When it comes to buying blue light glasses in there’s a huge range of options in the market from which you can shop. You can buy cheap blue light blocking glasses on Amazon or online sites which cost as low as $13! On the other hand, you have specialised blue light blocking companies like BlockBlueLight whose prices are in the $100 - $180 range.
Why is there such a huge difference? Do cheap blue light glasses really work?
Are high-end businesses selling the same product and ripping you off? Or is there truly a difference in how effective both kinds of glasses work.
Continue reading to find out if cheap blue light glasses actually work or are dummies.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best selling ‘cheap blue light glasses’ on Amazon and compare their features with premium blue light blocking glasses.
But first, let us understand what blue light glasses do.
How blue light glasses work
If you’re looking for cheap blue light it’s important you understand how they work, before investing your money in a pair.
Blue light glasses work by filtering out a specific range of wavelengths from light.
Natural light or white light is composed of seven colours (think: the rainbow) and its wavelengths range from 390 to 700 nanometres. The shorter wavelengths carry higher energy and have the strongest impact on our eyes.
That is why the wavelengths near the end of the spectrum can be harmful if we are exposed to them for excessive periods of time. This includes blue light and green light. However, colloquially we refer to this damaging spectrum just as ‘blue light.'
Blue light from natural sources (think: the sun) is good for us- it helps regulate our mood, sleep and wake cycle and other hormonal patterns.
However, excessive exposure to blue light from artificial sources, particularly after night time has been scientifically proven to have the following effects:
- Disrupts our sleep-and-wake cycle (since blue light increases alertness excessive or untimely exposure can make it difficult to fall asleep at night)
- Causes digital eye strain - sore and fatigued eyes, dry eyes or blurry vision and mental fatigue.
- Blue light exposure is linked with insomnia
- Blue light exposure is linked with migraines
- For people suffering from light sensitivity, blue light exposure can aggravate the symptoms
- There have been considerable studies which link blue light exposure to poor mental health
- Excessive blue light exposure is also linked to obesity and weight gain!
It’s no surprise that doctors have been advising for quite some time to reduce exposure to blue light to protect your health! However, since there’s such a huge range in the prices, you still want to know if cheap blue light glasses really work or whether to invest in a branded pair.
The truth is, cheap blue light blocking glasses especially the ones sold on amazon are drastically different than branded science backed pairs of blue light glasses. Let us clear the differences in them, so you can pick the right pair for yourself.
There are 2 types of blue light blocking glasses:
You have the clear-lens glasses that are for wearing during the day and the red-tinted glasses for wearing after sundown.
Do cheap blue light glasses really work for daytime?
Blue light glasses for use during the day have clear lenses. These glasses are also commonly known as computer glasses. Their job is to filter down the harmful wavelengths that artificial lighting and screens emit. They do not block blue light rays completely, they only reduce them to less harmful levels.
The peak wavelength of blue light that devices and LED lights emit is 440-455nm. This is the most damaging wavelength and is responsible for retina damage, eye strains and all other blue-light related health problems.
For daytime glasses to be effective, they must filter down the peak wavelength of blue light at 440-455nm by 50%.
If you take a look at cheap blue light glasses or computer glasses sold on Amazon or anywhere else, you’ll see the following problems:
Most cheap blue light blocking glasses only filter violet light
Since there are no regulatory standards on what can be called ‘blue light blocking’, many sellers are selling fake computer glasses that do nothing to reduce the effect on our eyes. They usually show a trick with the light from a blue light pen being blocked by the lens of the glasses. The pen is in fact emitting violet light, so it’s misleading.
Cheap blue light glasses do not filter the complete range of harmful wavelengths
Research has proven that the peak wavelength from artificial light is at 455 nanometres. None of the cheap pairs target this wavelength.
For example, a bestseller on Amazon has the following description ‘block 40% of the blue light on the 430-450nm spectrum and 100% of the blue light at 410nm.’
This means that you’ll be unshielded from the peak wavelength!
Our ScreenTime Computer glasses meant for daytime, filter blue light by 50% across the entire blue light spectrum (380nm-500nm).
Cheap blue light glasses don’t have the specifications mentioned
If you ask the seller, many of them do not even know which wavelengths are being filtered!
Since they don’t have any spectral tests or specifications mentioned, they could be filtering almost no blue light! We’ve done spectral tests on some of these $15 pairs and have found they filter as little as 5% of blue light or only violet light!
For example, a bestseller on amazon has mentioned the following in the product description! “anti harmful blue ray, provide all-day protection, against the detrimental effect high energy visible blue light”
Now let’s take a look at what is needed for night-time blue light glasses to be effective.
Do cheap blue light glasses really work for night-time?
After sunset, humans are not naturally supposed to have any exposure to blue or green light. Exposure to these wavelengths signals to the brain that is daytime, thus reducing melatonin production and increasing wakefulness. This disrupts the circadian rhythm and makes it difficult to fall asleep at night.
For night-time blue light glasses to be effective, they must be specifically designed red-tinted to block 100% of blue and green light up to 550nm to mimic the conditions of nature.
If you take a look at cheap blue light blocking glasses sold on Amazon other sites, you’ll see the following issues:
Cheap blue light glasses do not block 100% of blue and green light
Recent research has proven that the melatonin disruption region peaks at 550 nm, which is the region of green light. For night-time glasses to be effective, they must target and block this region too. However, cheap glasses don’t filter this range. For example, a top bestseller on Amazon mentions, ‘Blocks 99.82% of light in the critical 450 - 510nm range.’ But you’ll still be unprotected from the critical 520-550nm range with this pair!
Cheap blue light glasses don’t target the complete range.
Many manufacturers mention a percentage. For example, a bestseller on amazon mentions ‘These light sensitivity glasses block 97% of blue rays.’ However, they don’t mention at which range of wavelengths they are blocking the rays. For all we know, the lenses could be ineffective at shielding your eyes from the peak wavelengths.
In our range of blue light glasses to be used after sunset, we ensure that all or models block 100% of blue light and 100% of green light up to 550nm. These carefully manufactured blue and green light lenses ensure that all the wavelengths of the melatonin disruption zone are thoroughly blocked to aid deep and restful sleep.
Now that you know the difference between blue light glasses found on Amazon and other eCommerce retailers, vs those created by companies who research and create blue-light blocking products, you’ll know which ones to choose!
Here are a few ending tips for you.
Checklist for buying cheap blue light glasses:
- Ask for a spectrum report (which shows a graph of the wavelengths blocked by the pair.)
- Check that the entire blue light spectrum of 400-500 nm range is filtered by at least 50% for daytime glasses, with a focus on the 455nm wavelengths.
- Check that the 400- 550nm range is completely blocked for night-time glasses.
- Buy pairs that are produced by a company that does the research and creates the products back by for the science and what the research shows.
- Don’t fall for the light-pen gimmick
Till then, stay safe and stay healthy!