The light you normally see is a lot more complex than you might think. It contains a spectrum of different wavelengths of light, which our eyes see as colors. Every natural light source, such as our sun or any artificial light source, such as the screens of our phones and monitors, works on the very same principle. The blue light we see is on the higher frequency end of the visible spectrum, and after this, the invisible ultraviolet region starts. Blue light has a wavelength of around 380nm to 500nm. Blue and ultraviolet light rays have higher energy levels due to shorter wavelengths, as compared to other colors of light, which make them dangerous for our skin and eyes. Longer exposures of direct ultraviolet light on eyes without blue light blocking glasses can even cause snow blindness or Photokeratitis.
Our Computer Screens and Blue light
We already know that several light sources around us can emit blue light. Whether you are out for a walk or staying indoors, you are still surrounded by light sources. Nowadays, many of our daily use devices such as mobile phones and TV screens or computer monitors emit blue light. Researchers say that the blue light that we see on our screens can decrease the contrast, which leads to digital eye strain. This can cause irritation in our eyes and loss of focus during work. According to recent studies, the blue light of the higher energy end of the visible spectrum can even cause permanent retinal cell damage, which can lead to vision problems as you get older. Spending more and more time sitting in front of screens makes us blink less often, which causes dry eyes, eye strain, and fatigue.
Disrupted Sleeping Patterns due to Blue Light
Other than damaging our eye health, some researchers also say that the blue light coming out of our mobile phone screens and other daily use of digital devices can also disrupt our sleeping patterns. The natural blue light from our sun helps in setting up our circadian rhythm, which is our natural internal process that maintains our daily sleep and wake cycles. The artificial blue light sources such as our mobile phones and TV screens can impact the natural circadian rhythm. This results in disrupted sleeping patterns. The best advice to minimize these effects is to avoid using digital devices one or two hours before going to bed. Some people suggest that wearing special glasses that block excess blue light might help in reducing visual problems.
Are Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses Really Effective?
Nowadays, glasses that filter out blue light from our daily use of digital devices are getting more and more popular as a lot of people have started using them. Manufacturing companies do not market these glasses as medical devices, which means these glasses are not regulated by the FDA, and their claims are not based on scientific research.
These glasses claim to have special lenses that are designed to block blue light from our everyday use of digital devices. The lenses of these glasses also have an anti-glare coating to reflect some of the unnecessary blue light away from our eyes. These glasses have different coated lenses, some are clear, and some might have a yellowish tint. The more yellow-tinted lenses tend to reflect more of the blue light.
For some people using these glasses has improved their focus, and they’ve been experiencing lesser eye strain and eye fatigue. Besides, they felt like their eyes were well-rested throughout the day. On the other hand, some people did not feel much of a difference regarding eye strain or fatigue when using them. However, both groups of people have admitted that these glasses do help them fall asleep faster and improved their sleep quality.
Some Other Tips to Prevent Unnecessary Eye Strain
Most of us cannot avoid using computers, screens or phones in our daily life because of our nature of work or for other various reasons. If you’re having problems related to eye strain and fatigue or having to focus on related issues while working, we have listed some tips to help you in avoiding unnecessary eye strain.
- Try to tilt the screen slightly downwards while working, so you’re looking down at it at an angle.
- Maintain a safe distance of around 25 inches from the screen, which is roughly equal to an arm’s length.
- Always remember the “20-20-20” rule while working. Take a break each 20 minutes of continuous staring at screen. Try looking at any object around you that is more than 20 feet away from you. Do it for about 20 seconds.
- It is recommended to dim the brightness of the screen at night. Also, most of the mobile devices and laptops are now equipped with a built-in night mode that makes the screen a bit warmer and reduces excess blue light on the screen for easier nighttime usage.
- You can also apply matte screen filters that significantly reduce the glare on the screen.
- If you use contact lenses, it is recommended to use glasses instead, at least one hour before going to bed.
Should You Buy These Glasses?
A group of scientists does say that the real problem is not about the blue light. It is the ultraviolet light that causes retinal problems in our eyes. Besides, there is still not enough scientific evidence that claims that blue light can cause severe issues with our vision. If you think that buying these blue-light-filtering glasses can help you in avoiding permanent eye damage, then you might want to reconsider your choice. Many of the visual problems that are caused by blue light from digital devices are temporary and often get better when using them for shorter intervals of time. Although, some people have said that they have experienced lesser eye strain and fatigue after using these glasses. Some have even said that these glasses have helped them get better quality sleep at night.
About The Author
Massab Bashir has a Bachelors degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the COMSATS Institute of Information and Technology (Islamabad, Pakistan) . He has worked as a Medical / Clinical Assistant at the University of Health Sciences (Lahore, Punjab).