Published On: Thu, Aug 27th, 2020

What Are Blue Light Glasses?

Your super chic coworker has been sporting them for months, and you recently saw a bit about them on your favorite show.  They’re popping up everywhere on social media, and are more than just the newest trend-worthy item to own.  Blue light glasses are not only stylish and affordable, they’re a godsend for those of us who sit behind a computer screen each day.

If you’ve ever felt like your eyes suffer from constant computer usage, you aren’t alone.  Many of us nine to fivers (and those of us who just admittedly spend a lot of time on our smart devices) deal with daily eye pain and strain from constantly staring at a computer screen for our work.  Even people who don’t use a computer as often can still experience discomfort from computer and smart device usage. 

This discomfort is largely in part to the blue light that is emitted from our screens.  If you aren’t familiar with blue light, or simply nod your head and say, “Cool,” when your coworker pops out her blue light readers, we’ve got your covered.  We’ll explain what blue light is, where it comes from, and what blue light glasses can do to help. 


What is Blue Light?

Blue light is also referred to as “high energy visible light,” and is emitted from many things besides electronic devices.  LED lighting and the sun are both blue light emitting offenders.  In fact, our eyes are exposed to blue light on a daily basis, even on days when we are really seeking to be Zen and keeping away from devices altogether. 

The biggest threat, however, are our electronics.  Because so many of us spend so much time on our devices and behind computer screens, our eyes are constantly bombarded with an onslaught of blue light that can be never ending.  This light can be damaging to our eyes because, unlike other visible light, it can penetrate through the cornea directly to the retina, causing damage to the retina that emulates the retinal damage we see in macular degeneration patients. 

What Does Blue Light Do to Our Eyes?

Not all blue light is bad for our eyes; in fact limited exposure is, much like sun exposure-a little is okay; a lot is harmful.  The problem, however, as stated previously, is that we spend a considerable amount of time in front of devices that emit blue light; some of us being exposed to upwards of twelve to fifteen hours of blue light each day.  Over time, that can have a dramatic negative impact on our eyes and overall feeling of health and wellbeing.  Here are some potential side effects of prolonged blue light exposure:

  •         Eye strain/pain. If you have ever felt like you cannot focus on your computer or smart device screen without moving closer, squinting, or “trying hard” to see, you’ve experienced eye strain. 
  •         General fatigue/inability to focus.  The longer our eyes are exposed to blue light, the harder they have to focus, which can not only leave our eyes feeling fatigued, but can leave us with a generalized feeling of fatigue and lack of focus.
  •         Blurred/double vision.  Feeling like you are seeing double or cannot make out the letters on your screen may not indicate that you’re ready for corrective vision lenses just yet; it could just be a sign you’re experiencing computer vision syndrome, or “CVS,” which can cause you to have trouble seeing the information on your screen clearly.
  •         Neck and shoulder pain.  When we struggle to see what is on a screen in front of us, we naturally hunch over and crane our necks forward, forming a posture that is not sustainable for good neck and back health.  This results in chronic neck and shoulder pain that can even spread into the upper back. 
  •         Tension headaches.  Possibly the most tenacious side effect of too much blue light exposure are tension headaches.  Tension headaches occur when we’ve been focusing on a blue light emitting screen for long hours and can be painfully debilitating, especially when you need to get work done. 

What are Blue Light Glasses, and How Can They Help?

Blue light glasses, also referred to as blue light readers, are glasses with special lenses that effectively trap and scatter a portion of the blue light that attempts to enter your eyes from your devices.  Designed with lenses that protect your retinas, blue light glasses do not tint your vision or change the way you see your screen, they simply help your eyes refract blue light, which in turn makes you feel better.

Blue light glasses are not vision-correcting, and are available for users with perfect 20/20 vision.  However, if you do need corrective lenses, blue light readers are available with vision correcting prescription lenses as well. 

Blue light is a part of our lives, whether we like it or not.  Too much blue light exposure can be damaging to our vision and can cause issues ranging from eye strain to tension headaches.  Blue light readers can help prevent blue light’s damage to our eyes by filtering out much of the blue light we are exposed to.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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