Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increased usage of computers and screens as many of us started working from home or taking classes virtually. To reduce the potential harm that can be caused by prolonged screen exposure, many have resorted to using blue light-blocking glasses, commonly referred to as blue light glasses. But how effective are these glasses?
The visible light produced by our devices includes a range of different lights like green, red, blue, and others. Compared to the other types of visible light, blue light has a shorter wavelength and higher frequency. Blue light glasses filter out the “blue light” coming from our screens before it reaches our eyes. Numerous eyewear manufacturers claim that blue light is harmful to our eyes and promote blue light glasses as an effective solution for reducing eye and vision-related issues that result from prolonged computer use, collectively classified under Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Some symptoms include eye strain, eye fatigue, burning sensations, irritation, redness, blurred vision, and dry eyes, among others (1). Contrary to popular belief, the blue light coming from our screens is harmless to our eyes. Research has found that even under prolonged screen usage, blue light from our screens doesn’t damage the eyes (2).
For a more effective way to reduce digital eye strain, you can adopt a few simple practices such as lowering your screen's brightness, blinking regularly to avoid dry eyes and following the 20-20-20 rule. According to the rule, you should take a break every 20 minutes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds when using screens for a prolonged period (3). However, it should be noted that although blue light is non-threatening to our eyes, blue light glasses are also harmless if you choose to wear them.
- Blehm, C., Vishnu, S., Khattak, A., Mitra, S., & Yee, R. W. (2005). Computer Vision Syndrome: A Review. Survey of Ophthalmology, 50(3), 253–262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.survophthal.2005.02.008
- O’Hagan, J. B., Khazova, M., & Price, L. L. A. (2016). Low-energy light bulbs, computers, tablets and the blue light hazard. Eye, 30(2), 230–233. https://doi.org/10.1038/eye.2015.261
- How to Use the 20-20-20 Rule to Reduce Eye Strain. (n.d.). NVISION Eye Centers. https://www.nvisioncenters.com/education/20-20-20-rule/