Do Blue Blocking Lenses Work?
In recent years, blue light blocking lenses have increased in popularity and have become a trendy fashion item.
It is a common tint that is added to the front of spectacle lenses to block out the blue light emitted from computer screens, TVs, and cell phones.
Many claim that it helps decrease eye strain while others support ocular health benefits. It is tough to know what to believe as there are many sources making different statements about the benefits of this filter, but here is some of the most recent research on the topic.
Blue Blockers Can Help Eye Fatigue
The use of computers and cell phones for work is abundant in everyday life, especially with the recent increase in individuals working from home.
Many experience symptoms of tired and dry eyes that correlate with increased computer time. For this reason, many look for solutions that can decrease the discomfort associated with this necessary task.
Blue light was hypothesized to play a role in causing these symptoms, although the evidence to support it was minimal.
A study published in January 2019 from SUNY College of Optometry showed that there was no reduction in digital eye strain.
In the study, they used filters that were more representative of the blue filters commercially available for purchase as an add-on for glasses.
It was suggested for patients to receive a comprehensive eye exam to assess for refractive error (a glasses prescription), ability for the eyes to work together well, and the health of the eyes overall to ensure no underlying reason for the eye strain.
That said, even though studies have found no significant effect, many patients who wear blue blocking lenses notice a subjective improvement in their eye strain, and recommend others to do the same.
Blue Light May Be a Risk Factor for Macular Degeneration
Blue light can have the potential to cause harm to the eyes. A study in 2014 showed that blue light has the potential to cause phototoxicity to the nerves lining the back of the eye with prolonged exposure.
This could be due to the high energy light causing damage to the light sensing cells, although this process is slow. The build-up of debris within these light sensing cells is the reason for macular degeneration.
Although macular degeneration is often related to age, chronic blue light exposure is a possible risk factor. Further research is needed to give an exact picture of the relationship between blue light exposure and eye health.
Individuals with the highest rate of damage from blue light will be children and individuals who have had to have their internal lens removed.
The latter could be due to childhood cataracts but children are more susceptible due to the clarity of their lens, as the lens is protective for absorbing the blue light before it hits the nerve layer.
In this case, blue light blocking lenses or sunglasses can be very helpful, as the most intense blue and high energy light comes not from digital devices but from the sun.
Blue Blockers May Help Your Sleep Patterns
It is also important to note here that not all effects of blue light are bad: in certain amounts, blue light is necessary for optimal health and well being.
It is chronic exposure to it that may be harmful, depending on further research.
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