While we all love the connectivity and entertainment that our digital devices provide, a lot of us are starting to wonder what this increase in screen time means to our eye health.
Blue light glasses are a great way to protect your eyes from the artificial blue high-energy visible (HEV) light that is emitted from places like phones, television screens, computers, artificial (i.e. fluorescent) lighting, and the sun.
Licensed Optician, Stefan Mayer, walks us through some of the common questions around digital protection, and how blue light blocking glasses provide three times more protection against blue light than a standard glasses with clear lenses.
But first, let’s understand what blue light is and the effects of it.
Jump to a section:
- What is blue light?
- The effects of blue light
- Why choose blue light protection?
- How do blue light blocking glasses work?
- How does this affect our eye health?
- How can I prevent eye strain caused by blue light?
- Do I need to have prescription to use digital protection lens technology?
- Are digital protection lenses available with progressive prescriptions?
- 3 steps to buying blue light glasses at Clearly
What is blue light?
Known as HEV light, blue light is of a shorter wavelength (from 380 to 500nmm) compared to other strains of light. The shorter the wavelength, the more energy the light contains.
You may be familiar with very short wavelength light in the form of ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light can burn your skin or eyes as it has so much energy. Blue light contains less, but still contains a considerable amount of energy.
Your eyes need some blue light to see well. We’re exposed to blue light naturally from the sun, but artificial blue light from backlit screens, such as your computer monitor and phone, add to your blue light exposure during the day.
The effects of blue light
We need exposure to blue light to a certain extent. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to see the colour blue!
Blue light has many important functions: it can increase your alertness, improve your mood, cognitive function, and memory, as well as regulate your body clock by suppressing melatonin — the “sleepy” hormone that prepares your body for rest.
But the role of technology in our modern lifestyles means our eyes are exposed to artificial blue light for many hours a day, because of the screens we spend so much time in front of.
Not to mention too much of it before bedtime (playing video games on your mobile devices, for example) tricks your brain into thinking that it’s supposed to stay awake. Therefore, exposure to artificial blue light may make it difficult to fall asleep or relax.
Why choose blue light protection?
Some types of blue light can be beneficial and help regulate our bodies’ internal biological clocks. However, certain strains of blue-violet light may have a negative impact on the eyes, specifically the retina.
Along with age, genetics, diet, lifestyle, and occupation, some argue that this type of blue light is a risk factor for the onset of age-related macular degeneration, a deterioration of the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision.
The problem with artificial light is that most of us are now continuously looking at our digital technologies. Fluorescent lighting and UV rays also contain blue light, which can trigger eye damage and strain. You may have noticed headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and eye strain when you’ve spent long hours in front of your screen.
BlueReflect™ blue light lenses offer a protective shield that reduces glare and blue light from digital screens and artificial lights.
How do blue light blocking glasses work?
Blue light is the lower end of the visible spectrum and covers wavelengths from 380-500 nm. Digital screens emit electromagnetic radiation in a broad range of frequencies.
Certain strains of blue light are prevalent in sunlight and many modern technologies, which can impact your sleep cycle, and potentially cause eye strain and fatigue.
Blue light also has healthy rays that are important for us to be exposed to. BlueReflect™ blue light lenses specifically target HEV strains of blue light (415 – 455 nm) prevalent many modern technologies.
These digital protection lenses both reflect and filter certain strains of blue light while letting beneficial blue light pass through, which is a step beyond traditional yellow hued computer lenses that only filter this light.
How does this affect our eye health?
The Vision Council reports that 61% of adults experience digital eye strain due to the prolonged use of electronic devices.
After extended use, our vision can be affected by eyestrain, blurry vision, dry and irritated eyes, and headaches. Studies have suggested there are greater risks to certain types of cancers, diabetes, heart disease macular degeneration and premature cataracts.
Remember, if you’re experiencing symptoms, a comprehensive eye exam with your Eye Care Professional will help to ensure that you don’t have any underlining eye health issues (and is something that we should all being doing about once a year!).
How can I prevent eye strain caused by blue light?
One way is to get digital protection with your glasses. This will help reduce your exposure to blue light as well as reduce eye fatigue caused by digital devices.
Give your eyes a rest as well. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Keep in mind that this will help eye fatigue when you’re in front digital device to some degree but will not protect you from the potential long term effects of blue light that digital protection lenses can.
Importantly, ensure that children are getting regular eye examinations and taking breaks from digital technologies. Blue light also disturbs sleeping patterns, so avoid allowing children to use digital technology for at least 2 hours before bedtime.
When they are enjoying screen time, kid’s frames can also be outfitted with BlueReflect™ blue light lenses for added protection.
Do I need to have prescription to use digital protection lens technology?
No, the great thing about this technology is that everyone has access to digital protection lenses (sometimes referred to as ‘computer glasses’ – not to be confused with a computer distance prescription). You can add BlueReflect™ blue light lenses to any Clearly frames, without a prescription. You can also wear these glasses over your contact lenses.
This doesn’t mean you should skip your eye exam, which as adults we should all be doing with a licensed Eye Care Professional about once a year.
If you do require a corrective power please make sure that you do have a valid prescription provided by your Eye Care Professional.
Are digital protection lenses available with progressive prescriptions?
BlueReflect™ blue light lenses are available as digital progressive lenses and an advanced thin option. These ‘no line’ digital progressives allow greater prescription accuracy for those requiring the combination of far (television, driving), near (reading) and intermediate (such as smartphones, tablets, and computer use) distances.
This technology is beneficial to the more than 60% of GenXers who report symptoms of digital eyestrain, and 1 in 4 Baby Boomers who spend at least 9 hours a day on their digital devices. In addition, Baby Boomers watch more television on a daily basis than any other age group (stats courtesy of the Vision Council).
3 steps to buying blue light glasses at Clearly
1. Select your frame. Choose any frame from our extensive selection. Use our handy search filters to find the perfect fitting pair.
2. Enter your prescription. After you’ve chosen your frames, click on the ‘Add lenses’ button. Then, enter your prescription. If you don’t have a prescription, enter zero in all fields or click the “I want lenses without a prescription” link.
3. Select your digital protection lenses. Select the ‘Digital Protection Lenses’ option, and choose the type of lenses that are best suited for you and your lifestyle.
Before you go
We hope that we’ve helped you understand what blue light is and how blue light glasses can help your eyes relax during screen time. Head over to our page to learn more about the blue light lenses products that we have to offer at Clearly.
If you’re not sure which type of lens is suitable for you, call our Customer Service team at 1-800-639-478 for assistance. You can also contact us via email or live chat.