Can Blue Light Glasses Reduce Eyestrain?

Blue light glasses are marketed as the brilliant solution to the eyestrain and sleep disruption caused by devices such as computers, TVs and smartphones. But do these glasses actually solve the problem?

To answer that question, we first need to figure out what the problem is. What is blue light, and what kind of issues does it really cause?

Blue light is not new. The sun emits blue light, as do LED light bulbs. But in recent years, we have been exposed to more blue light than ever before.

Does blue light cause eyestrain?

The simple answer is: it might, but we are not sure. We do not have enough research about the long-term impacts of blue light exposure over a lifetime, because LED devices are too new.

There is no doubt that staring at screens for too long can cause eye strain. But this might be due to the glare and contrast, and the way your eyes are constantly moving when looking at a screen.

What about sleep?

As the sun sets, the sky usually refracts more red and orange light. We have evolved to recognise this as time to wind down and get ready for sleep.

So when we flood our eyesight with blue light, especially just before bedtime, there is a risk it could confuse our natural sleep system.

So, do blue light glasses work?

Blue light blocking glasses have coatings that filter out the blue light.

There are numbers of different types of lenses available, from lenses that claim to block up to 50% of blue light, up to those that claim to block 100% of blue light.

But blocking all blue light during the day could have other negative effects.

During the day, blue light can be a good thing. It is shown to help you feel more alert (which could explain the sleep issues) and also boosts your mood.

In summary

Staring at a screen for too long can cause eye strain. The blue light itself is unlikely to cause eyestrain, but may disrupt your sleep to some extent.

To reduce the effects of blue light, you can wear blue light blocking glasses, but you are better off giving yourself more breaks from screens.