Do blue light glasses protect your eyes from digital screens?
In recent years we have become more aware of the blue light from screens bombarding our eyes. Maybe your parents told you that too much TV could corrupt your brain or make you a couch potato.
Rotten brains and couch potatoes aside, let's take a serious look at blue light. Is it really harmful? And if so, will blue light glasses work to fix the problem?
What is blue light and where does it come from?
Common sources of blue light are the sun, fluorescent lights, LED lighting, and digital devices like computers and smartphones. You see, visible light comes in a spectrum of wavelengths. Each wavelength has its own energy level, and blue light actually has the highest energy of any wavelength in the visible spectrum.
Because of this, blue light has the potential to affect your eye health more than other types of visible light. Digital screens of all kinds (computers, smartphones, televisions, tablets) emit a lot of high-energy blue light.
But is blue light harmful?
With all that blue light, it's logical that spending a lot of time with digital devices can cause eyestrain. However, studies on the possible harm from blue light have not been very conclusive. The investigation is ongoing, but so far there have been mixed results.
If you suffer from migraines and are trying to determine if blue light glasses are working for migraines or sensitivity to light, you can do thisDiscover it here.
Blue light and ocular surface cell damage in vitro
And in 2019In Vitro Study(meaning the study was conducted in an artificial environment, not real people), the researchers concluded that blue light damaged cells on the surface of the human eye and that a shade could protect those cells. However, this recommendation was theoretical as no live humans were used in the study.
Blue Light and Waterfalls: Rats! (Literally)
In 2020, arat studyshowed a connection between increased exposure to blue light and the development of cataracts. But as you know, with few exceptions, humans are not rats.
Experts think of blue light
whileAmerican Academy of Ophthalmologyacknowledging the digital eye strain, it comes close to stating that blue light causes eye damage or affects eye health. See the following excerpts from aArticle 2021published on the AAO website:
“Hours of staring at digital screens result in fewer blinks. Blinking less sometimes causes a range of temporary eye symptoms known aseyestrain. But these effects are caused by the way people use their screens,not for everything that comes off the screens.The best way to avoid eyestrain is to take frequent screen breaks.
„Die American Academy of Ophthalmologydoes not recommend blue light blocking glasses due to the lack of scientific evidence that blue light is harmful to the eyes.”
In short, there are other factors that can contribute to eyestrain. Simply put, your discomfort is probably not caused by the blue light itself, but rather by effects like reduced flicker. You should also keep in mind that eyestrain is not the same as an eye disease.
Aside from the symptoms of temporary eyestrain, the big unanswered question is:
Actually makes blue lightDamageyour eyes?
No, the blue light does not harm your eyes. While it is often claimed online and in the media that this is the case, there is no evidence to support this claim.
The biggest problem of eyestrain
According to data fromdata reportpublished in March 2022, thethe average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutesevery day in front of a screen.
If you've found your eyes bothering you after hours in front of a computer or other screen, you may have experienced digital eyestrain. Digital eye strain is also known asComputer Vision Syndromeo CVS.
VisionCenter.orgestimates that 90% of people who use digital devices experience symptoms of digital eye strain, including:
- Shoulder, back or neck pain
- Problems with focusing between near and far
- eye discomfort or strain
- Difficulty keeping eyes open
- Increased sensitivity to light
- difficulty concentrating
- blurred vision
- double vision
- reduced flicker
- Dry eyes
- eye redness
- itchy eyes
The severity of your symptoms will largely depend on how long you have been using the digital device. The underlying eye diseases also have an effect, as do other factors, such as: B. the glare of the screen from overhead lights.
Luckily, the symptoms of digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome are usually temporary and will soon go away when you stop using your devices. Sometimes the symptoms can last for a while afterwards.
Other factors that contribute to digital eye strain
Watch your eye movements the next time you use a computer or other digital device. You'll probably find that your eyes spend a lot of time changing focus.
You may be looking for a code snippet. You could be chasing the nearest zombie at a virtual distance. Or maybe you're searching social media for the posts you really want to read. That's a lot of work for your eyes.
Adding to these requirements is glare caused by ambient light or the contrast on your computer screen.
If your eyes focus on something nearby, such as B. a screen, a smartphone or a book, your pupils tend to contract and tense. On the other hand, students tend to relax when looking at things that are further away.
Many factors—focus shift, glare, contrast, infrequent blinks, and close proximity—can easily lead to the digital eye strain symptoms mentioned above. Sure, your eyes can get sore after a long day at the computer, but that doesn't mean blue light is the real culprit. Maybe you just need a break.
What are blue light glasses?
So if we're not sure if blue light actually harms your eyes, what does that say about the effectiveness of blue light glasses?
Blue light-blocking glasses are a type of glasses made with special lenses that filter out blue light but let other types of light through. Blue light-blocking glasses aren't harmful or bad for your eyes, but how do they work?
Blue light glasses work by shielding your eyes from high-energy blue wavelengths, reducing the potential for eye damage from prolonged exposure. In general, the purpose of blue light glasses is to reduce digital eye strain and improve sleep quality.
Now that you know what blue light glasses are, let's talk about whether they really work.
What science says about blue light glasses
Research published in February 2021 suggests that blue light lenses are usedcan have no effectto relieve the symptoms of digital eyestrain. 120 computer users with symptoms of eye fatigue were asked to solve a two-hour computer task. Each subject was randomly assigned either clear glasses (placebo) or blue sunscreen, but everyone was tricked into believing they were wearing blue sunscreen.
