What are Blue Light Glasses and Do I Need Them?

What Are Blue Light Glasses And Do I Need Them?

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What are blue light blocking glasses?

Blue light blocking glasses are specifically designed to filter out the harmful blue-violet light rays that are commonly emitted from digital screens.

This has become an increasing concern in the modern world and here’s why:

Does this routine sound familiar?

6:30 a.m. You wake up to an alarm and immediately search for your phone.
6:31 a.m. Time to rid your phone of all those red notifications on your apps and see what you missed while you slept.
6:35 a.m. Scroll through your Instagram feed. Check out what’s trending on Twitter.
9 a.m. Get to work and turn on the computer you stare at until lunch.
12 p.m. At lunch you take a break to text some friends and read the news.
1 p.m. Between work tasks, you never miss an opportunity to hop back on social media.
5 p.m. Head home and relax by watching a show or a movie.
9 p.m. At last, when it’s time for bed, you wind down by scrolling through your feed. Maybe play one last game game or watch a few sports highlights before you finally go to sleep.

Maybe you don’t look at screens all day, but part of that description probably rings a bell. If this is the case, you’d be right in considering getting a pair of blue light computer glasses. This protective wear claims to offer relief from symptoms that go along with extended screen time.

“We are actually putting ourselves at increased risk by being outdoors in modern society and not protecting our eyes appropriately,” Dr. Shelby Temple, director of Azul Optics, said in an interview with Optometry Today.

Before getting a pair of blue light computer glasses, you probably have questions. Probably something along the lines of “What do blue light blocking glasses do?” To answer that question, you must know a little about blue light.

What Is Blue Light and How Does It Affect Your Eyes?

The color in the visible light spectrum ranges from blue to red. Blue light sits on the very edge of the spectrum, close to invisible UV light. Blue light is considered “high-energy visible light” (HEV). Its wavelength, much shorter when compared to colors closer to the red side of the spectrum, hits our eyes at a higher frequency.

what is blue light (hev)

The blue light that falls on the beneficial side of the line in this graphic comes from the sun. The sun’s blue light controls our sleep and wake cycles (circadian rhythm), and memory. When we expose ourselves to excessive amounts of blue light produced by digital screens, we expose our eyes to something unnatural and harmful. Current research is looking into if extended blue light exposure from our devices can cause similar changes to the retina in Age-Related Macular Degeneration that is caused by blue light from the sun. Blue light is known to cause eye strain, headaches, and disruptions in your body’s sleep cycle.

Blue light computer glasses protect your eyes from blue light, and all the symptoms that go along with it.

When to Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses

The truth is, the amount of screen time we have every day is a problem with no easy solution. According to The Vision Council, “C​lose to 80 percent report using digital devices, including TV, in the hour before going to sleep, with almost 55 percent in the first hour they are awake.” Your sleep cycle will surely suffer from such usage (more on that later); however, the other thing these statistics show is this:

Although minimizing your screen time would help, for many doing so has become nearly impossible. Screens are a part of our lives like never before. Screens have become your source of news, entertainment, communication, and social interaction- not to mention a tool for work. More than ever, people are working from home which can be very taxing on your eyes.

We cannot simply avoid digital screens. Instead, we must learn to find ways to protect ourselves from the potential negative effects screen use can have.

If you want the expert advice on the subject, the American Academy of Ophthalmology put out a list of tips to minimize the effects of digital screens in your life. Number four on their list recommends that you use computer glasses.

Opting to wear protective eyewear such as Blue Light Blocking Computer glasses can make a huge difference in maintaining the health of your eyes.

 

Measuring Lens Protection

When it comes to protecting your eyes, it is important to understand the level of protection your eyes need. GUNNAR offers a wide array of lens options ranging in GUNNAR Blue Light Filter – GBLF, like SPF for sunscreen. These lenses range from a GBLF of 35-98, offering extreme or moderate protection.

gunnar blue light protection factor scale

GUNNAR’s patented lens technology is recommended by doctors to protect your eyes and enhance your vision. In the most recent episode of our podcast Vision is More Than 2020, I go into further detail to help explain the difference GUNNAR’s unique lens tech makes in helping to reduce glare, ease focus and dryness. My co-host, Dr. Licausi actually gave her own account of how protective lenses benefitted her. Although she was skeptical at first, after testing a pair of GUNNAR Computer Glasses she experienced less fatigue, resulting in a more comfortable experience overall.

Do I Need Blue Light Blocking Glasses?

If your eyes are experiencing signs of exhaustion after prolonged use of digital screens, you may benefit from blue light blocking glasses. It is possible you may not even notice the beginning signs of eye strain and other effects of blue light.

