Do Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses Actually Work?

We are a generation that is constantly using technology – whether it is our phones, computers or televisions. The time we spend each day using technology is undoubtedly taking a toll on our eyes and our overall vision. In fact, some of the most common times to use technology are right before bed and right when we wake up. I can’t be the only person who wonders how this technology usage is potentially impacting our sight and sleep. 

About 80 percent of American adults use digital devices for more than two hours a day, and nearly 59 percent of American adults report physical discomfort after using technology. These symptoms are factors of digital eyestrain.

A new study found that the average office worker spends 1,700 hours per year in front of their computer screens. March is the Workplace Eye Wellness Month, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The crazy part about using a computer or other device is that we tend to blink less, by less than a third and a half more than normal.

According to Rahul Khurana, ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there's actually a difference between digital eyestrain and the negative effects of blue light. You get more exposure from blue light due to the sunlight. What really hurts our eyes is when we stare at a screen for hours on end without giving ourselves a break. This can also happen when you focus on other things, such as reading a book. There a few tips that help alleviate digital eyestrain which include: looking away every 20 minutes for about 20 seconds at something around 20 feet away and eye drops to alleviate redness.

There are a few tips to help alleviate eye pain before you try blue-light-blocking glasses:

1. Keep that phone at arm’s length, baby.

It is actually harder for your eyes to see things that are far away, which sounds like common sense, but we tend to forget this when we are grinding away on our technology. Try zooming in on your screen display to make whatever you are reading or writing bigger. It is suggested that you keep your screen about arm’s length away. Make sure to position your screen so you’re looking slightly downward. Also, make sure to keep this in mind while watching TV or looking at your phone screen.

2. Get out, glare.

Try to reduce the glare of your screen. Glass screens produce a lot of glare, so try a matte screen filter like this one. These can tend to be pricey, but they are durable and also have the added perk of making the content on your screen private. Totally off the record, but that could be super handy during long classes when all you want to do is online shop. But, you did not hear that from me. 

3. Drop that brightness down low.

If your screen is brighter than the light surrounding you, then you’re making your eyes work much harder than they need to. Try adjusting the light in your room or on your device. You can find effortless ways to adjust the brightness on most phones and computers either by using a button or in the settings. You can also try putting your products in night shift mode when you are sitting in the dark or dim lit settings.

4. Break often. 

Remember to blink and look away from your screen often. Follow the 20-20-20 rule I mentioned earlier, because when you look off into the distance, your eyes can relax. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, you can even try eye drops if your eyes still remain super irritated. Some people even choose to use desktop humidifiers because office buildings have highly controlled environments that take all the moisture out of the air. 

5. Make that bedroom a phone free zone. 

There is research that suggests that blue light could be affecting the body’s circadian rhythm– the pattern your body naturally follows as a cycle when you sleep and wake up. During the day, blue light is immensely helpful; it helps keep us awake and attentive. But, that also means the blue light emitted from your phone or computer screen at night could be keeping you awake and making it harder for you to follow a natural and regular sleeping pattern. Limit you screen time to about one or two hours before you decide you are going to bed. This is easier said than done, especially if you are up late working. Just make sure to do this as often as you can and be mindful of how blue light is affecting your body and your sleep. Always remember that the night shift is your friend! The night shift setting helps to limit the blue light and helps you fall asleep easier.

So, when are blue-light glasses helpful? Nighttime. These glasses act similarly to how your night shift works. In a study from 2009, people who wore blue-light-blocking glasses three hours before they slept had better sleep quality and moods than the people who did not. 

Here are some good options for blue-light-blocking glasses, according to The Strategist:

  1. Uvex Skyper Blue Light Blocking Computer Glasses with SCT-Orange Lens (3-Pack)
  2. Gunnar Optiks Intercept Computer Gaming Glasses
  3. Gunnar Optiks INF-00101 Infinite Computer Gaming Glasses by Publish
  4. Felix Gray Jemison Eyeglasses
  5. Felix Gray Turing Eyeglasses
  6. Felix Gray Nash Sleep Glasses
  7. Felix Gray Haro Eyeglasses

The most affordable choice is the Uvex glasses, but the Gunnar Optics and Felix Gray glasses have great stylish options for when you are on the computer or before you sleep. However, these are all merely suggestions. You should make the choice based on how often you feel eye discomfort after being on the computer or how often you have trouble sleeping before bed.