If you’re a Canadian or American, chances are, you spend an average of 10-11 hours per day in front of a screen. Multiply that by 365 days and that means people spend an average of 3,650-4,015 hours per year in front of their digital screens! Those are some concerning numbers, but it’s not surprising in this day and age.
Whether you’re typing away on your computer at work all day or just can’t get enough of watching your favorite shows on Netflix, the blue light emitting from your electronic devices often causes your eyes strain and discomfort.
It’s important to note that blue light doesn’t just come from electronic devices; we get plenty of natural blue light exposure from the sun. Sunlight tells our bodies when it’s time to go to sleep but with the invention of devices like smartphones, we come into contact with blue light long after the sun goes down.
For some people, blue light delays the production of melatonin (the hormone which responsible for making us fall asleep) which negatively affects their sleep cycles. As we all know, lack of sleep can cause a variety of serious health problems.
So what can we do about blue light?
We live in a world where technology has become inextricably linked to our everyday lives. There’s no doubt that cutting down the use of electronic devices is a good thing and should be encouraged. However, for those who have grown accustomed to using phones, computers, laptops, TVs, and tablets, eliminating all screens from their lives isn’t a viable option.
This is where blue light blocking glasses come in. At one time, they were difficult to come by and the ones that were available came in a displeasing yellow tint. Luckily for us, there are plenty of options to choose from nowadays!
These special glasses have lenses that block or absorb blue light, preventing it from reaching your retinas. That’s good news if you’re an internet lover - you can enjoy animal videos on YouTube or playing Candy Crush to your heart’s content without experiencing its harmful effects.
There are different kinds of blue light blocking glasses and each one has unique features. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons to determine which one is best suited to your wants and needs.
The 3 Types of Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Yellow Blue Light Blocking Lenses
We’ve all seen those yellow or amber-colored lenses. They’re not exactly the most stylish or aesthetically pleasing glasses to wear and they add a yellow tint to your vision so that you’re unable to see your surroundings as they are. However, despite these disadvantages, they’re very effective at blocking blue light.
These glasses are really useful for night owls who like to browse, scroll and click when the sun is down. For example, if you work or study in the evening because that’s when you’re most productive, yellow-tinted lenses might be what you need.
Using portable electronic devices as a night owl is also great if you’re not a fan of how yellow blue light blocking lenses look. Since you won’t be out and about in public during the daytime, you’ll want to reap their benefits without feeling embarrassed.
Gamers also spend a lot of time in front of a screen, sometimes multiple screens, and would benefit greatly from the use of these glasses.
Where can I buy yellow blue light blocking glasses?
• Gunnar is a company that uses patented lens technology and specializes in glasses for users of computers and gamers.
• Swanwick has designed prototype orange lens glasses called Swannies Blue Light Blocking Glasses and put them through an extensive testing process to help people improve the quality of their sleep.
Clear Blue Light Blocking Lenses
Clear blue light blocking lenses are perfect for all-day wear for activities such as working in the office, running errands, taking your dog for a walk and attending social gatherings.
With clear blue light blocking lenses, you won’t have issues finding stylish and modern models nor will you experience unpleasant color distortion (two problems that come with yellow lenses). Unfortunately, these glasses are not as effective as yellow lenses when it comes to filtering out blue light.
That being said, this doesn’t mean they’re a bad choice. Clear blue light blocking lenses will still provide your eyes protection against blue light no matter how often you’re in front of a screen.
Where can I buy clear blue light blocking glasses?
• Zenni Optical offers stylish glasses that block out both blue light and UV rays. They’re made with a special blue-light blocking polymer and hydrophobic anti-reflective coating.
• Felix Gray has a range of stylish glasses with blue light filtering lenses that eliminate glare and help increase melatonin secretion by 200%.
• Pixel Eyewear offers a collection of vintage and classic styles with high-quality lenses that are clear and block out 50% of blue light.
Blue Light Reflective Lenses
Blue light reflective lenses are the perfect mix of style, functionality, and practicality. These glasses are as effective as yellow lenses in blocking out blue light and come in styles that you’d be proud to show off in public (stylish frames and clear lenses).
That means that they’re great for a variety of different situations and people: frequent computer and smartphone use, gamers, people who are mildly or seriously affected by blue light, and plenty more.
The only disadvantage to these glasses is that they reflect blue light when there’s a window behind you or beside you. But that’s a pretty a small price to pay for stylish protection against harmful blue light. They block up to 90% of blue light and companies usually offer a high-quality coating that prevents smudges, glares, and scratches.
Where can I buy blue light reflective glasses?
• ANRRI offers advanced blue light reflective lenses that block harmful blue light, especially the higher frequency wavelengths (400-440 nm), to make screen time more comfortable and help eliminate symptoms of digital eyestrain.
Making the Right Choice
Now that you’re aware of the different types of blue light blocking glasses on the market, you should ask yourself the following questions before you make a decision:
• How many hours a day do I spend in front of a screen?
• How much does staring at a screen affect me?
• Do I often do work at night?
• Am I concerned about the long-term health of my eyes?
• How much do I care about being fashionable when it comes to eyewear?
Pro tip: Once you choose your glasses, try to complement that effort by reducing your blue light exposure even further. Doing things like taking breaks from your screen (e.g. for every 20 minutes in front of your screen, take a break for 10 minutes) and avoiding cellphone use before bed could help reduce sleep disruption, eye strain, and headaches.