• DrMarcGrossman

Blue Light Filtering Glasses Protect Your Eyes from Sun and Screen Damage


Do blue light filtering glasses really help protect your eyes from screen damage? The COVID epidemic means we use screens constantly for Zoom meetings, classes, entertainment, and connecting with loved ones. Computers, smart phones, tablets, high-definition televisions, refrigerators, printers, motor vehicle dashboards, outdoor advertising...you name it, bright digital screens are part of your daily life.


When you really think about it, how many digital screens are your eyes exposed to throughout a 24-hour period? You can start to feel like your eyes are being bombarded by some intense periods of high energy blue light.


Possible Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain


Unfortunately, too much blue light and staring at screens can lead to symptoms. Have you ever experienced feelings of fatigue in your eyes or even headaches after sitting in front of a computer for an extended length of time? Do you have issues with blurred vision or blank spots in your vision that flare up and dissipate without warning? Maybe you find that your eyes are dry from time to time, and the discomfort is enough to require eye drops on a somewhat regular basis. Do you find at times it becomes difficult to concentrate?


If you are experiencing these or other types of symptoms related to your vision, these can be the result of prolonged exposure to high-energy, blue light, exacerbated by long periods of intense focusing without taking regular break, often resulting in computer eye strain. These issues are just some of the effects this type of light can have on your eyesight and your overall well-being.


The more common term for these symptoms is Digital Eye Strain. It can have some long-term cumulative damaging effects on your eyes. Your vision might be compromised in some way. Or, your eyes might feel tired and dry. Also, exposure to this form of light can disrupt your sleep. That's because the blue light that is emitted from our digital screens works to regulate our body's circadian rhythms.


Furthermore, ongoing exposure to excessive blue light promotes increased metabolic activity. This results in increased free radicals and reactive oxygen species in the retina. These free radicals need to be neutralized and eliminated to prevent damage. They also contribute to the thinning of the retina, increasing the risk of such eye conditions as as macular degeneration.


Blue light can actually be beneficial to us when we are exposed in regular doses. This light, along with the blue light that comes from sunlight during daytime hours, is very important for telling the body when it is time to be awake and when it is time to wind down and go to sleep at night.


However, when you expose your eyes and brain to blue light during the evening, particularly right before you go to bed, that can be detrimental to your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Our brain relies on the secretion of melatonin, which is a natural chemical the body produces to initiate and promote sleep. Too much blue light exposure throughout the day and well into the night can disrupt the normal secretions of melatonin, making it tougher to sleep.

The quality of sleep can also be negatively impacted as well. You might feel tired and sluggish when you wake up, and stay fatigued during the day.


Blue Light is High Energy Light


With so many screens surrounding us day in and day out, it is vitally important to try to minimize the effect of this blue light on our eyes. This is especially important when when we are perched in front of a computer screen for seven or more hours a day. The best way to do that is by filtering out the levels of blue light we are receiving from the screens. A reduction of light from these devices can be instrumental in preventing the long-term damage that has occurred from an over-abundance of blue light exposure to a crystalline lens, cornea and retina.


You may be wondering how this form of light can be so damaging to the eyes. It is one thing to have normal exposure to sunlight, but it is another thing to stare at your laptop for half the day.


The sun provides us with natural light, made up of a spectrum of colors that includes blue, orange, red, yellow, and even green light. Step outside and you will be exposed to all of these colors of the light spectrum. They combine to create the sunlight we receive every day. That is why rainbows are so exceptional. Each of these colors is made of light rays along different sized wavelengths containing different strength levels of energy within. Longer wavelengths contain less energy, while shorter wavelengths contain higher amounts of energy.


Red is among the longest of wavelengths, so it will contain some of the lowest levels of energy. Blue light travels along much shorter wavelengths, which means it contains some of the strongest energy of all the light across the spectrum. That is why it is often referred to as high-energy blue light, which gives it similar properties as ultra-violet light. This is the form of light that your computer, your TV, your smartphone, and the screen in your new car's dashboard emit every time they are operational. That means your eyes are taking in energy from blue light whenever you look directly at these screens.


Filter Out Blue Light with Blue Light Glasses


Wearing a pair of blue light glasses can be highly effective at filtering this exposure to your eyes and greatly reducing the symptoms that you can experience from too much blue light exposure to the retina. Blue light filtering glasses often result in less digital eye strain. You can find blue light glasses available in prescription and neutral versions, so that the individuals who need glasses to correct their vision can also do their eyes a world of good by filtering out the damaging effects of blue light. Those with perfect vision can get a pair of neutral or non-prescription lenses with blue light filtering capabilities. The lenses in both instances are designed to filter nearly half of the blue light that is emitted from your computer, smartphone or tablet screens, and up to 95% of the strongest wavelengths of light, but without any yellow tints that often come from regular light filters.


Blue-light glasses really can help by reducing the glare of blue light and limiting the symptoms of headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, related dead spots in your vision and eye strain.


Dr. Grossman recommends blue light glasses for all his patients. He has an affiliate relationships with these two companies because he has uses their products and has found them to be effective.


Ocushield Medically Rated Blue Light Blockers: For Smartphone, iPad, Macbook, Monitor, Glasses, Bedside Lamp.


Pixel blue light glasses. Enter coupon code DRGROSSMAN for $5 off (limited time).




Nutrients That Filter Out UVA, UVB and Blue Light


Nutrients are powerful antioxidants in the eyes and act like "internal sunglasses" by filtering out UVA, UVB and blue light include lutein, zeaxanthin, mesozeaxanthin and astaxanthin. These nutrients along with Black Current Seed Oil also help reduce computer eyestrain.

Carotenoids are a class of antioxidants, critical to eye health, that include beta-carotene, astaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and lutein ; they are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. The eyes require relatively large amounts of carotenoids for healthy vision maintenance. The macula (part of the retina where we get our most detailed vision) gets its yellow color from zeaxanthin and lutein, which protect it from damage from UV and blue light exposure.


References:


Kijlstra, A., Tian, Y., Kelly, E.R., Berendschot, T.T. (2012). Lutein: more than just a filter for blue light. Prog Ret Eye Res, Jul;31(4):303-15.


Herman, J.P., Kleiner-Goudey, S.J., Davis, R.L. (2017). Dietary Supplements Improving Macular and Visual Function. Adv Ophthal Vis Syst, Dec;6(1):00166.

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"Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision & Healing" 

2nd Edition

By Marc Gossman, OD, L.Ac. and Michael Edson, MS, L.Ac.

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