By: RILEY PULT
With schools online, students are taking in more technology than ever before. You may have noticed more eye fatigue, dry eyes, headaches, or insomnia because of the increased amount of screen time. One item that is thought to help these symptoms are blue light glasses. They have become increasingly popular and are only $20 on Amazon, but do they really work or is it just a placebo?
The point of blue light glasses is to help reduce the strain on eyes. “Blue-light blocking glasses have filters in their lenses that block or absorb blue light, and in some cases UV light, from getting through.” Blue light glasses are meant to block out certain light that is emitted from a computer, phone, or screen, however, there is little evidence that proves blue light is causing issues for our eyes. Scientists at the University of Manchester published a study in Current Biology that showed that yellow light disrupted sleep patterns in mice more than blue light. If the blue light isn’t disrupting our eyes and sleep as much as we think, are the blue light glasses actually working?
The short answer is no. Many optometrists and ophthalmologists say that blue light glasses are not worth the hype. A spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Rahul Khurana, MD, told Business Insider. “Everyone is very concerned that it may be harmful to the eye, and it’s a valid concern, but there’s no evidence it may be causing any irreversible damage.” Relief Jones, III, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist and medical director at the San Antonio Eye & Face Institute also says that blue light glasses will not help with eye strain. This is because, “the symptoms of ‘eyestrain’ that is experienced by individuals using electronics for an excessive amount of time are due to dry eyes syndrome.” When looking at a screen we tend to blink less which causes irritation in our eyes. This is not something that blue light glasses can help with because it has nothing to do with the light coming off of the screen.
Overall, blue light glasses are not effective when it comes to the amount of screen time you are getting. It is best to save your money and do practices that are effective with helping your eyes. There are many different things you can do to help your eye strain, but blue light glasses are not one of them.
The method to use when using a screen for long periods of time is the 20-20-20 rule. The American Ophthalmological Society recommends taking a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This is supposed to help refocus your eyes and give them a break. It is also recommended that you do not work in dark rooms. Try to limit the contrast in lighting. For example, going on your phone right before bed when the lights are out is not a good idea. It causes eye strain and can create a harder time falling asleep. Similar to the 20-20-20 rule, remember to take breaks. Taking breaks in between screen time is very important. Give yourself 5-10 minutes in between assignments and spend that time away from screens, this includes not going on your phone.
It is also suggested that you keep your eyes moistened. Looking at the screen tends to dry our eyes out due to the lack of blinking we do. Keeping your eyes moistened with drops helps with irritation and dryness. You should also make an effort to keep your distance from a screen. An arm’s length is appropriate because our eyes work harder when a screen is closer to our face. It is also important to note at what angle your screen is at. Reducing the glare on your screen helps with eye strain. If there is a glare from external or internal light it can aggravate your eyes. These are just a few examples of how you can help take care of your eyes when on a screen
All in all, it is important to limit your screen time altogether. Before you drop $20 on a pair of blue light glasses, try the methods listed above to help with issues you may be experiencing due to the increased amount of screen time.