Updated: Jul 7
Firstly let me say that we are not writing this post to sound like we are the experts or the founders of knowledge in the optical field, we are just writing from observation and experience dealing with blue light blocking lenses and the people that need them in our region. We have also gathered research data from our suppliers.
WHAT IS BLUE LIGHT?
Blue light is found in sunlight and is necessary for keeping us energized and awake, while also helping to regulate our circadian rhythm. Blue light on the visible light spectrum is shorter in wavelength (between 380-500 nanometers) and has the highest energy of all visible light (about 3.1 electron volts per photon). But that’s not the type of blue light we’re talking about. The issue arises when blue light comes from artificial sources in large, unwanted quantities.
Both UV light and blue light can be harmful depending on how much exposure one has to them; and the damage the cause accrues over time. You may have noticed that most sunglasses have a UV rating, which describes their ability to block UVA and UVB rays, and also works to limit the negative impact of blue light. This isn’t new science; we’ve known about the problems of blue light for decades, and we’ve been working to mitigate the effects.
Do blue light glasses really work?
HOW DO BLUE BLOCK LENSES WORK?
One might wonder if we even need a new light-filtering pair of lenses on the market — after all, many of us own a pair of sunglasses, and they do an extremely effective job of protecting our eyes already. Sunglasses that block 100% of UV light are essential to protecting the parts of the eye that could lead to cataracts, snow blindness, pinguecula (non-cancerous bumps on the eyeball), and pterygium (also known as Surfer’s Eye). All of these things are prevented through the constant use of UV sunglasses, but you can’t exactly go around wearing sunglasses at work and home all day.
More importantly, there are key differences between the two when it comes to design and functionality. Most neutral sunglasses will filter all light equally rather than blue light specifically by using an antireflective coating. By contrast, blue light glasses use special materials in the lens, which absorbs most of the blue light that would otherwise pass through almost entirely unimpeded to your retina. In doing so, blue light lenses provide the benefit of filtering the damaging spectrum you’re actually exposed to at home and at work, but without dimming the rest of the world around you.
BLUE LIGHT GLASSES: EFFECTIVE SOLUTION OR TOTAL GIMMICK?
We cannot answer that question with a straight answer.
First lets discuss the wording - blue block lenses. the wording is deceptive because literally it sounds like glasses that block all blue light and give the world warmer tones. Blue filter lenses come in all types of brands and naming. Some of the words used are Blue-cut, blue-block, blu-bloc, blu-block, blue guard, blue select, blue shield and total blue. These are intended primarily for filtering a specific wavelength of high energy violet (HEV) light that is harmful. Some do the whole job while others basically look like they are.
First let us break down the different products that fall into the 'blue light lenses' category.
'Blue Block' Antiglare Coating:
Anti-glare coatings that advertise that they block bluelight can be usually easily identified by a bluish or purplish hue. They only block up to a maximum of 30% of harmful blue rays.* Blue light is not harmful to humans, but prolonged exposure to sources of blue light that emit invisible light in the blue spectrum are harmful. Digital devices LED Screens, lights and fluorescent lighting are among the most common sources. Blue Light coatings only appear
Blue Filter Lens Materials:
There are lens materials that have the capability to filter out up to 90% the harmful high energy violet light rays. These materials come in a variety of lens indexes. The lenses can have a very faint gray blue cast to them. When testing the lenses using a UV light they appear to block it entirely. Most UV lenses block that form of light very effectively but it is mostly invisible.
Which one is right for me?
Lenses that can filter the right type of blue light and will be available in every material and style combination are not available yet. But they will soon be available. Because of this sometimes you cannot get complete protection in your lenses. Here are some ways to determine which types of lenses are better.
The quick yet less effective substitute -
A blue block Anti-glare coating can be used on lens materials, colors, or multi-focal lenses that are not available with the filtering built into the material. These coatings usually have a blue or violet or in some cases a orange hue and can be more noticeable than other types of anti-glare coating. As outlined earlier, you won't be getting full protection from the light exposure received while using devices with electronic screens.
Even though there is less protection, some people find the appearance of these lenses attractive and will choose this option because of this. This type of Anti-glare coating can actually be less effective in reducing glare in bright overhead lighting and can be more prone to directing bothersome blue reflections into the eye.
The complete package -
In most other cases a lens with built-in protection can be sourced. Because these lenses are relatively new they are available in a less diverse range of colors and materials. They can also cost more because of the added feature built in. The lens you need should be able to filter blue light in the 400 - 420nm spectrum.
I just got blue-blocking lenses - so how do I know?
Make sure you ask your lens provider to prove to you that the lenses you are receiving will block this type of light and ask for a demonstration. A Demonstration usually can be performed using a laser with a blue beam. Lenses that perform as advertised will cut the transmission of the light used in the demonstration. A lens that doesn't stop this may appear to reduce the intensity of the light but not stop it completely. This is ok, but only if your optician or eye doctor has explained this to you already.
To Wrap up, While wearing proper blue filter lenses and using devices that emit Intense levels of light you should experience more comfort for longer periods than without the lenses. This does not mean you should spend long hours staring at a screen. It may still have a negative impact on your health. You should still take regular breaks and give your eyes a rest frequently.
Thanks for reading this post. Be free to leave comments and ask questions.
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