It is fair to say that everyone has spent much more time at home for the past year. For many, that extra time meant Netflix show binges, staying connected with friends and family through Zoom events, much more Kindle reading time, mindlessly scrolling social media on phones, and long hours working in front of a computer. Sure, it has been necessary to find indoor activities to entertain us and keep our minds busy. However, what do all of those pastimes have in common? They all take place in front of a screen.
Too much screentime is an issue commonly discussed when talking about children and their development. However, staring at any screen, TV, cell phone, or computer, tablets included, has many negative physical and mental effects on people of all ages. Eye fatigue, insomnia, and migraines are all common conditions caused by screentime.
So, what is the solution? My colleague absolutely swears by her blue light blocking glasses, so I decided to follow her lead and try them for a week. Here is what I learned.
Blue Light: What It Does
Blue light, as compared to other colors within the full light spectrum, is both visible to the human eye and produces a very high amount of energy due to its short wavelength. Although computer, phone, and TV screens are now notorious for causing too much blue light exposure, people actually get most of their exposure to blue light from the sun outdoors. In this setting, blue light provides a lot of necessary benefits! However, couple the natural exposure with endless hours of artificial exposure, and the risks quickly start to outweigh the benefits. Continued exposure to this high-frequency energy will eventually wear on our bodies, and particularly our eyes.
Blue Light Benefits
With all the negative press lately, one may be surprised to hear that people do need blue light and reap many benefits from it. During daylight hours, blue light signals to the body to stay awake and alert, maintaining wakefulness and aiding a natural circadian rhythm. Blue light is also used in depression therapy and is clinically proven to boost patients’ moods and lessen symptoms. Additionally, in some smaller studies, blue light was proven to increase alertness in the workplace. It is also one of the most low-cost, efficient light forms, which has made it the obvious choice for electronic use.
Blue Light Side Effects
Unfortunately, healthy exposure to blue light operates on a bell curve, and too much of a good thing can quickly turn detrimental. The most common side effect of too much blue light exposure is eye strain and tiredness. Zoom fatigue is a real thing! Blue light also eventually leads to the suppression of the secretion of melatonin in our bodies. Too much exposure, particularly during nighttime hours, can severely disrupt one's circadian rhythm and lead to insomnia and other sleeping issues. Finally, in extreme situations, blue light can even lead to retinal damage and permanent loss of vision.
Blue Light Glasses: How They Work
Blue light glasses, as the name suggests, are glasses with lenses specifically designed to filter out blue light to protect people's eyes. These glasses are stylish and designed to be worn during extended periods of exposure to blue light, such as working or e-reading. They help to prevent eye strain, reduce headaches, and ultimately protect the wearer from disrupting their sleeping patterns, even while Netflix binging later into the evening.
Blue light filtering lenses can be both prescription and non-prescription, computer-style, and can fit into many different styles of frame. With the advent of worldwide "too much screentime" this past year, these glasses have catapulted in popularity to become a trendy, functional accessory.
Blue Light Glasses: My Review
Since we all moved to work from home full-time, I have been spending exponentially more time staring at my computer screen. No more travel time means more time available to continue working on projects. Following that, we usually end up watching a least a couple of Netflix shows (I am certain I watched more television in 2020 alone than every prior year combined). Of course, intermingled with these activities is the mindless phone scrolling and social media browsing. After only a short time operating on this schedule, I started noticing my eyes feeling sore later in the evening, I uncharacteristically began getting daily headaches, and I started experiencing bouts of insomnia.
Realizing this is no way to live, I decided to try these cat-eye BluTech Torts Out blue light blocking glasses with computer-style, non-prescription lenses. I chose the stylish tortoiseshell frames to compliment any outfit. The description stated that these "lenses are infused with a proprietary treatment that filters harmful wavelengths associated with digital eye strain, headaches, and sleeplessness without altering the colors you see." With quick answers to each of my latest ailments, I was excited to put them to the test!
I began wearing them strictly while working at the computer and noticed immediately that, while they dim the color resolution a bit, they were not distracting at all. Since I am not an everyday glasses-wearer, I had been a bit concerned the extra accessory may be annoying, but that was not the case. In fact, after a few headache-free days and falling back into my normal sleeping patterns, I also began wearing them while watching television in the evening. After all, I absolutely loved the frame style and even my husband complimented their chic look. Why not get as much wear and benefit as possible? The only lesson I learned was that blue light filters cause slight distortion outdoors, so these are not made for outdoor wear or driving. Ultimately, I am now a blue light blocking believer and they are a staple next to my computer.
What are you waiting for? Give your eyes a break and try some blue light glasses yourself. Starting at as low as $25, check out the full collection of blue light glasses at DiscountGlasses.com here.