Today, people can spend many hours a day on digital devices, from smartphones to laptops and televisions. While technological advancements can make our lives more comfortable and convenient, they also have a downside.
Electronic screens emit blue light, short-wavelength visible light that can disrupt our circadian rhythm. Digital screens can also cause digital eye strain. Wearing blue light glasses has become a popular solution for some, but when do you need them?
Many people wear blue light-filtering glasses when doing prolonged computer work, scrolling on a tablet, or watching a movie. If you’re struggling with digital eye strain and disrupted sleep from blue light, visiting your optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam can help you address your symptoms with treatment options we recommend based on your individual eye health.
What Are Blue Light Glasses?
Blue light glasses are specially designed eyeglasses that can protect the eyes from blue light emitted by digital screens. The lenses in blue light glasses have a special coating that blocks or absorbs blue light before it can reach your eyes.
Blue light is a type of high-energy visible light believed to disrupt sleep patterns, and it may cause other potential effects. Blue light glasses are designed to reduce the amount of blue light that enters the eyes to help limit the effects of blue light from digital devices.
Some blue light glasses also have an anti-reflective coating that can reduce glare and support your visual clarity. They have become increasingly popular in recent years as people spend more time in front of screens and the research on the potential health effects of blue light exposure grows.
Benefits of Blue Light Glasses
Wearing blue light glasses can have several benefits for some people, including improved sleep patterns. Blue light glasses can help regulate circadian rhythms and reduce the amount of blue light reaching the brain, which can improve sleep quality.
When Should You Wear Blue Light Glasses?
When You Use Digital Devices for Extended Periods
If you use a digital device for several consecutive hours throughout the day, the prolonged use of electronic screens can increase your exposure to blue light. Standard eyeglasses or sunglasses cannot typically filter the specific wavelengths of blue light generated by digital screens, so wearing blue light glasses may provide support for your eye health and sleep patterns.
When You Have Trouble Sleeping
Exposure to blue light after dark can affect your sleep quality, especially if you work late or binge-watch your favorite show before bed. When you use digital devices and tablet computers, the blue light emissions can disrupt your natural sleep cycle by suppressing the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
What Is Digital Eye Strain?
Screen use is often inevitable for work, school, and leisure, and digital eye strain can come with all that screen time.
While digital eye strain can look different for everyone, common symptoms can include:
- Dry eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Neck, shoulder, or back stiffness
- Facial muscle fatigue from squinting
How Can You Avoid Digital Eye Strain?
There are several methods that can help reduce the irritating symptoms of digital eye strain, including:
- The 20-20-20 rule: Taking breaks is key to preventing digital eye strain. Following the 20-20-20 rule—taking a break every 20 minutes and looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds—can give your eyes a reset from close-focus tasks
- Artificial tears: Using computers and digital screens can cause you to blink less often. Lubricating eye drops can restore moisture and relieve dry eye associated with digital eye strain
- Wearing the right prescription lenses: Wearing an old prescription in your glasses or contact lenses can cause poor posture by forcing you to lean toward your screen. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist can provide an updated prescription so you’re wearing the proper lenses
- Taking a break from contact lenses: Contact lenses can worsen dry eye symptoms. Wearing your glasses periodically may help reduce irritation.
Find Relief from Digital Eye Strain
Whether you’re a student, office worker, or gamer, seeking strategies and support for digital eye strain and the effects of blue light can make a difference in your life.