Sasha Leherer

Science behind blue light glasses

Sitting at her desk and staring at a screen for over eight hours each day, freshman Sophia Yang starts to feel the strain of the blue light her computer is emitting. Like many other students, Yang has now switched to using blue light glasses to reduce the potential harm that comes with excessive screen usage and alleviate the strain on her eyes. 

“I heard from others that they’re supposed to help with eye strain, fatigue and sleeping better after using screens,” Yang said. “I’m not totally sure because I think the changes might be very subtle, so I might not have noticed if they had an effect.”

Yang said the use of blue light glasses has grown as an inadvertent result of quarantine and online schooling which requires a lot of screen time.

Optometrist Lisa Berkowitz, though, said the narrative surrounding blue light glasses can be misleading and sometimes false.

“There is evidence that the blue light reduction improves sleep patterns,” Berkowitz said. “Currently, there is no clear evidence that blue light from screens causes retina damage. Sometimes this eye-harm claim has been misleading consumers and some other countries have tried to limit the false claims.”

Berkowitz said patients may experience unexpected and indirect benefits from wearing blue light glasses, however. 

“The use of blue-blockers is beneficial as it does reduce dry eye symptoms, though this is also true for other types of eyeglass lenses,” Berkowitz said. “I have had a patient who really liked her blue-blockers, however, there was no blue blocker on the lens. It is expected she appreciated the benefits of wearing a protective lens that reduced dry eye, even without the blue-blocker.” 

Berkowitz said eyeglass lenses have an association with reduced dry eyes and screen usage. 

“Most eyeglass lenses offer dry eye benefits as they reduce the evaporation of tears, which contributes to dry eyes,” Berkowitz said. “Dry irritated eyes are associated with computer or phone use since a decreased blink frequency is very common when viewing screens.”

Berkowitz said blue light glasses also aid in lessening light absorption. 

“Eyeglass lenses reduce the overall amount of light that reaches the eye,” Berkowitz said. “The light reduction can limit the eye strain associated with screens. When eyes are dry, they can be more sensitive to light.”

Sophomore Cayden Gu said he started wearing blue light glasses as a result of online school and said his optometrist recommended he wear them as a precautionary step to avoid eye problems. 

“I notice that after I look at a screen for a long time without the glasses and put them on, it makes my eyes less strained,” Gu said. “I don’t know if it’s scientifically based, but from my experiences, I feel like they help me.”

Senior Tommy Hall said he has noticed the benefits of blue light glasses, particularly in regards to his sleep.

“I think they improve tiredness which is good because if I’m on my computer at 11 without them, I won’t feel tired at all, but if I do wear them, then my body is able to tell me it’s time to go to bed,” Hall said. “I would definitely recommend blue light glasses.”