As more and more people spend long hours in front of screens, the demand for blue light protection has also increased. Lenses with blue light protection may reduce the harmful effects of blue light on our eyes, including digital eye strain, headaches, and disrupted sleep patterns.
What Is Blue Light?
As blue light lenses gain popularity, one question has emerged: can you wear glasses with blue light protection all the time? The short answer is yes, blue light glasses are safe to wear all the time. If you regularly use digital devices for work, school, or leisure, you may benefit from a pair of glasses with blue light lenses.
Blue light is a type of visible light with a short wavelength (between 400 and 500 nanometers) that is emitted by a range of sources, including the sun. In recent years, digital devices have become a main source of blue light exposure, as this wavelength of light is emitted by computers, smartphones, flat-screen televisions, and LED lights.
Why Is Blue Light Harmful?
Some exposure to blue light is beneficial; however, excessive exposure can have an adverse impact on your health by disrupting sleep patterns and contributing to eye strain.
Natural blue light from the sun plays a key part in our sleep/wake cycle and can even boost mood and cognitive function. However, excessive exposure to artificial blue light (such as that produced by digital devices), especially at night, has been linked with poor sleep quality, trouble falling asleep, and daytime fatigue. Prolonged exposure to blue light may also contribute to the development of eye conditions such as cataracts. Some studies have shown that excessive blue light can damage light-sensitive cells similar to those found in the human retina.
What Are Blue Light Glasses?
Blue light lenses contain a filter that blocks blue light and prevents it from reaching your eyes. This can reduce the amount of blue light your eyes are exposed to and alleviate the adverse impacts of overexposure.
Blue light glasses work similarly to how sunglasses work for ultraviolet (UV) rays. While you may not need them all the time, wearing blue light glasses throughout your day will not have a negative impact on your vision or eye health. Blue light glasses can be a beneficial addition to your eyewear collection, especially if you regularly use digital devices.
Digital Eye Strain & Blue Light Glasses
Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, is an eye condition that is commonly linked with blue light exposure. Digital eye strain can occur after spending long hours looking at screens. With the average Canadian spending an astonishing 11 hours per day looking at a screen, we can likely expect to see an increase in the prevalence of digital eye strain.
Common symptoms of digital eye strain include:
- Blurry vision
- Dry eyes
- Red, irritated eyes
- Tired eyes
- Sore neck, shoulders, or back
- Sensitivity to light
If you experience any of these symptoms during or following an extended session of screen time, you may be experiencing digital eye strain.
How to Treat Digital Eye Strain
It is a common misconception that digital eye strain is caused exclusively by blue light. It is often caused by the action of straining your eyes while looking at a screen. While using digital devices, we blink less frequently and may spend long periods of time focusing our eyes without taking proper breaks. These actions can lead to eye strain.
While blue light glasses can still be beneficial for reducing the adverse impacts of digital devices on our eyes, they should not be used as a substitute for good eye health habits.
Good habits for preventing digital eye strain include:
- Practice your posture: Poor posture while using a digital device can contribute to digital eye strain. Avoid sitting too close to your computer or holding your phone too close to your face. Make adjustments to your workspace to ensure optimal ergonomics.
- The 20-20-20 rule: Taking regular breaks during screen time is a great way to prevent digital eye strain. Your breaks also don’t need to be long to be impactful. For every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second break, and look at something 20 feet away.
- Fine-tune your devices: Make adjustments to your devices to help reduce the demand on your eyes. This might include enlarging the text font or dimming the brightness.
- Consider Computer lenses: glasses that are optimally designed for working at 3-10 ft can dramatically improve your comfort in front of a screen. Ask us about our many glasses options for close work.
How to Purchase Blue Light Glasses
If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, you may benefit from investing in a pair of glasses with blue light-blocking lenses.
It’s important to note that not all blue light glasses are created equal. There are many different types of blue light glasses on the market, and some may be more effective than others. When selecting blue light glasses, look for glasses that have been tested and proven to block a significant amount of blue light. In our optical we use ZEISS BlueGuard lenses that provide full UV protection and block more blue light than standard blue light lenses. ZEISS BlueGuard lenses also provide 50% less reflections for improved appearance over standard blue light-blocking coatings.
It’s also important to consider the quality of the lenses. Poor-quality lenses can distort your vision and cause headaches or eye strain. Look for glasses that have high-quality lenses that are scratch-resistant, anti-reflective, and easy to clean. We recommend blue light lenses that are coated with ZEISS Duravision Platinum anti-reflective coating, one of the most scratch-resistant and durable coatings available.
Finally, it’s important to note that blue light glasses are not a replacement for prescription glasses. If you have a vision problem, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you will still need to wear prescription glasses. Ask your optometrist or optician about adding blue light-blocking coatings or treatments to your regular prescription lenses.
Where Can You Find Blue Light Glasses? In this day and age, most eyeglass retailers offer a blue light filter option on lenses. At Simcoe Optometric Clinic, we offer a wide range of frame and lens options to meet your unique vision and lifestyle needs. This includes ZEISS high-quality lenses with optional blue light blocking and unbeatable anti-reflective coatings. Contact our office to book an appointment today!