After 2 hours there was no significant difference in the feedback from either group. More revealingly, there was no difference in eye strain symptom ratings between the two groups. In short, the blue light glasses had no effect.
Add to this study the fact that blue light may not even be the real culprit for your digital eye strain, and there are serious questions about the effectiveness of blue light-blocking glasses.
Mixed reviews and ongoing research
AStudy 2017of 80 computer users found that a third benefited after wearing blue-blocking glasses for a month. They claimed the glasses improved vision and reduced glare when using digital screens.
It should be noted that this study was funded by a manufacturer of blue light glasses.
Further studies are currently underway, e.gThethat he wants to examine more closely whether blue light glasses bring concrete advantages to users.
Blue light glasses and quality of sleep
While the American Academy of Ophthalmology does not state that blue light is harmful to the eyes, there are many who say that wearing blue blockers at night helps them sleep better.
Maybe it has to do with your circadian rhythm or just reducing strong stimuli before bed. Whatever the reason, some data seems to suggest that blue light blockers may have sleep-related benefits for some people. But let's take a closer look at these studies.
Blue blockers, bipolar patients and sleep quality
AStudies 2020randomized 20 bipolar patients hospitalized in a manic state for 7 days, some with clear lenses and some with blue-blocked lenses. During this time, their motor activity, sleep, and wakefulness patterns were monitored. After 5 nights, the blue blocker group experienced significantly better sleep efficiency and less post-sleep alertness.
These results suggest that blue-blocking glasses may help hospitalized manic patients sleep better. However, the sample size of the study was small and no baseline data was collected prior to the study.
Athletes, blue light and falling asleep
In a 2019 study15 healthy athletesThey were instructed to wear blue or clear glasses for three hours before bed. Their sleep was monitored 9 nights in a row and they were given a set of guidelines to follow for their nightly routine. While blocking short-wavelength blue light was "primarily effective" at reducing the time it took to fall asleep, it had no effect on overall sleep time or wakefulness after falling asleep.
Effect of blue light on melatonin in healthy adults
In 2011, asmall studyfrom a handful of healthy adults measured overnight melatonin levels under a variety of conditions. Conditions included 2 hours blindfolded, then 90 minutes of exposure to various irradiations with blue LED lamps, white fluorescent lamps, and followed by an additional 90 minutes of blindfolded time. In this study, it was found that melatonin levels were significantly suppressed by some blue light exposures. However, actual sleep quality was not evaluated.
Evidence that blue light significantly suppresses melatonin levels could mean that using blue blockers could theoretically help you sleep better at night. However, that doesn't mean you should rely on them to avoid eyestrain, especially when there are other reliable ways to do it.
2019 another oneBlue light filter glasses studyit subjectively improved sleep when worn at night, but the researchers couldn't verify this with objective measurements of sleep parameters.
How to protect your eyes from potentially harmful light
If you have a headache, eye strain, or dryness, blue light glasses won't help much. These are symptoms stemming from photophobia, or abnormal sensitivity to light. Instead you needlight sensitive glassesSpecially developed for people with photophobia.
If you're wondering whether it's worth filtering out blue light when trying to reduce eye strain, the answer is no. The only thing blue light glasses help is improve sleep time and overall sleep quality.
Wear light-sensitive glasses
glassesfrom Axon Optics are supplied with the Avulux® Migraine and Light Sensitivity lens. This lens is a patented multi-band precision optical filter and is the only lens clinically proven for migraineurs and photosensitivity. It absorbs up to 97% of the most harmful blue, amber and red light and allows over 70% of reassurancegreen lightthrough. They are available by prescription and over the counter and are good for indoor and outdoor use.
If you are sensitive to light, Avulux lenses are a much better option than blue light blocking glasses. With that in mind, here's a funny but true story.
We recently heard from a customer who asked about returning one of our glasses. She had ordered her daughter a pair late last year, which she uses all the time for her remote computing work. The glasses were so useful that a few months later they ordered a replacement pair.
After wearing the "second glasses" several times, the daughter reported that they had no effect. Thinking they might be defective, her mother asked for a return. However, he later came back and reported that the ineffective pair his daughter tried on were NOT actually Axon Optics glasses with Avulux lenses, but rather blue light blocking glasses that they bought before buying anything from Axon.
The Avulux lens, a precision optical filter, has been shown to be effective in an independent, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. This cutting-edge research has demonstrated that Avulux lenses have clinical and statistical significance compared to placebo in users with episodic migraines. This is a first in optical lenses designed for the photosensitivity of migraines.
Take a break, will you?
As if you need another excuse to take a break, you can give your eyes a few seconds of relief every now and then to reduce eye strain. Many experts recommend the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, focus your eyes on something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You can relax your eyes and give them a much-needed "time out."
Use artificial tears
A little lube for your eyes can go a long way in preventing dryness and irritation that you might otherwise struggle with.
As previously mentioned, the close proximity of the screen to the eyes can contribute to eyestrain. Try sitting further away from your computer. Aim for about 25 inches or an arm's length. It can also help to position your chair or desk so that you're looking slightly down at the screen.
And as your parents probably warned you as a teenager, stop lolling! Neck, back and shoulder pain can be the result of poor posture. So stand up straight and look at the screen with your eyes, not your head or neck. Regular stretching and some shoulder roll-back can also help.
If you're looking to reduce blue light exposure, quality blue light glasses could do the trick. However, they are not effective if you want to reduce digital eye strain. To reduce digital eye strain, adopt good habits, take frequent breaks, and wear glasses with lenses designed for photosensitivity and migraines.
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