Many of us are exposed to excessive blue light from digital screens, LED lights, and fluorescent light. With technology advancements as well as an exponential increase in virtual meetings due to COVID-19, blue light exposure is definitely on the rise. This post takes a look at why that matters, and 3 reasons everyone needs blue light blocking glasses.
What Is Blue Light?
Blue light is a normal part of the sun’s visible spectrum. When we absorb blue light into our eyes, it triggers our bodies to feel awake. This is a good thing– in the daytime! But as with most good things, there is such thing as too much.
Blue light has the shortest wavelength but transmits the highest amount of energy. Again, this can be a good thing in the daytime. But when blue light is experienced in excess, or in the evening/nighttime hours, it wreaks havoc on our bodies– from eye strain to headaches to disrupted sleep, and more.
But there’s something that can help– blue light blocking glasses. They do exactly what it sounds like they do.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
What Are Blue Light Blocking Glasses?
Blue light blocking glasses are glasses that reflect blue light away from our eyes, preventing it from reaching our brain. In doing so, blue light blocking glasses create conditions for the eyes that are similar to natural darkness. This allows our body to maintain a normal circadian rhythm process at night which is essential for restful sleep.
You can wear blue light blocking glasses any time of day or night, aside from when you are driving. Most often, people wear them when using a computer or other electronic device, or when watching television.
While being screen free in the evenings is a great potential solution to the problem, it isn’t always the most practical. Kids sometimes have to do homework on a screen at night, or maybe it’s the only time for you and your partner to catch up on your favorite shows– we get it. This is where blue light blockers can be a huge help!
Blue light blockers are available in different styles and with different colored lenses. Clear lenses will block out less blue light than orange lenses, which make them a sufficient option for the day. Many people find orange lensed blue light blockers to be helpful at night, as their greater reduction in blue light helps to encourage the release of melatonin.
This brings us to the first reason everyone needs blue light blocking glasses:
Too Much Blue Light Disrupts Our Sleep Patterns
Our circadian rhythms control the balance of cortisol and melatonin in our bodies, and they are tied to light and darkness. Bright light stimulates cortisol, which helps us to feel awake in the morning. But bright light inhibits melatonin, which helps our bodies wind down at night. Melatonin is encouraged by low, red light.
So increased blue light exposure during the day (and/or night) contributes to our circadian rhythm being out of whack. Worth mentioning: This study found blue light to affect melatonin levels almost twice as adversely in children than in adults. Blue light makes it difficult for kids to feel sleepy at bedtime, which impacts their quality of sleep, their mood, and their ability to focus.
Another reason everyone should consider blue light blocking glasses:
Blue Light May Contribute to Eye Discomfort
Have you ever sat at a computer for a long period of time, or seen your kids’ eyes (or attitudes) after too many hours of video games? Looking at a screen all day clearly affects us!
Too much computer usage can lead to something called computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. Blue light blocking glasses can help reduce this eye strain. And pairing blue light blockers with regular computer breaks greatly reduces eye discomfort (and symptoms that come with it, like headaches and blurred vision).
And the third reason everyone needs blue light blocking glasses?
Blue Light Blocking Glasses May Help to Reduce the Risk of Macular Degeneration
There isn’t a definitive study to prove this, but some preliminary studies (like this one) indicate blue light blocking glasses might help prevent damage to the eye that could cause significant problems later in life.
Blue light is able to penetrate your eye all the way to your retina. Excessive exposure to blue light may trigger a toxic reaction in the eyes, which can lead to macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the death of photoreceptor cells in the retina, and is a leading cause of blindness. This eye disease usually occurs in people aged 50 or older, and it is incurable.
Presently, COVID-19 is still affecting many families in the way of scheduling, especially families with school-aged children. If your child’s school is opting for a virtual model right now, or if you’ve chosen to go a virtual school route for the year, your child will likely be spending a large amount of time on a computer screen. And all families, regardless of school choice during this season may have extra curricular classes- art, piano, theater- or therapies- physical, occupational, counseling, etc.- that are functioning as virtual right now.
This means our kids’ blue light exposure is higher than usual right now. And because kids’ brains and eyes are still developing, they are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of screen time. With their extra absorption of blue light right now, opting for a pair of blue light blocking glasses may be really helpful for their eyes, and their sleep patterns (and this affects YOU!)
While there are countless options across the internet, here are some recommendations for blue light blocking glasses if you need them:
*the above links are affiliate links
Have you experienced adverse effects from prolonged exposure to blue light? Have you tried blue light blocking glasses? We’d love to hear about it in the comments! As always, feel free to contact Insight Thermography of Oklahoma with questions or to schedule an appointment– we love hearing from you!