Staring at electronic screens — TVs, tablets, cell phones, laptops — for long periods of time isn’t good for your health.
High levels of screen time are associated with obesity, unhealthy dieting, depressive symptoms, reduced sleep quality, and lower quality of life.
Over the past decade, many people have blamed the negative consequences of excessive screen time on the blue light these devices emit.
Because blue light is a shorter wavelength (and, therefore, a more energized form of electromagnetic radiation), it’s thought that it may be more damaging to your eyes. LCD screens (used in televisions, laptops, tablets, and phones) emit high levels of blue light.
Is Blue Light Dangerous?
Despite what you may have heard about the dangers of blue light, the evidence collected so far demonstrates no meaningful association between blue light and eye damage.
However, artificial lights can interfere with your natural sleep patterns.
The blue light from screens suppresses the production of melatonin — the signaling hormone that prepares your body for sleep.
If you’re using screens late at night, this can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. And low-quality sleep can then lead to many other health issues.
Do Blue Light Blocking Glasses Help?
Eyeglass manufacturers have jumped on the blue light hype, releasing special glasses that claim to help protect your eyes from these harmful wavelengths.
They typically have a yellow-orange tint that’s designed to filter out blue light.
But multiple studies have found that blue-blocking glasses don’t actually provide any significant benefit.
They don’t improve visual performance or sleep quality. They don’t alleviate eye fatigue or prevent macular degeneration. They don’t even seem to help with the eye strain associated with staring at a screen.
Should You Try Them?
If you want to try them out, go for it. Maybe they’ll help you feel better. But the research that’s been conducted so far hasn’t found any strong evidence to support the claims of blue-blocking glasses sellers.
Step away from the devices and give your eyes a break if you’re struggling with eye strain, headaches, or other symptoms after looking at screens. Avoid watching TV or using your computers and cell phone close to bedtime.
Talk to your doctor if your vision is worsening or if you’re having severe symptoms. You may need to be tested and treated for underlying conditions that likely have little to do with blue light from your screens.