Instead of going to sleep when the sun goes down, we lengthen our days with artificial lighting. Combined with the extended use of digital screens, we are regularly exposed to blue light rays. With more work meetings being held virtually and distance learning becoming popular, our daily exposure to blue light is rapidly increasing.
The manufacturers of blue light or computer glasses have taken note. Social media is filled with advertisements for eyeglasses that promise to filter out harmful light and protect our eyes.
WHAT IS BLUE LIGHT?
Light sources, the sun included, can produce visible and invisible light rays. The invisible ones, ultraviolet or UV rays, are how we get a suntan. Blue light is among the visible rays. According to Dr. Heiting, writing for AllAboutVision.com, compared to the other colored rays, blue light has more energy.
While commonly thought of in connection to technology, blue light is also present in the sun, fluorescent lights, TVs, and LED light bulbs.
BLUE LIGHT’S BAD RAP
Dr. Heiting explains that the human eye does a poor job preventing blue light from reaching the retina. Because the light reaches the retina, some people talk of potential damage to the light-sensitive cells in the retina or an increased risk of macular degeneration. In the near-term, significant exposure might cause digital eye strain including dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and other discomforts.
HOW BLUE LIGHT GLASSES WORK
Blue light-blocking glasses are designed to filter the number of blue rays that reach your retina. Some brand lenses contain a light yellow lens while others work with clear lenses. Typically, the visibly yellow lenses block more rays. One brand advertises to stop 50% of all blue light and 90% at the higher end of the spectrum.
Computer glasses can be purchased with or without a corrective prescription built into the lenses and can therefore be worn by people with perfect vision.
ARE COMPUTER GLASSES WORTH IT?
You can try them, but you don't need to buy them. Writing for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Daniel Porter says, "Blue light from computers will not lead to eye disease." While research has found similar light from the sun to be damaging, there is currently no similar discovery relating to blue light from technology.
Still, much anecdotal evidence points to the glasses' benefits. AllAboutVision.com author Adam Debrowsi suggests approaching computer glasses in a trial and error fashion. If you're searching for a solution to eye strain or use technology most of your day, there's no harm in trying the glasses for yourself.
OTHER SOLUTIONS TO EYE STRAIN
Porter suggested alternative solutions to resolve the eye strain symptoms commonly blamed on blue light. Using artificial tears, sitting an arm's length from the screen, wearing regular glasses instead of contact lenses, and reducing the screen's glare and brightness are solutions all worth a try.