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Do Blue Light Glasses Reduce Digital Eye Strain?

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Young women wearing blue light glasses while using her phone in living room

As our dependency on technology increases, so too does the fatigue caused by digital eye strain. Many individuals use digital screens for work, entertainment, and other personal reasons — everyone is susceptible to developing digital eye strain if their lives involve the use of technology.

At Family Focus Eyecare, we can help you combat digital eye strain with blue light blocking glasses. Book an appointment today to receive a comprehensive eye exam so one of our eye doctors can help you get the right blue light glasses for your visual needs.

What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, is a condition in which the eyes become fatigued and worn out through excessive time looking at digital screens or devices. Digital eye strain can be exacerbated by other eye conditions like myopia and hyperopia, meaning that those who are dealing with refraction-related problems will be affected by digital eye strain to a greater extent than normal.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Some common symptoms of digital eye strain are:

  • Eyestrain.
  • Headaches.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Neck and shoulder pain.
  • Light sensitivity

Why Do I Have Digital Eye Strain?

Generally, the symptoms of digital eye strain occur due to the visual demands of screens exceeding the visual ability of an individual. Our eyes feel fatigued while viewing screens because they make our eyes work harder to sharply and precisely focus on what we are seeing. The letters and symbols on digital screens are not as well defined and easy to focus on compared to print, the level of contrast between symbols and the background of screens is reduced, and the presence of glare from external light can make viewing screens a straining experience.

Viewing angles, posture, ambient lighting, and distance away from the screen can all be factors that cause digital eye strain. Since the requirements for viewing a digital screen differ from printed media, eye focusing and eye movement perform differently and can increase the demand for the visual ability of one’s eyes.

Dealing with Digital Eye Strain

Some things you can pay attention to that can help reduce digital eye strain are:

  • The location of your computer screen 
  • The location of the reference materials you use while at the computer
  • Ambient lighting
  • Anti-glare screens
  • Seating position
  • Taking more rest breaks
  • Blinking more often

What is Blue Light?

Blue light is the shortest wavelength on the light spectrum that our eyes can see. Shorter ultraviolet rays exist as well, but they are undetectable to our eyes. 

Since there is an inverse relationship between the wavelength of light rays and the amount of energy they contain, blue light can be considered the visible wavelength of light that contains the most energy. One-third of all visible light in our world is considered to be HEV or “blue” light.

Does Blue Light Cause Digital Eye Strain?

Our eyes are fundamentally not structured to block out blue light effectively. Blue light helps adjust our circadian rhythm; if we are outside and absorbing lots of blue light, our body takes that as a sign to stay awake because it is daytime. Blue light becomes a hindrance once digital screens are involved.

Using digital screens late at night or for extended periods of time can throw off our natural circadian rhythm and cause damaging effects on our sleep schedules. Blue light can also be linked to digital eye strain by the fact that loosely organized blue light in our visual field is hard to focus on, causing our eyes to work harder to view screens that produce blue light.  

Young man wearing blue light glasses while gaming on computer

How Do Blue Light Glasses Reduce Digital Eye Strain?

Blue light blocking glasses use a special coating to help block blue light (HEV) from traveling through your cornea. They are available with prescription lenses that are specifically designed for the sitting area where you use your digital devices; the prescription of these glasses will take into account the distance that you will be viewing your screens at.

Lenses that block blue light with wavelengths less than 450 nm increase the contrast heavily while looking through them. Due to this, blue light glasses with yellow-tinted lenses may offer an increased level of comfort while viewing screens for extended periods of time. 

Even if you don’t wear glasses regularly, or do not need a prescription, you still might benefit from blue light glasses. At Family Focus Eyecare, we can customize a pair of blue light glasses according to your workstation setup — where you sit in relation to your screen will help us determine the power of magnification you will need to find relief from digital eye strain.

Book an appointment today with one of our eye doctors to receive a comprehensive eye exam; your doctor will walk you through the process of picking blue light blocking glasses that will work for your needs.

Written by Dr. Joseph Rich

Dr. Joseph D. Rich moved to Columbia shortly after completing his doctorate at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. Growing up and completing his undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, and business management at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO, Dr. Rich considers himself a full-fledged Mizzou fan and actively enjoys going to as many games as possible.
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