Blue Light

Blue Light Glasses: Safety Precaution or Scam?

Remember when being called “four eyes” was totally insulting to anyone who wore glasses? Now wearing specs is a huge trend, especially with the rise of school and employment being virtual. Many people are choosing to wear Blue Light blocking glasses. Not only do these lenses claim to offer protection from harmful light, but they have also become a fashion trend for men and women alike.

  So what exactly is blue light? Ambr Eyewear is a seller for Blue Light glasses and they explain the science behind it on their website. The electromagnetic spectrum is made up of different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Remember Roy G. Biv from science class? Blue light comes from this spectrum. Otherwise known as HEV: high energy visible light, it is visible to the human eye and it emits a high amount of energy. 

Blue light exposure can occur from screen time in any form, whether it be via laptop, television or smartphone. However, the largest form of blue light exposure actually comes from the sunlight

However, scientists are at odds with whether or not blue light exposure is truly associated with serious adverse effects. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, no scientific evidence has pointed to the fact that there is damage to the eye when exposed to blue light. 

Surprisingly, being exposed to blue light is actually associated with several benefits, including increased attention spans, improved mood and even enhanced reflexes. These can even be helpful when staring at a screen for virtual classes.   Even so there are downfalls related to blue light exposure. It has been concluded that blue light can disrupt one’s circadian rhythm. This is the biological pattern associated with the sleep cycle, and it affects the pattern of waking and sleeping. Exposure to blue light prior to bedtime can lead to problems falling asleep. According to Harvard Health, this is due to the suppression of melatonin secretions. For this reason, professionals recommend cutting screen time several hours prior to going to bed. 

This begs the question of what the benefits are of wearing blue light glasses? And are they really even effective? According to the Cleveland Clinic, the symptoms many people believe to be associated with blue light exposure, are actually due to digital eye strain, or Computer Vision Syndrome.

After staring at a screen for prolonged periods of time, the eye may begin to feel dry and feelings of discomfort may arise. This is likely due to the eye’s exhaustion from moving about the screen and shifting focus. For some, headaches even occur after too much time at the computer. Many refer to these symptoms as “Zoom fatigue.”

Junior communication student Hailee Kalee combatted these feelings by purchasing a pair of blue light blocking glasses. She said, “After trying my first pair of blue light glasses I noticed immediate relief from all the symptoms I was previously experiencing.” Like many others, Kalle was enduring optic migraine and light sensitivity. She added, “My eyes adjusted much better to screens and now I can do my online school work and look at my phone with little to no problem.”

For some, the conflicting information regarding the effects of blue light may deter them from purchasing a pair of blue light glasses, which can cost upwards of $100 from more well known brands such as Warby Parker and Quay.

Professor Ryan Tetro, Esq. of the Political Science and Sociology Department recommends simply looking off screen when the Zoom fatigue settles in. For him, this feeling is a lot like car sickness. “I find that it helps my eyes [to] focus on something steady. Not flashing colors or moving screens. I will do something simple like just stare at a picture on the wall or even just the wall itself…It’s kind of like when you are in a car and you try to look at the trees passing by the lines in the road. It can make you feel sick. But if you stare at something constant in the distance, it doesn’t have the same feeling.”

Clearly, limited information on the topic prevents students from truly knowing if blue light glasses are really helping in the virtual learning scene. Regardless, the new trend has given many a sense of safety and comfort, while giving people a sense of style.