Gadgets have become an essential part of modern life. Many of us are even obsessed with them. We rarely go a day without using a device.
We constantly switch between computers and smartphone screens. Needless to say, technology makes our lives easier — but not our eyes.
Surely you are familiar with the term “Blue light,” right?
During the pandemic, however, the demand for blue light-blocking glasses has skyrocketed as many parents are working from home and kids are attending school at home.
As a result, more people have begun to experience digital eye strain, tired, and dry eyes from excessive screen time, and have turned to blue-light-filtering glasses.
But, are they truly worth the money?
We’ll find out.
See Also: How to test blue light glasses?
Is blue light harmful to your eyes?
Blue light is often associated with eye problems like macular degeneration and eye strain, but is that dangerous? Apparently, experts are divided on this issue. Some stated that blue light coming out of digital devices isn’t strong enough to cause serious damage to the eye.
Others said that cumulative exposure to this light can still do severe damage. Besides damage to the cells in the retina, it may also manifest as cataracts and pinguecula. In short term, this light spectrum can cause problems like headaches and dryness.
Those who oppose the idea of blue light being a damaging factor said that our eyes receive more blue light from the sun than digital devices since it also exists in nature. While it’s true, we can’t ignore those who have had an experience with blue light glasses.
For them, these glasses have helped tremendously in improving the symptoms of blue light exposure, like headaches and eye strain. Both sides actually make valid points, so there’s nothing right or wrong here. Many people who had serious headaches after staring at a screen might have stared at it for way too long, which would likely induce tightness in the eye.
Furthermore, it isn’t just about cumulative screen time. Apart from duration, brightness levels also matter. It’s easier to catch eye fatigue after looking at a bright screen compared to a dim one.
For this reason, turn it down to your comfort level. This way, you’ll be able to work on your laptop for longer.
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Dry Eye, Digital Eye Strain, and Circadian Rhythm
What is dry eye?
Overuse of gadgets often leads to dryness. In fact, when it comes to eye strain, this is the symptom that you will likely notice first. It may be caused by a lack of blinking.
Research suggests that we tend to blink less when staring at digital devices. As we know, blinking is necessary to wash tears over and keep the eyes moist. Not just the joints, our eyes also need lubrication.
The good news is the nature has provided us with it naturally. All we have to do is blink to distribute tears evenly on the cornea.
If you spend much time working on your laptop, don’t forget to blink every once in a while. This becomes even more important if you don’t wear special glasses.
What is digital eye strain?
Digital eye strain refers to the physical discomfort that one feels after staring at a screen for an extended period of time. It’s often characterized by symptoms like eye strain, dryness, blurry vision, and headaches. Some people also experience pain that travels to the neck and shoulders.
Depending on the severity, you may be advised to wear special glasses that have anti-glare and blue light coatings. If the symptoms are mild, rest would be sufficient, but reducing the amount of time spent on devices remains necessary to prevent recurrences.
According to American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are a few things that can help relieve the symptoms of eye strain, including:
- Taking frequent breaks. You can follow the 20-20-20 rule. This requires you to stop looking at the screen every 20 minutes. Instead, look at something that’s located about 20 feet away to help the eyes relax. Do this for at least 20 minutes, could be longer if you start feeling fatigue in both eyes.
- Putting in eye drops to provide extra lubrication to your eyes. This can be an option when the tears your eyes naturally produce can’t bring down the discomfort.
- Keeping your vision at a distance from the screen. Don’t be too close to the monitor because it may accelerate the process of glare and brightness inducing eye strain. There should be a 25-inch space between your eyes and the computer screen.
- Keeping brightness low. Some people manage to keep their eye strain under control only by adjusting brightness levels. For your information, devices produce glare, which can exhaust the eye after prolonged exposure. Therefore, one of the best solutions to delay the onset of the problem is by adjusting brightness to your comfort level.
What is circadian rhythm?
Circadian rhythm is closely linked to blue light. Exposure to this light especially before bed is said to mess with the sleep-wake cycle.
For those unaware, the circadian rhythm is a biological clock that regulates alertness and sleepiness. It dictates the ideal times for the body to do activities and sleep.
There are people who can’t sleep at night. Others follow the schedule of most people, working during the day, and then taking rest at night.
Blue light is widely accepted as a factor that potentially messes up this biological clock. Spending too much time scrolling over Instagram or browsing before bed would increase alertness.
As a result, it will be harder to sleep since blue light emitted from the display is high-energy.
The light also interferes with the sleep-wake cycle by disrupting the release of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
How do blue light eyeglasses work?
As the name suggests, the main purpose of blue light glasses is to block out blue light. This special eyewear works by filtering a specific segment of wavelengths.
So if your concern is to prevent this light spectrum from entering your eyes, then they will help.
In theory, these glasses have protective coatings on their lenses that are designed to filter blue light and reduce glare, which also has a direct correlation to eye fatigue.
However, it’s important to get them from a reputable supplier.
Many products use aggressive marketing tactics to boost their value, but as a consumer, you should be more critical.
Check out the reputation of a company before deciding to buy glasses from them. It’s to ensure that the glasses do have the coatings mentioned in the product description.
When they get it right, blue light glasses should help fix problems associated with prolonged use of devices, including eye strain and trouble sleeping.
Do blue light glasses work?
Yes, some users claim to have seen improvement after using blue-light blocking eyewear.
If you search for such items online and read the testimonials, you’ll see that they assist reduce the length of headaches or even prevent them from occurring in the first place.
However, according to Dr. Mark Rosenfield, He found that the blue-blocking filters have no effect, no significant effect on digital eye strain.
So, when should you get a pair?
If you spend many hours daily on your computer screen and have headaches frequently, then it could be a sign that you need them already.
Blue light, as we all know, is not just emitted by computer screens.
It’s generated by almost any digital gadget, including tablets, monitors, and Smartphones that you can’t seem to put down.
It is common to observe individuals hooked to their digital gadgets in this day and age. According to some studies, people spend more than 6 hours each day on their gadgets.
It’s a long time, long enough to cause eye strain, especially when the brightness is quite high.
Gadget overuse is not unheard of. In fact, it has become a major issue in our culture.
As a result, don’t think that digital eye strain is just produced by blue light; continuous usage of devices may also be a factor.
Other ways to block blue light
Many users believed that blue light glasses are reliable, but that’s not your only option to prevent damage caused by this high-energy light.
If you want to provide the ultimate protection to your vision, you can install an app called Flux that serves to limit the amount of blue light from devices it’s installed onto.
There are other apps with similar functionality, made for different types of devices.
Whether you’re an Android or iOS user, just type in the keywords on Google. It’ll come up with many relevant results.
In addition to apps and glasses, blue light filter covers can also be an alternative.
They work similarly, covering surfaces with a specific coating that filters harmful wavelengths.
Many people wear blue light glasses because they want to ensure their eyes get the necessary protection.
Whether or not blue light glasses work, it doesn’t matter to them as long as they can feel the benefits themselves. It’s not wrong to have this mindset.
Some people believe that these glasses work because there are reviews from those who have used them before.
What we all agree upon is that blue light does have an impact on the body, like it can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle and suppress melatonin production.
But other than that, blue light isn’t that scary thing we have to avoid at all costs.
Blue light also exists in nature. Like it or not, we’re exposed to it on a daily basis through the sunlight.
Last but not least, wherever you stand on this issue, you can always go back to this article, so that you can make an informed decision in case you want to get a pair of blue light glasses.