Blue Light Protection Glasses
Are Blue Light Glasses Right For You?
Recently I’ve had a lot more patients asking me about blue light glasses.
With many adults now working remotely and kids doing distance learning from home, I’m not surprised. In fact, it has been a great conversation starter on how to keep your eyes healthy with all of this screen time.
Chances are you’ve considered if you or your child need blue light glasses.
Let’s talk about blue light because it actually has a big impact on our day-to-day functioning.
What is Blue Light?
Every time you go outside, turn on a light switch or look at a screen, you are seeing visible light.
When you see a rainbow spread across the sky, you are seeing the colors of the light spectrum that are visible to human eyes— red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. You may have heard the acronym “ROYGBIV” for short.
Blue light is a short wavelength, high energy light, which can be intense for your eyes.
It is next to ultraviolet light on the light spectrum. Ultraviolet light can cause sunburns, skin cancer, make cataracts worse and be responsible for a variety of other eye and health problems.
Where Can We Find Blue Light?
Blue light is everywhere, but we get the most exposure from the sun.
We know we need to be mindful of our sun exposure, but there are some benefits. When we are exposed to the sun’s natural blue light, our brain gets the signal that it is time to be awake. It’s no wonder that being outdoors can help us feel more alert, energetic, and brighten our moods.
Artificial blue light is found in fluorescent light bulbs and LED screens including tablets, smartphones, laptops, and electronic readers.
How Does Blue Light Affect Your Vision?
Your eyes have a difficult time blocking out blue light on their own. Too much blue light can be very hard on your eyes. Research is emerging on whether excessive blue light can contribute to developing macular degeneration. However, we do know it can lead to eye strain.
- Do you or your child have any of the following symptoms after working on your computer?
- Blurry vision
- Dry, irritated eyes
- Difficulty focusing
- Neck, shoulder, or backaches
If so, you may be suffering from digital eye strain.
Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain
- Fluctuations in vision
- Rubbing of eyes
- Difficulty focusing
- Overall body fatigue
- Decreased night vision
- Light sensitivity
If you suffer from these symptoms, your eyes are likely being overworked from eye strain and need some extra support.
Should You Buy Blue Light Glasses From Amazon or Other Online Stores?
Generic blue light glasses that you find on Amazon or other online sites are certainly better than nothing, but they are not as effective as prescription blue light glasses in reducing eyestrain.
When you view a computer, tablet or cell phone, muscles in your eyes are working to focus the images on the screen and make them clear. In other words, looking at screens is work for your eyes.
Just think about holding up your arm. How long can you do it? Can you do it for five minutes? Can you do it for an hour? After not much time your arm will get tired and you will not be able to hold it up.
The muscles in your eyes are very strong, but they do get tired after looking at screens for longer times. This adds to eyestrain, headaches, and a general feeling of fatigue.
This is the first time in thousands of years that many adults and even children stare at screens for long periods of time. This just isn’t good for your eyes.
Since the advent of the computer age, nearsightedness (can’t see far) has been increasing worldwide.
It is now epidemic and is more common than the coronavirus.
Why Prescription Blue Light Glasses are Better Than Online Glasses Even If You See Well At Far and Don’t Wear Glasses
If you wear prescription glasses now, it is easy to add a blue light, anti-glare filter to your glasses.
If you or your child do not wear prescription glasses now, adding a small near focusing prescription along with a blue light filter will not only protect your eyes, it will help boost the eye’s focus for near and reduce the amount of work your eyes do to look at screens.
This means less eyestrain, less headaches, less fatigue, better concentration than the non-prescription type.
This was the case for my son-in-law, Steven.
Steven is an animator and works on his computer all day. His vision was pretty good to start with and he had no distance prescription.
But at the end of the day, his eyes were getting red, tired and strained.
After getting him a pair of computer glasses with blue light blockers, it was much easier for him to sit all day at his computer and get his work done, without severe side-effects.
Check Out This Video Segment From CBS News on the Effect of Blue Light
Here’s a tip to add to your bedtime routine: try to put your phone away an hour or two before bed. Many phones also have a “night mode” setting you can turn on to reduce the blue light.
What is the Connection Between Blue Light and Sleep?
Blue light can affect our internal clocks and sleep by interfering with melatonin production.
Remember how I said earlier that when we are exposed to the sunlight’s natural blue light, our brain gets the signal to stay awake?
The same thing happens when we are using our smartphones right before bed. Our brain gets the signal from the artificial blue light that it is awake time, so it doesn’t produce the same amount of melatonin. This can affect length and quality of sleep.
Will My Vision Insurance Cover Blue Light Glasses?
If you have vision insurance, it will likely have an allowance for your eye exam, frames, and prescription lenses. They do not usually cover non-prescription glasses.
Some insurance plans cover blue light filters; others make them available for a co-pay.
Our staff can help you find out your vision coverage benefits if you have questions.
Getting a regular eye exam is the best way to make sure your eyes are healthy and performing their best. If you have any other questions about blue light glasses, ask me when you come in for your exam and we can figure out the best options for your situation.
Don’t forget to give us a call at 310-670-4411 to schedule your eye exam today.