Do blue light glasses really work? The truth you need to know
Since time immemorial, parents have worried about the radiation emitted by the television. Today, it becomes even more of a concern as both kids and adults have become even more susceptible to exposure since tiny digital gadget screens are even closer to the eyes. With more than 5 billion people in the world owning a mobile device, it is crystal clear just how much these screens have become intertwined with everyone’s daily life.
If you feel concerned about the harmful effect of digital screens, you are not alone. With constant exposure to the glaring screen of a smartphone, tablet, desktop, laptop, gaming console, and even the smart TV, you must take precautions to protect your eyes. After all, once these windows to the souls are damaged, it would be difficult to reverse the effects. Since you worry about this issue, you may have heard about blue light. Hence, you’ve most likely researched about blue light blocking glasses and how they can protect the eyes. But do blue light glasses really work in protecting your eye health? Let’s dive deep into the issue to see if these tiny modern contraptions actually serve a purpose.
Learning More About Blue Light
Sun rays that penetrate through the clouds actually come in many different colors. You will see these colors when a rainbow pops out. They are commonly referred to as ROY-G-BIV, an acronym that stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Noteworthy, each light is a different wavelength that has a corresponding energy level. When you combine them, this spectrum of rays is what is referred to as “white light” or sunlight.
As you can see, blue light is a type of light, and it is commonly referred to as visible light. It is known for possessing the highest energy levels with the shortest wavelength. Because of its intrinsic nature, the blue light comes not just from the sun. You also get exposure from man-made light sources, fluorescent bulbs and LED lights. Today, it is notoriously known for being linked to digital screens. Many say you need blue light blocking glasses to minimize the harmful effects of all your modern screens that emit this light.
Though the amount of blue light emitted by your modern gadget is less than what comes from the sun, it becomes worrisome with the amount of time people spend using many different devices. This is compounded by the harsh reality that these tiny screens are very close to the eyes. Thus, possible, detrimental long-term effects on eye health remain at the forefront of people’s minds.
Understanding the Effects of Blue Light on Eye Health
If the question “do blue light glasses really work” echoes in your head, it means you understand the possible harm of your gadgets. After all, blue light is a short wavelength that can readily penetrate your eyes. This means these harsh rays pass through your sensitive cornea and lens, aiming for the retina, which is the lining at the back. Some scientists say that excessive exposure to this kind of light can adversely affect the light-sensitive cells in your retina. One study on animals shows that blue light results in phototoxic retinal damage.
Another research showed that high energy blue light could cause a whole gamut of eye maladies such as frequent eye strain, promote dry eyes, worsen cataracts, and hasten age-related macular degeneration. On top of that, it is known for stimulating the brain by inhibiting melatonin secretion and promoting adrenocortical hormone production. In short, it can prevent you from sleeping as it has an impact on your body’s circadian rhythm and mess up the hormonal balance in your body.
Unfortunately, insomnia and hormonal imbalance can lead to diabetes, hypertension, and other illnesses. Clearly, continued exposure to blue light is not just harmful to the eyes. It also holds power to affect your overall health if you do not take proper precautions. Hence, some people believe that blue light blocking glasses may be helpful in preventing these conditions.
Expounding on Blue Light Glasses
If you are curious what blue light blocking glasses are all about, these are glasses that live up to their name. They are also called blue light glasses and are known for containing special lenses that are specifically engineered to reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes. With these special lenses, you can filter the blue light rays emitted by your gadget.
As such, you prevent these harsh rays from entering your eye and reaching your retina. As a result, manufacturers claim you deter potential strain and eye damage. Typically, you will find that these blue light lenses come with a yellow tint (though it may not be noticeable to you). The yellow color counterbalances the blue light.
Wondering: Do Blue Light Glasses Really Work?
Today, there is a bit of controversy regarding the use of blue light blocking glasses. Some say that consumer electronics are not really harmful to the retina because they are specifically made to shield users from hazardous effects. For example, iPhones have a maximum brightness of 625 cd/m2 (candelas per square meter). You will find that many brick-and-mortar stores possessing illuminations which is twice what your iPhone emits. Moreover, this figure pales in comparison to the sun, which emits 10x more blue light.
Some experts assert that it is misleading to claim and say an astounding yes to the question do blue light glasses really work. Thought coatings designed to filter blue light may not directly prevent eye disease; it does an effective job of ensuring that blue light entering the eye is indeed minimized. As a result, it can be helpful in preventing eye-strain. On top of that, it can also help you minimize the impact of using gadgets on your body clock, which in turn affects your sleeping habits. However, it is important to note that there are no scientific studies as of today that prove that wearing blue light blocking glasses have a proven and tested benefit.
The College of Optometrists has, in fact, released this exact statement on their position regarding blue light blocking glasses on their website: “The best scientific evidence currently available does not support the use of blue-blocking spectacle lenses in the general population to improve visual performance, alleviate the symptoms of eye fatigue or visual discomfort, improve sleep quality or conserve macula health.”
Finding the Reason Behind This Trend
In spite of having no significant evidence, a lot of people today purchase these special lenses. Do blue light glasses really work is a question that the majority of adults will most likely say yes to. Noteworthy, many people have bought blue light glasses because they feel that it reduces eye strain. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that happy users share claiming wearing this kind of glasses helps with eye strain or assures they can still sleep soundly.
However, you must remember that eye strain using your digital device actually occurs due to a number of reasons. Firstly, you could be focusing too long, staring at your screen. Excessive use can, indeed, lead to eye fatigue. Secondly, being too close to any digital screen makes your eye muscles over as you constantly have to focus on the moving images. Thirdly, if you already wear refractive lenses, the surrounding light and glare reflected on them cause squinting and more strain.
All of the above-mentioned issues are commonly linked by people to blue light. But the reality is, they may be problems due to excessive use of any digital device and not the blue light itself as the culprit. That being said, those who purchase blue light blocking glasses or those with an anti-glare coating from their optometrist and feel they alleviate some symptoms should certainly feel free to continue using them.
Preventing Eye Strain and Deterioration
A lot of people today complain of deteriorating eyesight due to an increase in gadget use. If you have noticed a significant change in your vision or experiencing symptoms, it would be prudent to get your eye examined by a qualified professional. Instead of directly buying blue light blocking glasses for screen use, consulting an optician and seeking advice for the best lens option are the best solutions.
Most of all, you must practice self-care and discipline to effectively prevent eye strain. Always take regular breaks from your screen to minimize direct blue light contact. It would help to implement the 20-20-20 rule, which stipulates every 20 minutes of looking at the screen necessitates a 20-second break staring at something 20-feet far away. This practice assures your eyes get that much-needed rest. Instead of staring at something up close, you refocus to look at something far instead.
Apart from that, don’t forget to adjust the brightness and contrast of your screen. The correct balance will do wonders for your eyes. On top of that, change the font sizes to something larger to minimize the load on your eyes. Again, if you feel any eye discomfort, seeking help from a reputable optician for an eye test is your best ally in finding solutions that work.