While blue light glasses can be beneficial to help reduce eye strain and other symptoms of screen overuse, they’re not a necessary purchase. The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests different approaches, such as taking regular rest breaks from screens and avoiding them an hour or two before sleep to boost melatonin production.
How Blue Light Blocking Glasses Work
Blue light is a wavelength on the visible spectrum with the highest energy, making it more likely to damage the retina than other light colors. Blue-light-blocking glasses filter out these wavelengths, allowing only different wavelengths — like green and yellow — to pass through.
Some frames are designed to block a higher percentage of blue light than others. They may have an orange or yellow tint to absorb more of it, but they also come in transparent versions.
Blue-light-blocking glasses help reduce eyestrain, dry eye, and irritated skin caused by too much screen time, helping you feel more comfortable throughout the day. They can even reduce your chances of migraines by blocking the blue light that triggers them.
These glasses can be worn during the day to prevent headaches and fatigue or at night before bedtime to promote better sleep by preserving your natural circadian rhythms and allowing you to drift off.
While research into the effectiveness of these glasses is limited, many people find them helpful for reducing symptoms of digital eye strain. However, they are not a substitute for other steps you can take to protect your eyes and health, including taking regular 10-minute breaks from screens every hour, using eye drops, and keeping room lighting consistent when using a device.
Why You Need Blue Light Blocking Glasses
The blue light from screens on phones, computers, tablets, and TVs and interior lighting with LEDs can cause eye strain, dry eyes, red eyes, headaches, and irritated vision. The solution is to filter out this harmful light. Blue light blocking glasses are designed to do this. They are available without a prescription, or you can add them to your regular glasses or contacts.
There is no evidence that blue light-blocking glasses damage your eyes or health. Still, they may relieve some of the symptoms associated with screen time, such as glare, dry eyes, itchy or watery eyes, blurred vision, or the feeling of having a “heavy” or “tight” head.
There are also ways to prevent these symptoms without using special glasses, including taking frequent breaks from the screen, following the 20-20-20 rule of looking at something at least 20 feet away every 20 minutes, and getting enough sleep to ensure a good night’s rest.
Another way to avoid these issues is to choose a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses that are stylish and practical, like this pair from Felix Gray, which are available in two sizes (small for ages 4 to 8 or large for ages 9 to 13) and four colors.
This frame is a good choice for teens and adults because it is lightweight and comfortable to wear all day, even while doing active sports or working in an office. It also comes with a removable, anti-reflective lens treatment to help reduce glare and improve visibility.
How to Find the Best Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Whether you’re looking for blue light glasses for work or to block out the screen at night, there are many options, from cheap, basic frames to high-end prescription designer specs. It’s important to remember a few key things to find the right pair for your needs.
For example, if you want blue light-blocking glasses you can wear at home while watching TV or on the couch, it’s better to use a clear lens than a tinted one, as the latter can reduce visibility and make objects look darker.
In addition, if you’re planning to wear your glasses during the day, consider frames with anti-reflective coatings, which can reduce reflections and keep your eyes more comfortable by filtering out the glare from screens.
Blue light filter glasses can be a good investment for people who suffer from migraines, hypersensitivity to light, or other symptoms associated with extended screen time. They can help prevent eye strain and improve melatonin production for a healthy sleep cycle.
However, for most people, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the claims made by companies that these glasses will improve subjective comfort while viewing screens and alleviate headaches. If you want to try them, start by limiting your screen use to four hours or less before bed and experimenting with different styles to see which fit and feel the best.
What to Look For in Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Blue light is a part of the visible spectrum, including all the colors you can see—from red to violet. It’s a high-energy wavelength that helps you stay alert during the day, but exposure to too much of it in the evening can disrupt your sleep cycle. That’s why many people use blue light-blocking glasses, which filter out this wavelength before it reaches your eye and prevent its effects on your circadian rhythm.
When choosing a pair of blue light-blocking glasses, look for a label that says what percentage of blue light the lenses block. You can also conduct a simple test to check your glasses’ effectiveness at blocking blue light.
Hold a piece of paper next to the lens and try to make out a flashing police car light. If the light appears black, your glasses effectively block blue light. However, if the light still appears clear, they don’t provide adequate protection.
When shopping for blue light-blocking glasses, choose stylish and fit frames. Good Housekeeping editors tested several blue light-blocking glasses for this guide, wearing them in front of screens and after-hours Netflix binges throughout work days.
In addition, we asked a panel of eye care experts to weigh in on whether or not they’ve seen patients experience fewer symptoms of digital eye strain from wearing these lenses.