Blue light glasses for preventing eye strain: just a fad, or do they really work?

By Karlie Drew and Michelle Werdann


Comic thought bubble from man on computer says: Man, my eyes hurt.
Comic thought bubble from phone says: Dude, these blue-light blocking glasses are dope. I've been staring at my computer screen ALL DAY and my headaches don't even bother me anymore.
Comic thought bubble from man at computer says: Maybe I should look into getting some of those...
Comic thought bubble from computer says: Hey there! I see you're curious about blue light glasses. Let's look at what blue light glasses are!
Comic thought bubble from computer says: Blue light is emitted from light emitting diodes, or LEDs. LEDs are often found in computer and phone screens.
Comic thought bubble from eyeball says: Blue light is also found in natural sources of light, like the sun. Blue light helps the body to know when it's time to be awake.
Comic thought bubble from man on computer says: So what's the problem then? If my body is used to blue light, why should I want to block it?
Comic thought bubble from computer says: Great question! Blue light naturally informs your body about when to be awake. But if you're looking at an LED screen late at night...
Comic thought bubble from computer says: ...the blue light can trick your body into thinking it's still daytime. The blue light prevents your body from producing melatonin.
Comic thought bubble from computer says: Melatonin is important because it helps you fall asleep. Without melatonin, you may not sleep as well.
Comic thought bubble from eyeball says: Blue light glasses are supposed to reduce strain on your eyes and minimize the effects blue light can have on your sleep.
Comic thought bubble from eyeball says: However, there's some mixed results in research about the effectiveness of blue light glasses.
Comic thought bubble from eyeball says: There have been many studies about blue light glasses, but these studies have some problems.
Comic says: One study looked at blue light effects on melatonin after screen use before adolescent males went to bed.
Comic says: But the sample size for that paper was pretty small, and the paper only looked at the effects on males.
A photo of a man stands below the words: Let's ask an expert!
Dr. Daniel Joyce studies the neuronal processes that help us see.


Expert says: There doesn't seem to be any definitive evidence of blue light glasses helping too much, but we don't know much about the long term effects.
Expert says: However, there aren't any known drawbacks to wearing the glasses.
Comic says: Well, the jury seems to be out on the effectiveness of blue light glasses.
Comic says: It probably couldn't hurt to wear them, but if you're looking at a screen all day, especially now that so much of our lives are remote, it might help.
Comic says: One thing you can do to prevent eye strain is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This can help relieve eye strain.
Comic says: Another option is to try to stay away from screens the best you can before going to bed. Most ophthalmologists recommend avoiding screens for 1 hour before bed.
Comic says: Hope that helps!
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