Updated: 5 days ago
Whether we are working at our computers or kicking back and watching a movie, we spend much of our lives looking at screens, so understanding how blue light can affect us is crucial.
Between working from home, checking your phone multiple times a day, and watching TV or YouTube, your screen time reports have very likely increased over the past several months. And with it, your exposure to blue light has likely increased as well.
So what’s the problem with blue light? For starters, it contributes to eye strain and can increase the risk of macular degeneration, as well as other issues with your vision. It can also affect your sleep by disrupting your circadian rhythm. And even though we’re all exposed to the blue light that comes from the sun, the blue wavelengths in sunlight, which actually helps our attention span and improves our mood during the day, the exposure to blue light outside of daylight hours is what impacts us in negative ways.
Do Blue Light Glasses Work?
The raising awareness around the negative impacts of blue light has resulted in the rise of blue light glasses. Blue light blocking glasses have special lenses that are intended to block or filter out blue light given off from screens, which in theory would mitigate any potential ill effects. And yes, blue light glasses can be useful, but experts stress that they aren’t some sort of magical cure that will fix all your eye troubles.
For example, some eye problems are independent of blue light. Many folks develop eye problems like dry eye and eye strain when they’re staring at a screen because they don’t blink enough, notes Sunir J. Garg, M.D., a professor of ophthalmology at the Retina Service of Wills Eye Hospital. “Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look into the distance,” he recommends. “That will lubricate your eyes more and help with symptoms.”
As for problems associated with blue light, Garg does believe that blue light glasses may be able to help you get a better night’s sleep. He mentions that “for some folks, exposing themselves to intense blue light at nighttime can screw up their internal clock” and that this “can mess up certain people’s sleep-wake cycles.” He ultimately concludes that “there may be some advantage to people using blue light glasses at night if they’re having trouble sleeping.”
However, despite the rise in popularity of blue light glasses, such as brands like Anrri, there is still not much research that supports the use of blue light glasses according to Phillip Yuhas, O.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Optometry at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. He does note, however, that “some patients do find that some blue light blocking glasses improve subjective comfort while viewing a screen.”
The moral of the story? Ultimately, investing in a pair of blue light glasses probably couldn’t hurt. They can be helpful for falling (and staying) asleep, and may neutralize the effects of blue light on your sleep cycle. But it’s important to be aware that it’s not a cure-all, so temper your expectations and be sure to speak with your doctor about any eye issues that you may be experiencing.
And the best way to decrease your exposure to blue light is to avoid it as much as you can - both the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommend reducing the amount of time you spend on your devices in the evening, avoiding bright screens up to 3 hours before you go to sleep, and decreasing your screen’s brightness / setting them to night mode so you have more exposure to warm colors before bed.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses: Function vs. Fashion
At this point, you might be thinking to yourself - why the heck is a fashion brand talking about blue light glasses? Well now you’ll have your answer. Surprisingly, blue light blocking glasses are becoming more than just a way to help you fall asleep and improve your sleep-wake cycle - they are now a fashion statement, with various brands coming out with their own unique styles. Here are some places to look if you’re interested in investing in a pair:
Best Range Glasses: Warby Parker
Best Retro Glasses: Ray-Ban Standard New Wayfarer Blue Light Blocking 55mm Sunglasses
Best Classic Glasses: Tom Ford Blue-Block Square Glasses
Best Clear Glasses: Fifth & Ninth Chandler 46mm Blue Light Filtering Glasses
Best Funky Glasses: The Book Club Blue Light Harlot’s Bed Reading Glasses
Best Budget Glasses: Zenni
Best Durable Glasses: EyeBuyDirect
Best Aviator Glasses: Zenottic Blue Light Blocking Aviator Glasses
In need of some advice as you shop for your blue light glasses? You can more or less use the same rules as when you’re shopping for prescription glasses. Of course, doing so online can be tricky because you’re not able to try them on to see whether it’s a comfortable fit and it complements your facial structure. It may be helpful to thus do some work up front - you may notice that some higher-end, non-prescription glasses, like sunglasses, will have three numbers etched into the arms. These are millimeter measurements that correspond with the lens width, bridge width, and arm length, respectively.
You can eliminate some of the guessing by using a pair of glasses that already fit well to figure out your size - either look at these numbers or measure the frames yourself. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what will fit you best, and you can stick to glasses that are a near match to these measurements - especially the bridge width and arm length - as you shop.
The Bottom line
Although there is controversy surrounding blue light blocking glasses, they have seen a drastic increase in popularity. When making a decision to add eyewear to your toolkit of accessories, it is essential to be educated on the key benefits and styling factors.
And at Kahana, we are committed to staying at the forefront of fashion trends as they emerge. Our goal is to educate and guide, as well as to share our passion for fashion and how it impacts your lifestyle.
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