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Blue Light Glasses: What They Do, Why You Need Them & Where to Buy

Blue light glasses are designed to filter blue light from the sun, computers, and mobile devices from entering your eyes.

man staring at screen

A 2018 study published in International Journal of Ophthalmology shows that blue light can pass through your cornea and lens to the retina, exposing you to eye problems like cataracts, dry eyes, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Blue light glasses attempt to counteract the negative effects of blue light by protecting your eyes. But some studies have concluded that there is a lack of evidence to support the use of blue light glasses to improve sleep, reduce eye fatigue, or improve vision.

What Are Blue Light Glasses?

Blue light glasses are eyeglasses designed to minimize the amount of blue light entering your eyes from digital devices. They have a surface coating on their lenses that aim to block blue light.

The goal is to reduce digital eye strain, prevent eye diseases, and improve sleep. But more often, people confuse blue light glasses with computer glasses. 

Computer glasses are designed to be worn for up-close tasks, like working on a computer. You can add features, such as anti-reflective and anti-scratch coatings. You can also add a coating that protects against blue light. If they are prescription glasses, computer glasses can correct vision issues.

Blue light glasses are simply used to protect against blue light. They are frequently purchased without a prescription; however, you can often have a coating that blocks blue light added to your prescription glasses.

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is electromagnetic energy from digital screens and the sun. It has shorter wavelengths ranging from 420 to 480 nanometers. It contains more energy than other lights, and this energy could potentially be harmful to your eyes.

Blue light from the sun can damage your eye tissues, increasing your risk of developing eye diseases. Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause eye cancer and cataracts.

How Does Blue Light Affect Your Eyes? 

Research into the effects of blue light is ongoing. Blue light has been linked to certain eye issues, but it isn’t believed that it directly causes them. It can potentially cause the following eye problems:

  • Digital eye strain: This is also called computer vision syndrome (CVS), and it occurs when you spend a lot of time on a digital screen that exposes you to blue light. CVS symptoms include eye fatigue, eye strain, watery eyes, and headaches.
  • Damage to the retina: This can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In some cases, blue light from the sun can cause AMD, a condition that affects your retina, causing blindness. In fact, a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology shows that blue light stimulates oxidative stress in your retina. This increases your chances of developing AMD.

How Do Blue Light Glasses Protect Your Eyes?

There is disagreement in the vision computer regarding blue light glasses. While many experts don’t believe they necessarily help, there is no harm in wearing them.

Blue light glasses have filters that block blue light waves emitted by light bulbs and the sun. A 2018 study concluded that blue light filtering glasses could help reduce blue light (UV and LED) damage to the retina.  

Still, there is a lack of sufficient evidence supporting the claim that blue light glasses can reduce CVS symptoms. A 2021 study published in American Journal of Ophthalmology shows that wearing blue light glasses doesn’t improve CSV symptoms. Therefore, the American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend using blue-blocking glasses when working on computers.

Instead, they suggest you:

  • Take regular eye breaks by looking away from your computer. Try the 20-20-20 rule —for every 20 minutes you focus on your monitor, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 
  • Check for bright lights in the room and switch them off to reduce glare. 
  • Sit about 25 inches from your computer to avoid eye strain.
  • Use artificial tears to prevent and relieve dry eyes.
  • Blink more often to allow your eyes to produce tears and refresh.

When to Wear Blue Light Glasses

You could potentially benefit from the use of blue light glasses when: 

  • Working the night shift. If you are staring at devices at night, the blue light might potentially disrupt your circadian rhythm. Blue light glasses may help to mitigate this. 
  • Using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The amount of blue light your smartphone or computer emits could possibly lead to eye fatigue, discomfort, and headaches. Blue light glasses may reduce these effects.
  • Indoors. It’s not just about smartphones, tablets, or computers. Your televisions and LED lights also emit blue light that can affect your eyes. To minimize exposure, wear light-blocking glasses when watching TV. 
  • Outdoors. Sunlight is another natural source of blue light that can affect your eyes. Blue light blocking glasses may protect against some of the sun’s blue light.

Best Rated Blue Light Glass

When looking for blue light glasses, look for options that:

  • Block 95 percent of blue light.
  • Are UV-rated with an anti-glare coating.
  • Have a general warranty against breaking.
  • Are comfortable to wear .
  • Have an anti-reflective coating 

Here are some of the top retailers for blue-light-blocking glasses:

  • EyeBuyDirect has a solid selection of blue light blocking glasses, including many affordable options. 
  • Warby Parker offers a wide selection of glasses, including blue light glasses. You can also add a blue light filter to your lenses. And for every pair of glasses sold, they donate a pair to someone in need.
  • Flex Gray offers a variety of products to reduce blue light exposure, especially for computer users. 
  • Peepers have a wide selection of blue light glasses. 
  • Livho features an array of blue light glasses that are FDA-approved. 

Most Cost-Effective Blue Light Glasses

Like most glasses, you can find blue light glasses at a variety of price points. Here are some of the most cost-effective blue light glasses:

Blue Light Glasses FAQs 

What are the benefits of blue light glasses? 

Blue light glasses may increase contrast on your screen, reducing eye strain. However, there isn’t enough evidence to support this claim. Instead, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends taking eye breaks when using screens.

Some studies show that blue light filtering glasses can protect your eyes from blue light that can damage your retina.

Can you wear blue light glasses all day? 

Yes, there are no adverse effects from wearing blue light glasses for extended periods of time. If you work on screens for long hours, feel free to wear your blue light glasses throughout the entire day.

Do blue light glasses really work?

There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that blue light glasses prevent digital eye strain or reduce eye fatigue. However, a 2021 study published in Chronobiology International Journal shows that using blue-light-blocking glasses before bed could improve sleep. Ultimately, studies are ongoing, but there are no harmful effects from wearing blue light glasses.

Do blue light glasses prevent headaches?
There isn’t evidence to suggest that blue light causes headaches, but light in general can trigger headaches. As a result, blue light glasses might potentially reduce some of the light that reaches the eyes, resulting in fewer or less severe headaches. 

References

  1. Are Blue Light-Blocking Glasses Worth It? (March 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

  2. Blue-Blocking Filters and Digital Eyestrain. (January 2019). Optometry and Vision Science.

  3. Blue-Light Filtering Spectacle Lenses: Optical and Clinical Performances. (January 2017). PLOS ONE.

  4. Blue-Light Hype or Much Ado About Nothing? (July 2019). American Optometric Association (AOA).

  5. Computer Vision Syndrome. American Optometric Association (AOA).

  6. Digital Devices and Your Eyes. (January 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  7. Do Blue-Blocking Lenses Reduce Eye Strain From Extended Screen Time? A Double-Masked Randomized Controlled Trial. (February 2021). American Journal of Ophthalmology (AJO).

  8. Evening Wear of Blue-Blocking Glasses for Sleep and Mood Disorders: A Systematic Review. (May 2021). Chronobiology International Journal.

  9. Removal of the Blue Component of Light Significantly Decreases Retinal Damage After High Intensity Exposure. (March 2018). PLOS ONE

  10. Research Progress About the Effect and Prevention of Blue Light on Eyes. (December 2018). International Journal of Ophthalmology.

  11. The Effect of Blue-Light Blocking Spectacle Lenses on Visual Performance, Macular Health and the Sleep-Wake Cycle: A Systematic Review of The Literature. (November 2017). Journal of Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics.

  12. The Sun, UV Light and Your Eyes. (June 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  13. Treating the Digital Eye. (March 2016). American Optometric Association (AOA). 

Last Updated April 8, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.