Pay close attention to what your body is trying to tell you. There are some warning signs to look out for that tell you if you are in need of Blue Light Blocking Computer Glasses.

If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you’d benefit from the relief blue light blocking glasses offer:

1. Eye Strain
2. Headaches
3. Trouble Sleeping
4. Dry Eyes
5. Blurred Vision

1. Eye Strain

eye strain after exposure to blue light

If after prolonged use of your device, your eyes feel tired/strained and dry, you may be suffering from computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. This issue arises from a combination of the blue light exposure, the constant flickering and glare of your LED screens, reduced blink rate and having to maintain your eye’s focus for an extended period of time.

Many technology users experience symptoms of digital eye strain without even realizing it. You simply begin to believe that what you feel after spending time on digital screens is normal. It is common for these symptoms to go on ignored, but the effects will remain without proper care. GUNNAR has a proven track record, confirmed by customers, of alleviating eye strain.


2. Headaches

blue light induced headache

Headaches are one of the most uncomfortable symptoms associated with harmful blue light. Once again, if you’ve ever spent a long time on screens, you might not even realize the headache is a symptom. You just adjust and move on. Long hours using your eyes in any context can cause headaches; blue light aggravates the problem greatly. Reading a book can cause eye strain, but reading a lighted e-reader will cause it far quicker.

Those with sensitive eyes risk migraines. Blue and red light send the largest signal to the retina and the cortex. You can easily guess blue light’s adverse effects. Also, when your eyes hurt, your head hurts more. The longer you use screens unprotected, the more intense the headache. The vicious cycle feeds back, and you’re left in pain and frustration.

3. Trouble Sleeping

blue light stops brain producing melatonin causing sleep loss

As I mentioned before, blue light can also greatly affect your ability to have a good night’s sleep. How does blue light control your sleep cycle? The natural blue light emitted from the sun signals your body when to sleep and when to wake up. Specifically, blue light tells your brain to stop producing melatonin, the chemical associated with sleepiness. If you use screens near bedtime, you cause your brain confusion. Melatonin should be switched on since nighttime has come, but the screens signal your brain to stop that production.

Sleep studies show that use of digital devices before bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep, the quality of how you sleep is negatively affected and when you wake up you are not as well rested. The best solution would be to remove screens at night, about 1-2 hours before bed, but this is a difficult task for most of us. However, you can still take advantage of your screens without sacrificing sleep! GUNNAR users can use their devices with reduced blue-light exposure before bed and are able to preserve their precious sleep.

 

4. Dry Eyes

dry eyes occur from lack of blinking

When you use digital screens you tend to stare more intently. Whether you use them for work, or play, the nature of the work holds your attention. Gamers in particular know this struggle. You don’t want to miss a minute, so you tend to blink less. Less blinking means dryer eyes. The flickering blue light intensifies the experience.

Nowadays, keeping your eyes properly moistened takes more than a few drops to fix the problem. Regularly wearing computer glasses is proven to help reduce dry, red eyes. GUNNAR lenses include anti-glare coating to combat the glare that can contribute to dry eye symptoms.

5. Blurred Vision

blurred vision caused by eye strain

Dry eyes, eye strain, and—why not complete the trifecta?—blurred vision. When we look at our devices for an extended period of time, our visual system is held in a ‘locked’ position to maintain clarity. The eye-muscles can fatigue, resulting in intermittent blurred vision at near, in the distance or both. If you have any underlying visual issues, this blurriness can get worse from device use. Wearing protective eyewear helps promote longevity and health in your eyes.

Do Blue Light Filtering Glasses Work?

As I’ve noted throughout this article, today’s world makes it tough to avoid screen time. This begs the question: Do blue light glasses help to combat the effects of prolonged exposure? In fact, in a market test for GUNNAR Optiks Digital Performance Eyewear, patients proved wearing blue blocking glasses is equivalent to overall decreased screen time. These results were analyzed using standard market research techniques, using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) software.

Blue light glasses make it possible to remain fully engaged in our technologically advanced world, without taking on the negative effects of blue light. The symptoms listed above can decrease productivity, and disrupt an otherwise pleasant day. You can stay focused on the task (or game) at hand without negative effects with Computer Glasses. In the words of YouTuber Carson Suite, “Eye strain was affecting my sleep and my focus…GUNNAR glasses changed my life!”

focusing power of GUNNAR's patented lens technology

GUNNAR, in addition to protecting you from blue light and glare, offers various magnified lens options. From a subtle .2 magnification to sharpen images, all the way up to your personal prescription. You can get the protection you need while still maintaining the visual clarity you need.

