Blue light blocking glasses are said to help prevent eye strain and disruption of sleep cycles. But do they really work and which are the best for teachers?
What is blue light?
Let’s start off with what blue light isn’t. It isn’t the harbinger of death for your eyes. It isn’t something radically new. It isn’t just relegated to electronic devices.
In fact, blue light is everywhere around us. Even though many people associate blue light with computer and smartphone screens, these actually account for an extremely small fraction of our exposure.
What’s the biggest culprit? It’s the sun.
The sun produces a wide range of both visible and invisible light. On the visible spectrum, we have light ranging from red at the lower end to blue at the higher end. This is the reason why our sky is blue during the daytime.
Blue light isn’t actually all bad. We depend on blue-turquoise light to help regulate our mood during the daytime and suppress melatonin production regulating our circadian rhythm. This blue-turquoise light helps us to stay awake and alert during the daytime and can even help us to focus better.
What has many experts concerned, however, is the increase in our current level of exposure to blue light beyond natural levels. This increase has come from electronic devices, LED lights, and other non-natural sources.
The issue is that our eyes are incapable of filtering blue light from reaching the innermost sensitive parts of our eyes. A problem that increasingly has eye experts concerned due to the potential increased risk of things like macular degeneration as well as the disruption of our natural sleep cycles.
In comes blue light glasses.
Blue light blocking glasses are eyeglasses with a special set of lenses designed to block out blue light before it reaches our eyes. They work by filtering out high energy visible (HEV) light. These glasses come in a wide variety of styles and designs and have become quite popular in recent years.
But, do they work?
Do blue light blocking glasses work?
According to Dr. Rahul Khurana, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the primary benefit in wearing blue light glasses comes in helping to preserve natural sleep cycles.
It is recommended to completely avoid blue light exposure three to four hours before bedtime. This is because the excess blue light emitted from the screens of devices like laptops tricks the brain into believing that it is still daylight.
Prying ourselves away from our beloved devices, however, can be quite a challenge. Especially for online teachers who may work later into the evening. This is where blue light blocking glasses can help. They block the blue light from screens allowing your brain to naturally produce melatonin helping you get to sleep.
Where they don’t help, according to Khurana, is preventing eye strain. Many people assume that eye strain from looking at devices is a result of the blue light emitted from these devices. However, this is in fact due to focusing on a close object for an extended period of time and blinking less. For this, it is recommended to take periodic breaks and occasionally focus your eyes on objects further away.
What are the best blue light blocking glasses?
These may not be the most stylish of blue light blocking glasses, however, these are the exact glasses that researchers at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center use in the lab according to Cathy Goldstein, an assistant professor. Because these have been consistently used in various studies they have a proven track record.
The Uvex Skyper Blue Light Blocking glasses have been shown to prevent the suppression of melatonin which can help to improve sleep over time as your body adjusts to more natural sleep patterns.
- Because these have been used in clinical testing they have been proven to work.
- They are inexpensive when compared to blue light blocking glasses from brand name eyeglass makers.
- The lenses can be easily replaced allowing you to maintain the same pair of glasses over time as opposed to buying new ones.
- These aren’t the most stylish of blue light blocking glasses and resemble safety glasses.
- Some users have reported the glasses to be uncomfortable around the earpieces when used for prolonged periods.
- Many of the complaints users had focused on how dark the lenses were. These may not be the best glasses to use in dark environments.
If you need reading glasses as well as blue light blocking glasses PROSPEK has you covered. These are a more stylish option than the Uvex glasses and come with the option of lenses ranging between +0.00 to +3.00 magnification.
These blue light blocking glasses also come in different colors allowing for more customization compared to the Uvex brand blue light blocking glasses.
- Offers a range of magnification options for people who need reading glasses and blue light blocking lenses.
- The lenses are lighter compared to yellow tinted lenses making them easier to use in dark environments.
- Because these are more natural looking they will be easier to use for online teachers in the classroom.
- Some users have complained that the frames felt cheap. These may not be the best option for people rough on glasses.
- A number of users complained they had issues with the lenses popping out after a few weeks of use.
- A few users complained the size of the frames was rather large causing them to have issues with the glasses sliding on their nose.
These are the only FDA approved blue light blocking glasses on our list. This means they have been tested and certified to do exactly what they are supposed to. They have been rated to not only block out visible blue light but also ultraviolet light making them good for use both during the day outside and at night to help sleep.
The frames are sporty and lightweight allowing them to be used anywhere without having a clinical or laboratory feel.
- Despite having a dark amber tint they can easily be used in lower light areas without having too dark of a feel.
- They block out both ultraviolet and high energy visible light as opposed to many blue light blocking glasses which only block a small spectrum of HEV light.
- Many users have commented on the excellent customer service when they had issues.
- Some users with larger faces reported the glasses did not fit them well and gaps allowed light to seep in under the lenses.
- A number of users complained of the frames being flimsy around the hinge causing them to break easily. These may not be the best option if you are rough on glasses.
- Some users have complained that the curvature of the lens caused distortions when looking at screens.
If you normally wear prescription glasses and would like to keep wearing them while at the same time using blue light blocking glasses Swanwick has you covered. These fit over your normal prescription glasses so that you can still see clearly even when you are wearing them.
The frames are lightweight and made from acetate so they can more easily be molded around your glasses and to your face. This also helps to prevent tiny gaps that can cause light to come in underneath the lenses.
- Fits over glasses allowing you to wear both your necessary prescription lenses as well as blue light blocking glasses.
- The acetate frames make it easier to mold them to your face and are more environmentally friendly than other types of plastics.
- The lenses are anti-reflective and anti-glare.
- A few users have complained that the combined weight of the blue light blocking glasses and their prescription lenses were a bit heavy.
- Some users with previous experience using blue light blocking glasses felt these did not completely block out the high energy visible light like other pairs of glasses they had used.
- A number of users have complained that the hinge where the earpiece attaches to the lenses broke after a few months of use.
What’s our pick?
For an optimal price to performance ratio, we recommend the PROSPEK blue light blocking glasses. These provide the most options as far as colors and styles and, unlike some other blue light blocking glasses, are not so heavily tinted that they make it hard to see in darker environments. They are mid-range in terms of pricing and provide a good balance between style, performance, and price. Also, because they offer magnified lenses for users who need reading glasses they have a distinct advantage over other blue light blocking glasses on this list.