I ask about adding blue light coating to eyeglass lenses, not separately wearing blue light glasses.
Recommended For: Those who regularly use digital devices and who want the ultimate protection against the harmful effects of blue light.
Increases risk of macular degeneration
On the other hand, there is a body of evidence to suggest that long-term exposure to blue-violet light below 460 nm, with a maximum at 440 nm, may contribute to photochemical damage of the retina, increasing the risk of macular degeneration over time (known as the ‘blue light hazard’).
It may surprise you, but many eye issues that are caused by digital screens aren’t due to blue light.
Ophthalmologist Rishi Singh, MD says many people experience eye discomfort from digital screens, but most of the issues actually fall under a term called computer vision syndrome (CVS). (It’s sometimes also referred to as digital eye strain.)
“Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of research done with blue light blocking glasses,” explains Dr. Singh. “And of those studies that have been done, they’ve been too small and it’s not the same thing we’d see in clinical practice.”
Blue light glasses aren’t needed
“There’s really no evidence that [blue light glasses] help,” said Amir Mohsenin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Ruiz Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science at UTHealth‘s McGovern Medical School. “We don’t really have any data that supports blue blocking glasses as being better for your eyes when you’re using a computer. In fact, I would say that we don’t know if there’s any potential harm in wearing blue block glasses. It’s hard to recommend something without knowing more details about it.”
Studies have shown that blue wavelengths can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin production levels through certain non-image-forming photoreceptors in the eye called melanopsin, a type of photopigment in retinal cells. This helps us stay alert and focused during the daytime, but it can interfere with sleep.
However, a growing body of research is challenging the notion that blue light is bad. Scientists at the University of Manchester published a study in Current Biology that showed that yellow light disrupted sleep patterns in mice more than blue light.
“The reality is that most of the problems we’re having with computers and eyestrain isn’t from blue light; it’s from how we use the computers,” said Mohsenin, who also treats patients at the Robert Cizik Eye Clinic and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. “We’re spending more and more time in front of the computer screens. There are things you can do to minimize eyestrain, but as ophthalmologists, we’re not recommending blue blocking glasses.”