Your teenage son says his eyes have been tired, dry, and sore lately. His father says it’s because he plays video games so much. Johnny says he wants a pair of blue light glasses. His father says they’ll make him go blind, and your son looks your way. What do you do? Are blue light glasses bad for your eyes?
Blue light glasses are not bad for your eyes. However, blue light glasses may not be beneficial for your eyes. There is no conclusive evidence to support that blue light glasses are either good or bad for your eyes.
Keep reading to find out more about blue light glasses and how they can affect your eyes when wearing them, as well as when it would be a good idea to get a pair.
Will Blue Light Hurt My Eyes?
Marketers of blue light glasses contend blue light creates possible negative side effects.
- Increased eye strain
- Eye fatigue
However, there isn’t any reliable information supporting those assertions. Some marketers insist that macular damage may occur due to blue light, but their arguments are based on experiments involving cells in a lab dish and animal eyes, not human eyes.
Studies on human eyes have yet to substantiate the marketers’ claims that blue light damages human eyes. However, blue light may affect humans in another way.
How Does Blue Light Affect Me?
Most people react to bright light with difficulty falling asleep unless they are on a warm beach in Cabo with an almost finished margarita. The reason bright light affects us this way is because blue light in bright light is what restricts melatonin.
At night, the body begins to pump melatonin into our body when it gets dark, and the body responds by feeling tired and sleepy, thus starting the natural sleep cycle. During the day, light restricts melatonin production, and the body feels rested and energized.
Remember, blue light also comes from smartphones and computer screens. During the day, it isn’t a problem, but during the night, too much exposure to synthetic blue light restricts melatonin and causes sleeplessness or restless sleep. Prolonged exposure may disrupt the circadian rhythm enough to lead to a chronic condition.
Is There Any Reason to Wear Blue Light Glasses?
A study in 2017 failed to find any benefit of blue light-blocking glasses on visual performance or sleep quality. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says no credible evidence exists to support the need for blue light-blocking glasses, and they do not recommend their use to reduce eye strain and fatigue.
Evidence may be revealed in the future, establishing a direct connection between prolonged exposure to blue light and retinal damage or macular degeneration. Until then, wearing blue light filtering glasses is somewhat like walking down the street wearing a parachute.
Nevertheless, based on the evidence regarding blue light’s effect on melatonin levels, people who need to sleep during the day might benefit from blocking blue light in the sunshine with glasses before going to bed.
If Blue Light Glasses Don’t Work, What Can I Do To Help My Eyes?
The father in the story above was probably right. His son had dry, tired, and aching eyes because of how long he spent playing video games. Let’s take a look at what you can do to prevent this if blue light glasses don’t work.
Maintain the Right Distance from Screens
Prolonged use of smartphones, computer screens, and televisions can create a condition known as asthenopia or eye fatigue. It is caused by the muscles in the eyes having to constantly move the eyes and control the amount of light let in. Symptoms of asthenopia include tired, sore, achy eyes, and headaches.
The time recommended for using smartphones and computer screens follows the rule of 20/20/20. Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. That simple habit will reduce eye fatigue by allowing the eyes to relax regularly.
Use Eye Drops
If your eyes become dry while exposed to blue light, have some moisturizing eye drops handy. Be good to your eyes, and they will be good to you.
Another good practice to reduce eye strain is to sit at least five times further away from the television, computer, or smartphone screen as it is wide. Also, ensure your eyes are level with or look down at the screen.
Most people look for some quick external fix (a device or a pill) for problems in our “get-it-now” society. Blue light-blocking glasses are not a quick fix for eye strain. If you think they make you look chic, then, by all means, wear them. You won’t suffer anything more than feeling a bit sleepy. Otherwise, a change in your habits will do the most good.