No doubt you've seen and/or heard at some point something about blue light glasses. If you are one of the many people who struggle with headaches, dry eyes and fatigue after a day of sitting in front of your computer at work you may have considered looking into buying some blue light blocking glasses. However, before you do here is a little about these less usual lenses and whether or not they are right for you.
What is Blue Light Anyway?
Maybe you only recently started hearing people talking about blue light but it's nothing new. Blue light waves—short, high-energy wavelengths on the visible light spectrum—occur naturally in sunlight and play a key role in helping you maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. It cues your body that it's daytime, boosts your alertness and energy, and it improves your mood.
Is Blue Light Bad for You?
Here's where there's some considerable debate among experts. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there isn't any scientific evidence that blue light damages your eyes. However, research by the American Macular Degeneration Foundation suggests blue light may be responsible for retinal damage and increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which causes vision loss as people get older.
While blue light's negative impact on eyesight may be disputed, we do know exposure to too much blue light, or exposure to blue light at unnatural times of day, can definitely throw off your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. That’s why many people have trouble falling asleep after using phones or watching TV right before bed: They’ve been taking in blue light, which tricks their bodies into thinking it’s daytime.
So that late-night Netflix binge or Instagram rabbit hole that seems relatively harmless could be the reason you toss and turn for hours after finally unplugging.
Do Blue Light Glasses Really Work?
Blue light glasses are meant work as blue light filters between your eyes and your digital screens (or LED and fluorescent lights). Tons of people swear by their blue light glasses, claiming midday headaches, fatigue, eye irritation, and insomnia are a thing of the past since treating themselves to a pair.
Testimonials are one thing, but what about the science of it all? Interestingly, research results from studies conducted in Australia and the U.K proved that people who wore blue-light-blocking glasses did not develop better vision or less eye fatigue than those who didn't wear them.
One eye surgeon, Abdhish R. Bhavsar, MD, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, says wearing blue light filter glasses to prevent eye damage is "a big urban myth." However, there is research to support the idea that exposure to blue light, especially at night, can make falling asleep hard. Therefore a pair of blue light glasses to wear for watching TV, Facebook stalking or reading at night could be worth it.
Not interested in spending money on a new pair of glasses just to banish blue light? Here are a few other (read: free) ways to avoid overdoing it. Expose yourself to as much natural light as possible during the day; turn on your devices' blue light filter (look for the Night Shift setting if you have an iPhone); and steer clear of digital screens for at least an hour (even two) before bed.
While there's no real evidence that wearing blue light glasses can help prevent eye damage or fatigue, wearing them won’t do you any harm. If they help you work, sleep, and feel better, keep rocking them.