We’ve all heard the benefits of wearing blue light blocking glasses - doctors are also recommending them. Still, we’ve listened to some concerns about whether wearing blue light blocking glasses can damage your eyes or not.
Before trying out any new health product, it’s critical to be aware of the pros and cons, and whether the product will suit your needs in the long run. So continue reading to find out whether anti blue light glasses can damage your eyes, or whether the rumors are unfounded.
How Do Blue Light Blocking Glasses Prevent Damage to Eyes?
Blue light blocking glasses protect your eyes from harmful blue light and UV rays by using special lens technology to block and filter them out.
Sunlight contains the full spectrum of visible light - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, and also non visible light such as ultra violet and infrared.
Artificial light contains mainly blue light and green light, which we visually see as bright white light. These colours are towards the end of the spectrum, specifically blue light (350-500nm) have the shortest wavelengths and carry the most energy, therefore overexposure to these wavelengths can damage our eyes.
A moderate amount of blue light and UV rays is natural - these rays of blue light are present everywhere and have benefits for us. However, too much can damage your eyes.
A moderate amount of natural blue light has many benefits
Getting moderate exposure to natural blue light from the sun during the day has many benefits. Natural light from the sun is a balanced full spectrum of light including all the visible colours plus UV and infrared light. (this is very different to artificial light emitted from devices and modern lighting)
This full spectrum light helps our bodies synthesize vitamin D from it interacting with our skin.
The full spectrum natural light entering our eyes helps anchor and set our circadian rhythm and tell our brain what time of the day it is.
Natural light from the sun stimulates the release of feel good hormones and endorphins throughout the brain and body such as dopamine and serotonin. Ever wondered why you feel so good when getting out in the sun? This is why.
Too Much Artificial blue light can cause damage to your eyes
Although the skin is susceptible to damage by blue light, it is our eyes that are most likely to be harmed by extensive blue light exposure. Too much exposure to blue light can damage our eyes, to read more about this check out our article "Does Blue Light Cause Eye Damage?"
Nowadays, we are extensively exposed to blue light, coming from our digital devices (TVs, laptops, mobile phones and tablets), electronic devices and LED lighting. The flickering and glaring of these screens causes us to experience digital eye-strain, headaches, disruption in the sleep cycle and physical and mental fatigue. As mentioned above artificial blue light is very different to natural blue light, and it has very different effects on us.
Blue light blocking glasses help prevent these problems, among many other benefits such as protecting the eyes from retinal damage and preventing age-related macular degeneration, which leads to loss of vision.
They also protect us to some extent from UV rays. UV rays hold high energy and they have the capability of producing charges in the skin that cause suntan. UV rays also help the body create vitamin D. However, too much exposure can lead to sunburn and even cancer. UV rays hold higher energy and they have the capability of producing charges in the skin that cause suntan. UV rays also help the body create vitamin D. However, too much exposure can lead to sunburn and even cancer.
The scientific benefits of wearing blue light blocking glasses are undisputed and have helped many people regulate their sleep cycles and reduce digital eye strain. However, many people who are trying them for the first time, have the question, ‘can wearing blue light blocking glasses damage your eyes?’
To answer the question of whether blue light blocking glasses hurt your eyes, let us look at the apprehensions or myths there are about these glasses.
Myth#1: Blue Light Blocking Glasses Can Damage Your Eyes Because They Are Not Natural
The truth is the complete opposite! Exposure to excessive amounts of blue light is unnatural during the day.
The fact is, blue light is present everywhere during the day. Sunlight is our primary source of blue light, and we get most of our exposure when we are outside. Natural exposure to blue light during the day is healthy and good for you is this blue light is completely balanced with the full colour spectrum and the UV and infrared wavelengths.
However, the excess amount of blue light emitted by human-made, indoor sources of blue light such as screens, fluorescent lighting and LED lighting is unnatural. This “alien light” is extremely high in the blue light wavelengths, and has very minimal output of the yellow, orange, and red light wavelengths that we see in natural light. It has made doctors and healthcare professionals concerned about long-term effects on eye, sleep/wake cycles, and mental health.
At night, since there is no sun, there is no longer any natural blue light present so it is not natural to have any exposure to blue light. Thus blocking 100% of blue light at night creates a much more natural environment we have evolved to expect for optimal circadian rhythms and health.
Blue light filter computer glasses reduce unnatural exposure to blue light during the day, and blue light blocking glasses block out all daytime signalling light at night.
Myth # 2: Blue Light Blocking Glasses Can Damage Your Eyes Because They Make You Dependent on Them
Blue light blocking glasses are used as a measure of protection against excessive blue light when working with screens or exposed to artificial lighting during the day and late at night.
Specifically designed clear lens daytime computer glasses filter only the unnatural blue light coming from screens and fluorescent lights. They allow the natural range of rays to pass through responsible for feeling happy, awake, and alert. Ensuring you have a set of daytime blue light glasses that filter blue light down enough and target the correct wavelengths is very important, not all blue light glasses are created equal so do your research before investing!
If you wore night-time red / orange tinted glasses (which block 100% of blue light and green light) during the day it there would be a possibility that your eyes become sensitive to blue light. More importantly you would also start to create circadian mismatch where the brain will think its night-time during the day. Blocking too much blue light during the day would be just as bad as you as too much blue light; a lack of blue light during the day is linked to low mood, depression, low energy and fatigue. So it’s smart to wear night-time tinted glasses after sundown, and keep a pair of quality clear lens computer glasses for the day!
