phils blog

Do Blue-Light blocking lenses really do anything?

Do Blue-Light blocking lenses really do anything?

This question seems to be the most trending topic in the eyewear industry right now, and not a day goes by that i am not asked about them.

So, lets talk about blue light light for a bit.  

Techie stuff first.  The visible light spectrum includes waves between 380-780nm.  Below this range is ultraviolet (UV) light, and below this range is the infrared (IR) light.  
Blue light falls in the range of 400-465nm, The most harmful rays being between 415-455 nm.

Keep in mind that not all blue light is bad!  Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum.  Blue light occurs naturally in the sunlight and is important in regulating our circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle.  The human eye has evolved a sensing mechanism that solely detects when it is daylight.  These sensors respond primarily to blue light.  When there is a significant amount of blue light, our brain is signaled that it is daytime.  The light within the blue-turquoise range (between 465-495 nm) is essential to our vision, well being, and sleep cycle. it is important that we are exposed to this range.  

Now, on to “man made” blue light.  Our digital devices such as computer screens, pads, and phones produce high levels of blue light which has created a condition called, digital eye strain.  
Blue light, with its short, high-energy wavelengths scatters more easily and makes it more difficult to focus.  Because digital devices emit significant amounts of blue light, the unfocused 
visual “noise” reduces contrast which leads to digital eye strain.  This presents itself in several different ways which include, red eyes, dry eyes, itchy eyes, and general eye fatigue.  Lenses treated with the blue light coating eliminates or filters out the active blue light before reaching our eyes.  
So now that we are up to speed on light wavelengths and their affects on vision, brain function, and physiology of the eye, do they work?  Honestly, I was a bit skeptical at first.  
Ive been doing this a long time and I’ve seen optical trends come and go.  As an example, when Anti-Reflective lenses began to take off 20 years ago I hated them.  It was expensive and the coating over a short period of time eroded or peeled off the lenses making the vision worse!  Customers were unhappy and my remake costs skyrocketed.  But as technology evolved and hydrophobic layers improved the coatings ability to bond to the lenses, I now sing the benefits of Anti-Reflective lenses to every spectacle wearing person out there!

Obviously the best way to advise is to try it for yourself.  The first thing I noticed is the lenses had the slightest yellow cast when looking out of them.  When looking at the lenses, the coating has a blueish color in the Anti-Reflective coating.  The moment I looked at the computer screen the lenses benefits were plain.  The light from the screen appeared calmer, and less glaring.  I also noticed that the contrast from both print and images was improved.  Professionally , I do use a computer.  However, I do not spend hours and hours looking at it like many do.  If you are a student, CPA, lawyer, or anyone whose career demands hour after hour of computer time, I would highly recommend the blue light coating.  

There is one more huge benefit that is not as frequently discussed, nighttime.  Remember how blue light triggers the brain that it is daytime?  Our body associates blue light with daytime, so being exposed to it when it’s close to bed time pushes our internal clock later.  This makes it harder to fall asleep and more difficult to wake in the morning.  Data is still fresh, but most eye and sleep professionals recommend you avoid blue-enriched light four hours before bed!  Ive been an insomniac for years.  Falling asleep is my struggle.  Little did realize that my late night web-surfing was only worsening my condition!  Ive about eliminated devices close to bedtime, but when i do use them, i wear the blue lenses and I can honestly say it helps.  

It is also important to keep in mind that the digital eyestrain that bothers us can occur whenever we focus on anything for a long period of time without moving our gaze.  Eyestrain can be helped by shifting your eyes focus every 20 minutes or so on to something that is 20 feet or more away for at least 20 seconds.  The muscles in your eyes are no different than any muscle in the body that gets overworked.  They get stiff and tired too.  Artificial tears can help with dry eyes as well.  
I hope this helps!

Phil Clayton 

samia moses