Can I Wear Blue Light Glasses All The Time?

Now that you have a better understanding of how blue light blocking glasses can protect your eyes and reduce uncomfortable symptoms, you’re probably wondering how often you can wear them. Can you wear blue light glasses all day, or should you only wear them at certain times?
Blue light blocking glasses are safe for all-day use, however, that might not be necessary. It’s important to understand that blue light isn’t inherently bad for you. The biggest source of blue light comes from the sun and a small amount of this natural form of blue light is needed for good health. It regulates your circadian rhythm—the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle—and boosts alertness, memory, cognitive function, and mood.

The issue is, modern-day humans are exposed to excessive blue light due to spending long periods of time looking at digital screens at a close distance. Prolonged exposure to artificial blue light from screens has been shown to disrupt your circadian rhythm and cause symptoms like headaches and dry eyes. Blue light glasses are very helpful when it comes to guarding against artificial sources of blue light that deliver excessive amounts of this wavelength to your retinas. They’re especially beneficial when using screens at night, as exposure to blue light at nighttime can easily disrupt your sleep.

So, while wearing blue light glasses all day is perfectly fine and won’t harm your eyes in any way, you only really need to wear them when you’re using digital devices such as computers, smartphones, and iPads.

Can I Wear Blue Light Glasses Outside?

Now, you might be thinking, “Okay, that makes sense, but can I wear blue light glasses outside?” Yes, you certainly can! In fact, in addition to computer and gaming glasses which are specifically engineered for indoor use when using digital screens, GUNNAR also offers blue light sunglasses that provide the ultimate protection when viewing digital screens outdoors.
Why might someone want blue light blocking sunglasses? Our eyes are not good at blocking blue light and while a little natural blue light is good for us, excessive blue light, whether from digital devices, the sun, or a combination, has been shown to have negative effects. These can include eye strain, headaches, and disruptions in your body’s sleep cycle.

GUNNAR’s blue light blocking sunglasses protect against 100% UV light and block 90% of blue light. They are also non-polarized so you can see the detail on your mobile devices when it’s bright outside, unlike polarized lenses which make it more difficult.

Should I Wear Blue Light Glasses When Watching TV?

There’s a lot of talk about using blue light blocking glasses when using laptops, smartphones, and tablets, but what about while watching TV? Just like laptops and tablets, TVs are also a source of blue light. As such, it’s recommended that you slide your blue light lenses on when watching TV, especially when watching at night or before bed. While winding down with a  TV show before bed can be a relaxing experience, it also exposes your eyes to artificial blue light that disrupts your internal clock and suppresses melatonin production. The glow from the TV essentially fools your body into thinking it’s time to get up and start your day, rather than time to go to sleep.

Thankfully, blue light blocking glasses can counter these effects so you can relax and enjoy watching TV without sacrificing your sleep.

Are Blue Light Glasses Bad For Your Eyes?

Trying new things can often trigger concerns. If you’re weary of trying blue light glasses because you’re worried they’re bad for your eyes in some way, you can throw that fear out the window. Blue light glasses are not bad for your eyes. In fact, their main purpose is to shield your eyes from the damaging effects of blue light.  In fact, GUNNAR’s range of blue light glasses also address other digital eye strain symptoms associated with digital screen use including tired eyes, blurry vision and dry eyes, so the benefits extend beyond blue light protection. With so much time spent on digital devices these days, wearing blue light glasses is an easy and stylish way to protect your eyes without disrupting your work or entertainment.

Can I Wear Blue Light Glasses With Contacts?

If you enjoy the freedom of wearing contact lenses, it would be quite annoying to have to take them out every time you wanted to use your blue light glasses. Thankfully, you don’t have to. GUNNAR offers blue light blocking glasses with or without prescription. If you wear contacts, simply choose glasses with GUNNAR-Focus which aids in sharpening vision at close distances without actually changing vision.

Find The Right Pair of Blue Light Glasses

After hours of screen time, eye strain is inevitable. Even if you can bear the symptoms in the short term, you can cause more damage to your eyes by ignoring the warnings. Changing your relationship with digital screens is absolutely essential to protect the strength and health of your eyes. You needn’t give up your devices completely to protect your eye’s health.

By choosing to wear protective eyewear like Blue Light Computer Glasses, you can remain engaged and productive without worry. With many options available, ranging in style and level of protection, it’s easier than ever to find the specs best suited for you. Depending on your needs we offer both prescription glasses and non-prescription options.

See for yourself! Browse through our available Computer Glasses by lens, style or shape. Using our Virtual Try-On option, you can accurately visualize how each pair will look like on you.

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