Myth# 3: Blue Light Blocking Glasses Can Damage Your Eyes If You Wear Them in Sunlight
Exposure to blue light produced by the sun is natural and good for health. It helps regulate our circadian rhythm -the body’s sleep and wake cycle. It boosts alertness and increases cognitive functions.
Blue light blocking glasses are created to combat the adverse effects of blue light while in artificial conditions -working with screens and under artificial light, and working late at night.
It's best not to wear blue light glasses when you’re outside in the sun -simply because there is no need, and you do not want to filter the beneficial natural light from your eyes.
Myth#4: Blue Light Blocking Glasses Can Damage Your Eyes If You Get Them Without Prescription
This myth is entirely unfounded. If your eyesight is not weak, you can buy blue light blocking glasses without a prescription. If you usually wear contact lenses to correct your vision, you can wear blue light glasses as usual with no issues.
However, if you usually wear prescription glasses or reading glasses, you can take a look at Screentime Fitover computer glasses for the day and the NightFall Fitover glasses for night, which fit over your usual glasses and provide protection.
We strongly recommend against purchasing blue light glasses for either day or night-time that have reading or prescription lenses installed into them; this is because the blue light blocking and filtering technology will filter blue light all the time even when you don’t need it. When you are not being exposed to artificial light you do not want any blue light filtering to be applied, this is because natural blue light has so many benefits, therefore ensuring your not filtering out natural blue light is very important. Using prescription or reading blue light glasses means you will filter good natural light if you wear them all the time. Using fitover blue light glasses over your existing reading or prescription glasses provides you the blue light protection when you need it, and when your not looking at screens or under artificial light you don’t have them on so you can get as much natural light as possible + they are much more affordable!
Myth#5: Wearing Tinted Blue Light Blocking Glasses Can Be Dangerous Because of the Colour Change
Night-time blue light blocking glasses that block 100% of blue light have a slight orange or red tint to them.
The colour change due to these glasses can be harmful only in the following cases:
- Wearing amber or red-tinted glasses while driving at night:
The red/orange tint on these glasses may make it difficult to see pedestrians who are dressed in orange or red while driving at night. So if you want to block blue light while driving at night, we recommend you buy clear blue light computer glasses, which filter 50% of the blue light coming from headlights and streetlamps and reduce glare.
- Wearing night-time tinted glasses if you are a designer
Wearing tinted glasses may also be a hitch if you are a designer or creative professional because of the slight colour change. In this case, we also recommend that you buy clear lenses day time computer glasses so the colour perception isn't changed but you still get blue light protection.
Aside from these 2 concerns, most people get used to the colour change and have not reported it to be a significant problem. Only reports we seem to get is how amazing they now sleep and how much energy during the day they now have!
Which Colour Blue Light Blocking Glasses Should I Use to Prevent Damage to My Eyes?
When buying the right pair of blue light blocking glasses that won’t damage your eyes choosing the right lens is the most crucial factor, which people, unfortunately, get wrong. Use the wrong colour, and you won’t be able to reap the benefits of blue light filtering glasses as you should. There are three options to choose from
These glasses need to filter 50% of blue light across the entire spectrum and are designed to use during the daytime. This means that your eyes receive protection from the peak wavelength of blue light that is 455nm which is the primary wavelength emitted by screens and light. This is the wavelength that carries the highest amount of energy that damages our eyes and causes eye stain and headaches. Be careful as many clear lens blue light glasses only filter blue light up to 430nm and none at 455nm, so do your research before investing!
These glasses block 100% of blue light and 43% of green light, also across the entire spectrum. Amber/orange lenses are best for use after sundown when you want zero exposure to blue light to improve sleep quality and boost melatonin levels. These are a great entry level set of 100% blue light glasses for night-time.
These glasses block 100% of blue light and 100% of green light up to 550nm. These block out all wavelengths of light proven to suppress our sleep hormone melatonin and send day time signals to the brain. These are the Rolls Royce of blue and green light blocking glasses and they are most effective in the hours leading up to bed-time. If your after the most optimal blue blocking glasses these are the glasses for you.
Although wearing the wrong blue light blocking glasses won’t hurt your eyes, you must pick the right pair of lenses depending on your lifestyle and needs, to reap the benefits.
Learn more about the different kinds of lenses and their technology here.
Blue light itself is not harmful- as long as it’s coming from natural sources. The excessive blue light that we receive from screens, devices, and LED lighting has been scientifically proven to cause eye-strain, mental fatigue, disrupt sleep cycle and cause cardiovascular problems.
Blue light blocking glasses block or filter the blue light from screens, reduce glare and reduce potential damage to your retina.
Some myths about blue light blocking glasses include that they are not natural, that they can damage your eyes or make you dependent on them. However, these are misconceptions as no scientific link has been found to support these claims.
Gary Heiting, O. (2017). Blue light: It's both bad and good for you. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/: https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm
preventblindness.org. (n.d.). Digital Devices and Your Eyes. Retrieved from https://preventblindness.org/: https://preventblindness.org/blue-light-and-your-eyes/
Rauch, K. (2018). Night Driving Glasses May Hurt, Not Help. Retrieved from American Academy of Ophthalmology: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/night-driving-glasses-may-hurt-not-help
Watson, K. (2018). Everything You Need to Know About Snow Blindness. Retrieved from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/snow-blindness#:~:text=Snow%20blindness%2C%20also%20called%20arc,blindness%20symptoms%20can%20be%20disorienting.