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To Your Health!

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Liya Moges

Are Blue-Light Glasses Actually Helpful?

By Liya Moges

At some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced some sort of eye-related symptom like eyestrain after using a digital screen like phones or computers for a long period of time. It’s an issue we all face in a society that depends on screens to accomplish a multitude of tasks throughout our day. The creation of Blue light blocking glasses, a product becoming popular during the height of the pandemic, once posed as a potential solution to our problems, now suggests otherwise.

What are Blue-Light Blocking Glasses?

Blue Light glasses are glasses made with a lens that were specifically designed to reduce exposure of blue light from digital devices as well as the sun. The reason behind the creation of this eyewear is due to the fact that blue light, as seen on the wavelength spectrum varying from red to violet, is associated with keeping our bodies alert and awake. Blue light can come from a multitude of sources such as a lightbulb, the sun, and more importantly a digital screen. The innovation of this new piece of eye wear was driven by the desire to find a way to prevent symptoms that can be related to eye strain and insomnia after prolonged exposure to a blue light emitting source.

Are Blue Light blocking glasses effective?

There are many ongoing experiments that are working to identify the correlation between blue light blocking glasses and reduced eye strain and insomnia in individuals. Many advertisements for these blue light blocking glasses are marketed with claims suggesting that they are proven to have reduced possible retinal damage from excessive exposure to blue-light. However, with further research into the matter, it seems that there are less than supportive results that suggest blue light glasses do not provide improved measurements of sleep quality or insomnia, nor does it provide statistical significance of reducing retinal damage. According to a study done by the American Journal of Ophthalmology, a total of 120 users who claim to have ocular (eye) related symptoms due to computer use were randomly assigned either blue-light blocking glasses or a placebo non-blue light blocking pair of glasses and were told to complete computerized tasks under observation. Researchers then measured subjective (opinionated) measurements of eye strain, objective (factual) measures of eye strain, and overall eye movement using an offline web camera before and after the tasks were performed. The data recorded found that for objective measurement of eye strain, no statistical difference was shown between users who wore the blue light glasses versus those who wore placebo glasses. There was also evidence showing that there were no subjective response measurements by either group. Many other experiments were conducted in order to gain more insight into the relationship between the usage of blue-light blocking glasses and eye-strain, however many similar results suggest the eyewear does not support eye relief in any manner.

Does this mean I shouldn’t wear Blue-Light glasses?

While there seem to be no strong statistical evidence that blue-light glasses prevent or reduce eye strain against blue-light, this piece of eye wear does not do any harm if worn. The main purpose of the glasses are to block blue light that is emitted from various sources, and while there is no evidence proving that it accomplishes this task, many people still choose to purchase these glasses.  In response to questions asking if blue-light blocking glasses are worth having the Dr. Tamiesha Frempong, an Ophthalmologist with Mount Sinai Hospital, explains that “…If you get a benefit or feel comfortable wearing them, then wear them…they’re certainly not going to hurt you but there’s no evidence that they’re helping you.”

What are some alternative methods to relieve eyestrain?

There are various alternatives to blue-light blocking glasses that one can try to help reduce eyestrain after prolonged exposure to digital screens. One method to try it is known as the 20-20-20 rule. To try this out, try looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds, after 20 minutes of screen time. This is proven to help reduce eye strain because by forcing yourself to look a further distance away from the screen it forces your eyes to relax and blink again at your body’s normal rate. Another alternative is to try sitting an arm’s length away from your screen. Many people often sit too close to the computer, or bring their phone screens closer to their face and end up experiencing eye strain. By being about 25 inches away from the screen you’re using, you can reduce the potential eye strain you get from increased screen exposure!

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Liya Moges is a passionate and dedicated junior studying Biomedical Science, Business, and Law at Georgia State University. She works at Emory University Hospital supporting nurses and physicians on a Complex Medicine floor and uses this opportunity to shadow different physicians in different specialties. In her goal to educate the public about health issues and equal access to care, Liya joined Today’s Patient to address topics such as health and wellness, public health, and diversity inclusion in medicine.

March 2023  page 2

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