Blue Light Glasses: What You Should Know

Screens have become important and necessary parts of life. What’s more, in recent years they’ve evolved to be an extension of our hands. All the information, entertainment, and work we could possibly need is at our fingertips.

That said, it’s no wonder screen time is so high — about 12 hours per day, pre-pandemic — and continuing to increase over the past year, thanks to COVID-19. Screen time has jumped an estimated 60 percent in leisure activities, such as watching TV, playing video games, and browsing social media, and 14 percent in work-related devices.

All this screen time can take a toll on your eyes. But what can be done to help? Enter: blue light glasses.

What is blue light?

First of all, you may be wondering what blue light even is. On the visible light spectrum lies red, orange, yellow, green, and blue light rays. Each color has a wavelength and a corresponding amount of energy. On the red end of the visible light spectrum, the rays have longer wavelengths and less energy. On the blue end, the wavelengths are shorter and, therefore, have more energy.

Blue light is everywhere, with the main source being the sun. We all need some exposure to the sun to get vitamin D and to maintain our physical and mental well-being, though too much time in the sun can be detrimental. A similar concept can be applied to screens, the next leading source of blue light.

With screens becoming a staple in everyday life, it’s nearly impossible to avoid them completely. Like exposure to the sun, screen exposure should be in moderation. However, doctors are becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of time people spend in front of screens and how the blue light they emit can affect us in the long term.

Complications of blue light

While some exposure to blue light is okay, too much of it can be cause for concern. The blue light emitted from screens can contribute to eye strain, which can lead to blurry vision, headaches, tired, red, or burning eyes, and eye twitching. It may also be linked to an increased risk of macular degeneration. 

Blue light glasses

Blue light glasses are a way to adapt to and coexist with the many screens we encounter on a daily basis. They’re designed to reduce the amount of blue light coming from your screens into your eyes. Without special lenses, our eyes are not very good at blocking this kind of light, allowing virtually all visible blue light to pass through the cornea and reach the retina. 

Some studies suggest that people who wear blue light blocking glasses experience less eye strain and improved vision when looking at screens. You do not need a prescription for these and they can be found in many department stores or online.

If you’re experiencing eye strain, now is a good time to come in for an eye exam at Nicholas Rutkowski, O.D., and Associates. While you’re here, discuss your screen time with Dr. Rutkowski to see if you may benefit from blue light glasses. Contact our Frankfort or Bourbonnais, Illinois office today to schedule an appointment.

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