People are finally coming around to the idea that wearing sunglasses and sunscreen are easy ways to protect yourself, long-term, from UVA and UVB exposure, but is there anything to the hype around blue light blocking glasses, which proponents claim can prevent us from frying our eyeballs with all that constant Netflix binging? Was grandma right all along about sitting too close to the TV?
The answer is, maybe.
A lot of the science about what blue light blocking glasses can or can’t do is still under research, so while some may argue that they’re the next health wonder, and that they might even prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, it’s just too soon to tell.
We all spend too many hours per day staring at screens, with a wide gamut of eye-related aches and pains to show for it, from eyestrain and headaches at the office, to dry, burning eyes during leisure hours at home while playing games. Even a little light reading before bed on a tablet or smartphone seems to cause problems, disrupting your sleep schedule and decreasing melatonin production.
What Doctors Say— It’s actually your habits that are hurting your eyes, not necessarily the light from your device screens. Studies show that while looking at a screen, people blink half as often as they do during their “offline” time, so whether you’re playing competitive games that require keeping your eyes peeled for danger, or just pouring over spreadsheets, you’re neglecting eye-protecting habits. Using eye drops and taking regular breaks are the best way to fight this strain. Wearing contacts may exacerbate this problem, so swapping them out for frames, regardless of whether they advertise protection from light damage, is an easy way to help rest and rehydrate.
Self reporting surveys from people wearing blue light blocking glasses report fewer headaches, and any kind of lighting adjustment seems to prevent migraines, so adjusting monitor contrast or using your phone’s night mode settings are proactive things to do to cut down on all that light pollution.
These positive results could just be a placebo effect, but it could also be that wearing blue light blocking glasses serves as a physical reminder to blink more (like the old trick of tying a string around your finger), or to pay more attention to the signs of impending headaches or strain. Blue light blocking is available with most prescription lenses now, so there’s no need for glasses wearers to have to forego their favorite frames for an additional set with a special blue light blocking purpose. Clear lens options integrate seamlessly into your usual frame styles.
Studies Show– There are some verifiable benefits to blue light blocking glasses, and it’s to your sleep schedule. While the jury may be out about the plethora of other health benefits some wearers claim, there is more than enough evidence that blue light makes it harder to sleep, so if your sleep schedule is in the trash, your first step has to be cutting out screen time before bed. If that’s a harder habit to break, trying out a pair of blue light glasses is an easy, affordable, drug-free option worth trying.
Ultimately– We should all spend less time staring at screens, remember to take more breaks, alter our office lighting and screen contrasts when possible, use eye drops, and remember to blink. As someone who experiences light sensitivity with migraines, I can say that yellow tinted glasses and sunglasses do make a huge difference for me, and while I still own the Gunnars I bought to survive long nights dungeon crawling in college, I’m excited about their new, cuter design styles too, and a few more of my favorites are below.
What You Should Know
- Choose between RX and fashion lenses
- Non-RX currently $79.99, RX $329.99
- A fashion-forward option from one of the first makers of gaming glasses
Gunnar offers a couple dozen fashion or prescription-capable frames, with plenty of variety of styles. These emerald green frames are available with single vision or progressive prescription, as well as a computer-focused progressive option that’s best for close-up work, ideal for people with a digitally focused career, like programmers or web content creators, when both work and play is spent staring at screens.
“Love these, they are stylish, comfortable and flattering on my face. I like that they don’t look like ‘gamer’ glasses and function well for use at my work desk.”
What You Should Know
- Zenni offers frames for all ages
- Available in RX or fashion lenses
- Blokz blue light protection added-on is around $17
Between homework and play, kids can spend hours every day staring at screens. Zenni Optical offers prescription or fashion lenses in wide range of frame options, including a large selection for adults, kids, teens, and preteens. With frames starting at just $9.95, kids without a vision prescription can get blue light-blocking fashion lenses in stylish frames for less than $40.
“My 5 year old son went through 2 pairs of glasses within 3 weeks before we discovered zenni. These frames are a very good fit for him, and he absolutely loves the look of them. I love them because they are so durable and they look great on him too. He wears them every day without a fuss.”