We spend every day looking at some sort of digital screen. Whether it’s a computer monitor or the screen on our smartphones, we are exposed to blue light more than ever. You may have noticed a change in your eyes over the past couple of years as the use of digital devices has increased for work, school, and leisure. They may be drier and itchier than before, and you might even feel tired after looking at a screen for too long. These are the hallmark signs of digital eye strain.
Blue light eyeglasses have become a popular solution for alleviating digital eye strain. Some say they work, while others say they don’t. Here, we’ll discuss exactly what blue light glasses are designed to do, how they affect your vision, and how you can relieve your eyes from all that screen time.
What Is Blue Light?
Blue light is a type of light on the visible light spectrum that vibrates at around 380 to 500 nanometers, making it the shortest wavelength and one with the highest energy. About a third of all visible light is blue light, with sunlight being the biggest source.
Blue light has become a buzzword in recent years as digital screens have been found to emit artificial blue light. These devices are typically computers and smartphones, but artificial blue light can also come from LED and fluorescent lighting.
When we are exposed to too much blue light, it can impact our eye health significantly.
Signs Of Digital Eye Strain
Spending hours in front of screens can cause a condition called digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome (CVS). Symptoms of this condition include but are not limited to the following:
- Eye fatigue
- Dry eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Struggling to keep your eyes open
These symptoms appear because our eyes are working much harder to absorb all the information we see on screens. Our eyes always scan the visual stimuli on our screens as we scroll, swipe, and tap to view more things on our daily devices. The eyes are not used to looking at screens all day every day, so they get tired, and the symptoms of digital eye strain appear.
Can Blue Light Glasses Help?
We’ve discussed how blue light glasses don’t damage your eyes, but how can they help?
Blue light glasses are a type of eyeglasses created with special lenses that are designed to filter out blue light while letting the types of light through. The first iterations of this type of eyewear used yellow-tinted or clip-on lenses to shield against blue light. Today, blue light filters are also used in clear lenses for everyday wear.
These blue light glasses can be effective when it comes to reducing the amount of blue light your eyes are exposed to when using screens. They can also help you get better quality sleep since they block out the stimulating signals interpreted as sunlight that tell your brain to stay awake.
It is important to note that using blue light glasses is just one of the ways to protect your eyes from digital eye strain. While they can help significantly, you can observe best eye care practices when looking at screens. Here are a few things you can try:
Adjust the lighting. When in front of computer screens or the television, it can be easier on the eyes if you keep the rest of the room softly lit.
Take breaks. Take occasional breaks and rest your eyes by looking away from the screen. Try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Use artificial tears. Non-prescription artificial tears may help by relieving and preventing dry eyes. Use them even when your eyes feel alright to keep them well-lubricated and prevent symptoms from recurring.
Blink often to refresh your eyes. People typically blink less than usual when working in front of a computer. Blinking produces tears to moisten and refresh your eyes.
Adjust your monitor. Place your monitor directly in front of you at an arm’s length away so it is at eye level. It also helps to have an adjustable chair.
The Bottom Line
Digital screens are all around us, so it is no wonder that many people experience digital eye strain. If you are feeling irritation and pain from looking at your screens all day, blue light glasses may help alleviate the discomfort. However, it is important not to forget that there are many other ways you can protect your eyes from digital eye strain.