Do Blue Light Glasses Actually Work?

 In Eye Care

Today’s lifestyle contributes to digital eye strain as people look at computer monitors, mobile devices, and LED screens for hours and hours each day. It is not surprising that many people wonder – do blue light glasses actually work?

This article will provide some fundamental information about – do blue light glasses actually work and real-world tips to reduce blue light exposure and digital eye strain. It isn’t intended as a substitute for medical care. A skilled optometrist not only can diagnose and prescribe treatments for visual health issues, but your eye doctor can also help you live a more eye-healthy lifestyle.

The Problem With Blue Light

Blue light has been getting a bad rap in recent years. However, it is important to respect that some blue light is essential for our circadian rhythms and eye health. In nature, the biggest source of blue light is the sun. Exposure to blue light may signal that it is time to be awake, alert, and active.

The problem is that many people receive blue light exposure from the moment they wake up through bedtime. LED monitors, TV sets, and smartphones also emit blue light. Many people use their devices right up until they go to sleep.

Blue light is higher energy than some of the other types of light on the visible spectrum. It has a shorter wavelength, and too much may contribute to eye strain. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology states that the main culprit for tired eyes is excessive screen time, resulting in digital eye strain. Too much blue light at night may disrupt your circadian rhythm and sleep. Restful sleep is essential for all aspects of health, including vision health.

However, people who work using a computer and enjoy digital entertainment often experience eye strain, and sometimes blue light filtering glasses and using “night mode” settings on devices help mitigate some of the issues and offer relief.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

According to both the Mayo Clinic and The American Optometric Association, extensive use of computers and other devices is one of the leading eyestrain sources. This form of eye strain is often called Digital Eye Strain.

Since modern devices and computer monitors emit blue light, it is difficult to distinguish between blue light and eye strain issues.

The Mayo Clinic describes a range of eye strain symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes or excessively watery eyes
  • Blurry vision and sometimes double vision
  • Aching, sore or tired neck, shoulders, or back
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty keeping eyes open
  • Twitching eyes

A mix of factors may be involved in addition to blue light. People often blink less while using their phone, tablet, or computer. Similar things happen while reading, except books, don’t traditionally emit their own light. Most people view their device screens while holding it too close to their faces or at less than ideal angles. LED monitors and other illuminated devices contribute to eye glare. And often, monitors are poorly calibrated, so there isn’t enough contrast to easily read or see.

Other lifestyle and environmental factors might further contribute by drying the eyes such as fans positioned where the breeze passes your face, extremely dry air, or smoke exposure.

Finally, blue light and screen time are associated with overstimulation that may make it harder for you to get to sleep. Disrupted sleep impacts all areas of health and may even contribute to eye strain.

Do Blue Light Glasses Actually Work?

Scientifically the jury is still out about – do blue light glasses actually work for everyone? Studies have had mixed results. Some indicate that blue light glasses are similar in effectiveness as any other anti-glare glasses. Another notable 2017 study published in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics found that wearing blue light glasses helped the study participants sleep better.

Many individuals do report better sleep and say they notice less eye strain or discomfort. For those people, the money spent on a moderately priced pair of glasses is money well spent. If you struggle with eye strain due to screen time, it may be worth trying a pair to see whether you experience relief.

Besides, other actions can also help reduce eye strain. 

Other Ways to Relieve or Prevent Eye Strain

In addition to wearing blue light filtering glasses, be sure to give your eyes frequent breaks throughout the day. One of the simplest and most powerful techniques is the 20-20-20 technique. Remind yourself to give your eyes a break from screen time every 20 minutes. Take a 20-second break where you look off into the distance at least 20 feet away.

Ergonomics also play an important role. Most people position their phones, tablets, and laptop screens too close to their face. Try to position your computer monitor an arms-length or around 25” away. Adjust the lighting, so it doesn’t strain your eyes. People sometimes feel immediately better if they dim monitors that shine too brightly.

Digital eye strain and dry eye often go together. If this applies to you, make a special effort to blink and consider using lubricating eye drops. Many experts recommend ending screen time one to two hours before bedtime. If that isn’t possible, try blue light glasses or using the night mode settings.

Contact your optometrist If you experience digital eye strain, restlessness, or other symptoms commonly associated with blue light exposure. Discuss your symptoms and lifestyle with your eye care professional.

You may need a thorough examination to rule out other conditions and ensure any eyewear prescriptions are current. Depending on your situation, your optometrist may recommend anti-glare or blue light filtering to help protect your eyes.

Charlotte-area residents trust their vision to Piedmont Eye Care. Contact us today if you need to see an eye doctor for an examination, update your glasses prescription, or find solutions to digital eye strain. For more information about – do blue light glasses actually work, feel free to contact us!

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