The amount of time the average person spends looking at a screen daily has increased exponentially in recent times. As screen exposure increases, the effects that screens have on your body and eyes also heightens.
Professionals have acknowledged that excessive screen use can harm the eyes, especially when we do not use the appropriate measures to protect our eyesight. Many doctors and eye care professionals have suggested lessening screen time to prevent eye damage from overexposure to blue light. While that is not possible for many people — such as those who work in front of computers all day, every day — an alternate solution is to wear protective eye gear, such as blue light glasses.
Doing so can lessen the harmful impacts of screen use. Below, we’ll tell you more about blue light glasses and how they work.
How Does Blue Light Affect Your Vision?
After a long day working on your computer, watching television or doing any other activity that requires you to look at a screen, you have probably experienced symptoms such as dry eyes, blurry or strained vision, headaches or difficulty sleeping. These issues occur because devices like computers and smartphones emit high-energy visible (HEV) rays — more commonly called blue light rays.
The visible spectrum of light ranges from red to blue, with blue sitting closely to invisible ultraviolet or UV light. Light waves on the spectrum that are closer to red have longer waves than blue light rays. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the light frequency that hits our eyes, making short waves more harmful to our eyesight.
Wavelengths between 300 and 400 nanometers can penetrate the cornea — after this happens, these wavelengths are absorbed by the iris or pupil. Blue light runs in the visual light spectrum between 400 and 490 nanometers. Research suggests that short-wave blue light between 415 and 455 nanometers correlates with eye damage.
When crystals directly penetrate the retina, this causes permanent photochemical retinal damage. Eye injury peaks at 440 nanometers, which directly falls within the median range of blue light emitted from digital screens.
Natural blue light waves come from the sun and are closer to green waves on the visible light scale. The sun’s blue light can be beneficial for humans because it influences your circadian rhythm and memory, but you must still practice caution due to the sun’s UV rays. The artificial blue light radiating off screens has the opposite effect.
This phenomenon occurs because humans expose themselves to excessive amounts of blue light during their screen time and may not spend enough time in the sun’s natural light, which can have adverse effects on the eyes.
How Do Blue Light Blocking Glasses Work?
Working indoors and being exposed to extended screen time puts your eyes at risk when you do not properly protect them from these light rays. To prevent short-term irritants and long-term eye damage, consider wearing blue light glasses. These glasses have lenses specially crafted to partially block or filter blue light before it reaches your eyes.
Blue light glasses differ from regular or prescription lenses in their material makeup. To help ease the effects of HEV rays, companies specifically make plastic lenses out of a compound that disperses blue light into a wavelength range of 380 to 400 nanometers, which falls below the normal range of short blue light waves.
Blue light glasses are available in prescription lenses, reading lenses and non-prescription lenses, which make them convenient for anyone who spends time on their screened device and feels its adverse effects.
Do You Need Blue Light Glasses?
If you use screen technology for extended periods throughout the week, blue light glasses can be beneficial for your eye health. Because of how recent this new technology surge is, studies on the long-term effects of blue light exposure are limited. However, because blue light exposure from digital screens has become virtually unavoidable in everyday life, blue-light-blocking glasses should be an important consideration in your lifestyle.
Even if you do not feel the effects of blue light exposure right away, you should consider wearing blue light glasses to protect your eyes before you notice any vision changes. If you do not currently notice any detrimental side effects from extensive screen time, blue light glasses may act as a preventative measure so that you never experience the effects of HEV light.
Benefits of Blue Light Glasses
Based on the many potential dangers of extended blue light consumption, there are many benefits to wearing glasses that disperse blue light and lessen its effects on your body. Here are some notable advantages of wearing blue light glasses while you surf the web or watch movies:
1. Relieve Eye Strain
One of the major complaints from avid technology users regarding their health is eye strain. A common condition, eye strain occurs from intense overuse of the eye, with 65% of Americans saying they have experienced symptoms of eye strain from frequent screen use. This type of eye strain even has its own name: digital eye strain or computer vision.
Eye strain is a condition with a multitude of symptoms that affect both your vision and your eyes themselves. For example, digital eye strain can cause blurred or double vision, making it difficult to see for short periods. It also affects the eyes through eye discomfort, fatigue, itching and redness.
For some people, eye strain causes dry eye, while others experience eye tearing. Each of these symptoms, combined or on its own, can cause your eyes to feel overused and tired. Although the symptoms of eye strain are mostly short term, the severity of these side effects varies from person to person based on their eye history and device exposure times.
While you can minimize eye strain by lessening screen time, this is not possible for many people. Instead of avoiding digital screens entirely, the combination of limiting your screen time and wearing blue light glasses while using your digital devices can reduce your symptoms of eye strain.
2. Experience Fewer Headaches
If you spend excessive amounts of time behind a screen, you probably have experienced headaches resulting from this. These headaches can happen for various reasons, but the leading cause of headaches from screen usage stems from digital eye strain. If you experience digital eye strain after extended screen time, you may begin to feel a dull headache or pressure behind your eyes. Over 27% of people with eye strain experience headaches as a result of this issue.
