Do Blue Light Glasses Work?

Do Blue Light Filtering Glasses Really Work?

In recent years Blue Light Glasses have been touted as helping with eye strain and protecting eye health. Wearing blue light glasses may sound like a good solution, but there is little evidence to support the use of blue-blocking filters in the prevention of digital eye strain.

What are Blue Light Glasses?

Blue light glasses have lenses that are tinted (usually a pale yellow) to filter out the blue light given off from digital devices like your phone, pad, or computer screen. Blue light can disrupt your sleep pattern because it can alter your circadian rhythm (your internal clock that tells you when to be awake or asleep). So if you have a habit of using a screen in the hours before bedtime, blue light glasses might be worth a try.  

Can Blue Light Glasses Help with Eye Strain?

Most eye issues associated with screen use are not due to blue light. The discomfort we experience from digital screen use is actually called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). 

Symptoms include:

Your eyes are constantly moving and shifting focus while looking at a screen. In addition, glare and contrast from the device can also make it difficult to see clearly. So, although you may be experiencing eye irritation from a long day working on your device or computer, the eye discomfort you are experiencing is not from the blue light itself. 

When we stare at a screen, our blink rate decreases and results in the cornea (the front window of the eye) getting dry and irritated. When we focus on close objects, like devices and books, our eyes are strained and contracted which can cause discomfort.

How Can I Deal with Eye Strain?

Even though blue light glasses are unlikely to help, here are some other ways to relieve eye strain.

20/20/20 Rule

Practice the 20/20/20 Rule: For every 20 minutes of near work, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You can make your eyes relax by taking away the stimulus of accommodation by looking at a distant object.

Artificial Tear Drops

Using an over-the-counter artificial tear lubricating drop can help keep your cornea lubricated while on the computer. One or two drops per day can typically provide relief.  

Computer Working Distance

Most people sit too close to their computer screen. If possible set your screen distance to about 24 inches and increase the font size.

Blue light glasses are not effective at preventing digital eye strain, but there is no harm in wearing them. If your goal is preventing eye strain, save your money and practice good screen habits instead. However, if you use screens late at night and have trouble falling asleep, they may be worth a try.

Author
Guy Brignola, OD Guy Brignola, OD Guy Brignola, OD, is a board-certified optometrist treating patients in and around Trappe, Blue Bell, and North Wales, Pennsylvania, at Ophthalmology Physicians & Surgeons, PC. He has been practicing as an optometrist in the Philadelphia area for nearly 20 years, bringing extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease, comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, preoperative evaluations, and post-operative care to the practice.

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