Now that computers and smartphones are an essential part of our daily lives, we’re constantly bombarded with information on how to keep our eyes healthy. The belief is that blue light emitted from electronic devices such as tablets and phones can cause eye strain, headaches and even insomnia.
Many manufacturers claim the solution to the problem is blue light glasses, which are designed to block blue light rays from entering your eyes. But do blue light glasses really work?
It is true that using laptops and smartphones just before going to sleep can affect your circadian rhythm. However, that doesn’t mean that blue light glasses are the best preventative measure. In fact, some studies suggest that blue light glasses are ineffective.
Some experts even claim that blue light glasses can actually do more harm than good.
It’s important to remember that blue light glasses are unregulated in most markets. They’re advertised as the ultimate product to prevent eye strain, headaches and insomnia from blue light, but many studies refute the claims.
Amir Mohsenin, assistant professor in the Ruiz Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science at UTHealth‘s McGovern Medical School, said: “There’s really no evidence that blue light glasses help.
“We don’t really have any data that supports blue-blocking glasses as being better for your eyes when you’re using a computer. In fact, I would say that we don’t know if there’s any potential harm in wearing blue block glasses. It’s hard to recommend something without knowing more details about it.”
As more research is carried out on the effects of blue light on our circadian rhythms, the idea that blue light is harmful is becoming increasingly contested. For example, a study conducted by the University of Manchester suggested that yellow light may be more disruptive to sleep patterns than blue light.
The problem with how computers affect our sleep patterns may be unrelated to blue light and more concerned with how we use them, according to Amir Mohsenin.
“We’re spending more and more time in front of computer screens. There are things you can do to minimize eye strain, but as ophthalmologists, we’re not recommending blue-blocking glasses.”
If you want to reduce eye strain and prevent headaches caused by too much computer or smartphone use, you should remember a few basic tips (which don’t include wearing blue light glasses).
First, you should remember the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, focus on an object about 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. You should also make sure your computer screen is at least arm’s length or 25 inches away from your eyes, and tilt the screen downwards to minimise glare. You might want to adjust the lighting in your room to avoid looking at a bright screen in a dim setting.
Another way to reduce eye strain is to, believe it or not, remember to blink. Studies suggest that we blink up to 50% less when focusing on a screen.
If you take the necessary precautions to prevent too much computer use from causing eye strain and sleep problems, you should book an appointment with an eye specialist to find out whether there’s an underlying problem that needs addressing.
At George Street Eye Centre, we can treat just about all vision problems as well as provide advice on how to keep your eyes in top shape. Call us on (02) 9230 0010 to book an appointment at a time that works with your busy schedule.