As of 2019, the consumer electronics market in the United States was worth over $300 billion. Increasing growth in that market means increased screen time for adults and children alike. With phones, televisions, tablets, and game consoles becoming part of everyone’s daily routines, all are being exposed to harmful blue light.
What Makes Blue Light So Unhealthy?
Blue light is a color in the visible light spectrum that emits short wavelengths that produce high energy. It has the power to penetrate your retina and can cause eye strain, fatigue, headaches, and even cellular damage in the retina. Blue light can also disrupt your sleep if you spend large amounts of the day in front of a screen. This the because the short wavelengths emitted by blue light can affect your melatonin levels more than any other wavelength can. If you do not take the proper measures to protect your eyes, the blue light you are exposed to can have a serious negative impact on your eye health, vision, and overall physical health.
Do Blue Light Blocking Glasses Really Work?
Blue light blocking glasses are a new tool that many have used to protect their eyes from the harmful effects of screens. The real question is, do they actually work? Blue light blocking glasses have specialized lenses that can stop 50% of blue light emitted from screens from passing through. There are countless stories and articles from people sharing their personal experiences of how wearing blue light blocking glasses have made a huge difference for them physically and mentally. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has said that no one really needs special lenses for screen viewing. The FDA doesn’t regulate the lenses in the U.S. and most optometrists are fairly indifferent to them. There have been a few studies done that suggest using blue light blocking glasses could increase your melatonin levels which would in turn help with sleep.
So do blue light blocking glasses really work? For some people, it’s a resounding yes. For others, not so much. When it comes down to it, they can’t hurt, so there’s no harm in trying them for yourself.
How Can Blue Light Blocking Glasses Help My Kids?
When was the last time your child had to heal from an illness? Although the common cold is usually mild, with symptoms lasting one to two weeks, it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work. This is not the case with eye damage. Though eye damage does not come on as quickly as a common cold, the healing process if much longer and can even be impossible to come back from entirely. It’s important to instill healthy screen viewing habits in your children from the start so you don’t have to worry about lasting eye damage.
Because screen time has become much more common in children’s day to day activities, they are at constant risk of being affected by blue light wavelengths. The light can cause serious eye damage, even more so than for adults as children’s eyes are still developing. Blue light blocking glasses can help your children in a variety of ways. Not only can the glasses protect their eyes from the damage caused by blue light, but they can also help your children maintain the energy they need throughout the day and sleep better at night. As blue light affects melatonin levels, it may be a good idea to instill a screentime curfew so your children can have a break from blue light before bed, something that would also help them sleep better. If your children use computers for homework that they need to finish late at night, blue light blocking glasses can help to dim the brightness of the screen which will allow their melatonin levels to rise properly before bedtime so they sleep better.
Other Ways to Protect Your Eye Health
Another way to protect your eyes when you spend a lot of time in front of screens is to follow the 20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes that you spend looking at a screen, stare at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will give your eyes a break and time to readjust. Make sure that your children practice this rule as well. You can also apply a blue light filter to your computer or phone screen, similar to night mode on the iPhone. This will cut down on the amount of blue light being emitted from the screen.
Another helpful tool is eye solution. Having a bottle handy to make sure your eyes don’t get too dry will protect you from eye fatigue and stress.
Half of adults say they visit their dentist every six months. Regular eye exams are just as important as regular dental exams. Make sure that you are getting your scheduled eye exams done for you as well as your children. Regular eye exams can check for things such as conditions that can impair your vision, eye health, and will give you time to discuss other good habits for eye health with your doctor.
If you or your children spend a large amount of time in front of a screen each day, whether for work or personal use, blue light blocking glasses could be a tool to help you protect your eyes and maintain the sleep you need to function properly. Consider trying them for yourself and for your children to stay healthy without needing to alter your daily routine.