Screen time may also affect your head if you are predisposed to chronic headaches or migraines. The blue light that radiates off your device can be a trigger for migraine attacks after you spend long periods on the computer or watching television. If you regularly experience headaches, their pain, consistency and frequency may increase with irregular or excessive screen use that subjects you to increased blue light rays.
Wearing blue light glasses will help lessen the effect of short-wave blue light rays, causing the waves to reach your eyes at a lesser wavelength. Therefore, blue light glasses can help ease tension in the eyes, reducing the likelihood or severity of experiencing a headache or migraine.
3. Get Better Sleep
Another aspect of your life that may be affected by screen time is your sleep quality, specifically if you use your devices directly before bedtime. Light interrupts the body’s natural ability to release melatonin. The main function of melatonin is to help maintain your circadian rhythm, or your sleep-wake cycle, based on the sun’s rising and setting through the body’s exposure to light.
Your body limits its release of melatonin based on light exposure. Since darkness causes the body to produce more melatonin, your body is likely suppressing the release of melatonin based on your screen habits. While any type of light can affect your circadian rhythm, studies show blue light influences the body more severely. In one research study, blue light suppressed melatonin for twice as long as green light waves did.
The best solution for a better night’s sleep is to avoid screen time before bed entirely and create a sleep hygiene routine, but wearing blue light glasses can help reduce the harsh effects of short-wave blue light. Decreasing these effects can help regulate your circadian rhythm, allowing you to feel more tired at night and have healthier and more consistent sleep patterns.
4. Reduce Risks of Long-Term Eye Disease
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the number one cause of vision loss for older adults, is an eye disease that affects your central vision, making things look blurry or wavy or even creating a blind spot. Macular degeneration affects the macula, or the center of your retina, by wearing it down. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue in your eye, and the blue light that your screens give off passes into the retina, increasing your risk of AMD and other long-term eye diseases.
While the cornea and eye lens block ultraviolet light, they cannot prevent blue light from reaching the retina. Because blue light is directly beside UV rays on the scale of light wavelengths and has such a short wave, it hits your eyes at a higher frequency than other colored light wavelengths do. As your eyes cannot naturally block this light, blue light glasses can help mitigate some of the effects that the harsh blue light has on your eyes.
Blue light glasses can help reduce your chances of developing AMD and other eye diseases because they lessen the amount of blue light reaching the retina. Since the retina plays an important role in preventing blindness, it is important to protect your retinas as much as possible from the high-energy visible light rays emitted from digital devices.
5. Improve Your Comfort
Wearing blue light glasses might relieve you from some of the symptoms you experience from your exposure to blue light. Whether you experience eye strain, persistent headaches or trouble sleeping, these issues affect how you feel. They can also drain your energy levels, causing you to perform less than your best at work. And even with low energy levels, you might not get enough sleep as desired because of blue light’s effects on your body clock.
Regardless of the intensity of your symptoms, your focus and productivity probably become reduced while dealing with them. Any sort of irregularity or discomfort in your body can be a distraction. Since maximizing productivity is likely your main goal when you’re working, it is important to do what you can to alleviate any symptoms you suffer from blue light exposure.
6. Increase the Aesthetic Appeal of Your Glasses
Another reason to wear blue light glasses is for cosmetic purposes. It is important to feel good about yourself and how you look, as this makes you more confident and helps you be more productive as a result.
Blue light’s effects on your body can impact how you look and feel about yourself in numerous ways. For example, if blue light exposure negatively affects your sleeping habits, you may feel as well as look tired. If you cherish your sleep and value the cosmetic effects it has on your body, blue light glasses may help you feel and look more awake.
Similarly, if you find yourself squinting after hours on the computer, this may cause wrinkles near the corners of your eyes and forehead. While this is not a physical health concern, it may be of personal importance to you. If you wear sunglasses in the summer to prevent squinting and eye damage, this is equivalent to wearing blue light glasses when looking at your screens.
You can also get blue light glasses in many frames and styles. Your eyewear acts like any other accessory you may wear. It allows you to express yourself through your clothing, which many people find important, and lets you coordinate colors, designs and patterns. When you look good, you feel good. If there’s a chance for your glasses to make you feel good about yourself while protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of blue light, there’s no reason not to try a pair of blue light glasses during your screen time.
Shop for Blue-Light Glasses at Lensabl
At Lensabl, we know the vision care industry can often be expensive and inconvenient. That is why we sell lenses, frames and contacts online and at a lower price than traditional retail stores. We offer prescription, reading and non-prescription lenses, plus various eyeglass frames — including many frames from designer brands. Regardless of your style or budget, we likely have something that can fit your tastes.
If you’re interested in protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of blue light waves with blue light glasses — or if you have any other eyewear needs — contact us today or browse our website to find something that’s stylish, affordable and right for you!