There is no denying that most people use desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones each day. As a result, a lot of those people will experience “digital eye strain” - even if they wear corrective glasses or lenses.
What is it that causes digital eye strain? In short, the answer is blue light. This handy guide will answer your questions on the subject. Plus, it will help you decide whether you need blue light glasses. Here is what you need to know:
What is Blue Light?
Before you ask yourself, “are blue light glasses worth it?” you should first learn more about what exactly is blue light.
As you’ll no doubt be aware, there is a spectrum of visible light that humans can see with their eyes. The colors that humans can see range from red to violet. Inside that electromagnetic spectrum of visible light are blue light waves.
From a technical perspective, blue light is a wavelength between 400 and 525 nanometers. It’s also an essential component of white light - something that people who use digital devices see often.
Why is blue light such a problem?
The thing about blue light is that everyone gets exposed to it each day. It occurs from any light source - even the sun emits blue light. However, in recent years it’s become a particular issue with those that use computers and other digital devices each day.
According to Statista, approximately 3.5 billion people around the world use smartphones regularly. In the United States, almost three-quarters of the adult population own a desktop PC or laptop. Plus, the number of PCs, laptops, and tablets in people’s homes and workplaces far exceeds the country’s population!
As you can imagine, technology is very much a big part of today’s modern world. With that in mind, many people are exposing themselves to constant amounts of blue light. So, why is blue light such a big deal?
From a scientific point of view, everyone gets exposed to blue light daily even if they don’t use any digital devices. After all: the sun is a light source. The thing is, most people don’t spend most of their days sitting outside in direct sunlight.
Because devices like smartphones and computers emit light, prolonged exposure can cause permanent damage to people’s eye retinas.
In case you weren’t aware, the retina is the innermost layer of the eye. It processes what you see and sends that information to your brain.
Excessive blue light exposure can also impact a person’s ability to fall asleep at night due to the suppression of melatonin (a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle).
Which devices give off blue light?
In a nutshell, anything that emits light can give off a blue light. When it comes to the digital devices that most people use each day, they are as follows:
• Desktop PCs and Apple Macs that have one or more monitors attached;
• All-in-one computers (PCs and monitors built into one unit);
• Laptops, Apple MacBooks, Chromebooks, Netbooks, and Ultrabooks;
• Mobile phones, smartphones, and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants);
• Tablets and tablet PCs;
• E-readers like the Amazon Kindle;
• Smartwatches such as the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch;
• LCD and LED televisions, LCD/LED TVs with PC connectivity;
• Security camera monitors and screens.
Of course, it’s not only computers, mobile devices, and wearable technology that give off blue light.
Other digital devices around the home and workplace emit blue light too. Examples include digital wall thermostats, “smart” appliances, and LED lighting.
With such a plethora of digital devices that can easily be found at home or in one’s workplace, it’s hard to escape blue light emissions.
The main “culprits” for blue light issues are computer-based systems. Those digital devices are the ones that people tend to use the most each day. In fact, many individuals use such devices every single day without fail.
Back in 2014, the American Optometric Association (AOA) published a research article entitled Light and Eye Damage. They stated that it’s technically possible to get significant eye damage from any part of the electromagnetic light spectrum.
But, one of the leading offenders is the blue light portion of the spectrum. They’ve also gone on to say that several studies have shown that excessive blue light exposure can cause damage to the retina.
Some of the research cited by the AOA even likens retina damage caused by excessive blue light exposure to staring at the sun during a solar eclipse!
Another interesting point the AOA research article brings up is the age at which people should have protective eyewear coatings for visible light. According to the article, the AOA recommends people of all ages that wear glasses should have visible light protection on their lenses.
The article also goes on to state that people from the age of 40 are most at risk of retina damage. That’s because, from that age, a person’s protective enzymes and antioxidants begin to break down. As a result, a person’s eyes cannot sufficiently defend themselves from retina damage.
Another risk factor is also the length of exposure to blue light. Some people tend to spend long periods at a time in front of computer screens and mobile devices. That prolonged exposure will further increase the intensity of retina damage.
So, if you’re still wondering “are blue light glasses worth it?” the answer is most certainly yes - but more on that later!
What are blue light glasses?
By now you’ll have a clearer idea of what blue light is and how it can affect your eyesight. But, you’ll be wondering what blue light glasses are and how do they work?
Put simply, blue light glasses have special filters in the lenses that either block or absorb blue light from the electromagnetic light spectrum. Some types of blue light glasses even block ultraviolet (UV) light as well.
The idea is that you wear blue light glasses during daylight hours. You’ll get the most amount of protection from blue light waves at that time. That’s because you get protected from both sunlight and the blue light emitted by computers and mobile devices.
You should also wear blue light glasses if you use your computer or mobile devices a lot during the evening. For example, some people that work from home may opt for working in the evening if they’ve got a family to care for during the day.
To the untrained eye, it’s actually quite hard to distinguish between glasses with blue light lenses and ones without them.
The lenses typically have a pale yellow tint to them. You’d have to look very closely at the lenses to notice any difference between them and “normal” lenses.
Are blue light glasses worth it?
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve read all of this article thus far or have simply skipped to this section. If you’re asking yourself “are blue light glasses worth it?” the answer is yes - 100%, absolutely!
Many people throughout the world use some form of digital technology regularly, especially in the workplace. You could be someone that uses a desktop computer or a checkout screen at work - it makes no difference.
Prolonged, continuous exposure to blue light from the electromagnetic light spectrum isn’t great for the health of your eyes. Over time, and particularly as you get older, you’ll find that your retinas will become damaged.
Still not convinced that you need blue light glasses? According to research from Neilsen in 2018, the average American spends an astonishing 11 hours per day in front of digital devices like computers, smartphones, and LED televisions.
So, if you’re still asking yourself “are blue light glasses worth it” the answer should be YES!
Even if you don’t need corrective eyewear, it’s still a good idea to invest in blue light glasses. Doing so will reduce the amount of digital eye strain that you experience daily. Especially if your work involves a lot of computer use.
Plus, you’ve got the added advantage that your body’s melatonin levels will be stable, enabling you to have a good night’s sleep.
Where can you get blue light glasses?
Now that you’re no longer asking yourself “are blue light glasses worth it” you will no doubt want to start wearing some blue light glasses soon. The question is, where can you get blue light glasses?
The good news is that blue light glasses are actually quite easy to obtain. One of the leading types on the market is the ANRRI Blue Light Blocking Glasses. They offer many features, one of which is the ability to block 90% of blue light.
The ANRRI Blue Light Blocking Glasses also boast anti-eye strain lenses and lightweight frames. Plus, they’re also available in a vast selection of different frame styles.