Tired eyes? Chances are your screens could be to blame and opting for glasses with blue light blocking lenses might be the solution you’ve been looking for. For millennium the only source of blue light (a short wavelength, high energy light wave) was the sun, naturally limited to daylight hours. Now, with so many people working on computers for eight or more hours a day and then coming home to spend the evening scrolling on their phone, people are absorbing more blue light than ever before – which some experts believe fatigues the eyes and disrupts the natural sleep cycle.
“It’s a short wavelength, high energy light that tends to scatter more, so the more you look at it, the more it can be hard to focus through,” explains Dr. Krishna Patel of Zeiter Eye Medical Group. “Usually our cornea and the anterior structure of the eye can block out certain wavelengths of light, but that blue light tends to go all the way back to the retina.” The first problem with blue light is that it can strain the eyes. Because there are more of these short waves reaching the inner eye, the eyes are having to work harder to sort through those in order to focus. The blue light blocking lenses help to block these light waves from reaching the eye, alleviating that extra work.
“Natural blue light helps suppress our body’s melatonin, so it keeps us more alert and aware during the day,” Dr. Patel says. Which is where the second problem comes in: sleep disruption. If digital devices are sending out the same type of light that tells our bodies to stay awake and alert and it becomes normal to use phones or tablets right before going to bed, it is inevitably going to make it harder to fall asleep. “So, with the blue light blocking lens it can help with regulating that rhythm if you’re doing screen time right before bed,” Dr. Patel says, adding that with the relatively recent rise of screens in our daily lives, studies are ongoing at this point.
If you need a pair, there’s good news. Because the blue light blocking filter is applied to the exterior of the lenses themselves to tint them and help filter out those shorter wavelengths, it can be applied to any lenses in new or current frames.