normal.

With regular use, blue light glasses can become as natural as your other eyewear. Follow these tips to ease into wearing them, focus on the benefits, and be patient through the initial adjustment period. Protecting your vision for the long-term is worth the short-term discomfort. Your eyes will thank you for it.

Blue Light Glasses FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered

How Do Blue Light Glasses Work?

Blue light glasses, also known as computer glasses, are designed to block harmful blue light while allowing other visible light rays to pass through. Blue light is emitted by digital screens like smartphones, tablets, and computer monitors. Over time, exposure to blue light can have damaging effects on your vision, sleep, and mood.

Why Are They Important?

Blue light glasses work by filtering out blue light in the 415 to 455 nm range, which is the range considered most harmful. They allow other beneficial light wavelengths to pass through so you can still see clearly. Many people who spend long hours looking at digital screens experience digital eye strain, which can cause dry eyes, headaches, and difficulty focusing. Blue light glasses aim to relieve these symptoms by reducing eye fatigue from excessive blue light exposure.

Can They Improve Sleep?

Extended exposure to blue light, especially in the evening, can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep at night. Blue light tricks your brain into thinking it's daytime, suppressing the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Wearing blue light glasses a few hours before bed can help block the blue light that disrupts your sleep-wake cycle so you feel tired at the appropriate time.

Are They Beneficial for Long-Term Eye Health?

Some research also links long-term blue light exposure to an increased risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss. Blue light glasses may help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration by reducing oxidative stress on the retina. They can also help prevent or reduce the frequency and severity of computer vision syndrome and digital eye strain, which can cause dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck pain.

In summary, blue light glasses are an easy way to protect your vision, support better sleep, and boost your long-term eye health. For the best results, choose blue light glasses that block at least 50% of blue light in the range of 415 to 455 nm. Wear them whenever viewing digital screens or artificial lighting, especially in the evening. Your eyes will thank you.

Roger Sarkis