Do Blue Light Glasses Actually Work? Our Team Put Them to the Test
It’s late afternoon, your eyes begin to glaze over, get irritatingly dry, your vision gets blurry and you get a huge headache. The only explanation? You’re dying. Just kidding! You’re probably suffering from something way less scary (but still annoying): digital eyestrain. If you work in front of a computer all day, chances are you’ve noticed one or all of these symptoms. And if you fall victim to the mindless pre-bedtime Instagram scroll, it could be even worse. Since your job probably depends on your use of technology, you can’t really cut it out cold turkey. One solution? Blue light blocking glasses.
First of all, what is blue light? It’s the type of light used for computers, phone screens and televisions, but it’s also a form of LED light, fluorescent light and (gasp) sunlight, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
But digital eyestrain actually isn’t caused by blue light—it’s caused by looking at one spot without blinking for an extended period of time. Blue light does, however, affect sleep as it delays the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and disrupts your body’s circadian rhythm.
So what do blue light glasses actually do? Unlike regular readers or prescription lenses, blue light blocking glasses use special slightly tinted yellow lenses to filter out high-energy blue light. Most lenses also use anti-glare coatings, which means your eyes don’t get as fatigued by constantly adjusting and readjusting to light. Since eye twitching and blurred vision is often also a side effect of lack of sleep, you’ll notice less of it as time goes on. Already wear prescription glasses? This technology can often be applied to prescription glasses, but there’s no harm in getting a non-prescription pair to wear with contact lenses.
Our team put four popular brands of blue light blocking glasses to the test. Here’s what they thought.
"I like that the blue light filtering tint is so subtle that you can't tell it's there...but I'm also not fully convinced it's doing anything to benefit my eyes, either. Maybe it's a negative impact based solely on the amount of Instagram lurking I do." – Katherine, assistant editor
“My eyes were twitching and going blurry around 3 p.m. every day. To rule out any serious health concerns (don’t WebMD it), I decided to get a pair of these blue light-blocking glasses. I’m happy to report my eyes are back to normal. And, bonus, they look super cute.” – Brianna, commerce editor
“I love these. My boyfriend originally bought them but they didn’t fit his head, so I took them. I don’t notice a difference, but I feel cute!” – Madison, ONE37pm editorial assistant