With distance learning leading to an increase in screen time, every day, students are seen sporting their new trendy blue light glasses in Zoom classes. Not only do the glasses make them look good, but they also protect their eyes from the harmful blue light emitted from computer and phone screens.
Blue light is everywhere; in fact, we get most of our exposure from the sunlight. But there are also many artificial sources of blue light such as the display screens of televisions, computers, smartphones and other digital devices.
Now blue light itself wouldn’t be a problem, except that the structure of our eyes is not capable of blocking it, so virtually all visible blue light passes through and reaches the retina.
According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, there is evidence that too much exposure to blue light can have long-term health effects such as eye strain, headaches, damage retinal cells and induce feelings of sleeplessness. This is because blue light tricks the body into thinking it’s daytime by suppressing the production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, disrupting the circadian rhythm.
Since the transition to remote learning, many students have reported suffering from frequent headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes and trouble falling asleep at night. Blue light exposure from digital screens is a growing concern among people, especially teens.
According to Forbes in 2019, the average person spends as much as 12 hours per day in front of a TV or electronic device. And thanks to distance learning, homework and countless hours spent scrolling on TikTok, students are spending seven hours and more on screens.
To combat the effects, most students have hopped on the trend and purchased their glasses on Amazon which offers a huge selection of different colors, styles, and brands for a reasonable price.
But do they really work? It depends on who you ask.
According to AAO, the symptoms of digital eye strain are linked to how we use our digital devices, not the blue light coming out of them and they do not recommend computer users to wear special eyewear.
For example, the amount of time we spend peering into our small smartphone screens, rather than the blue light glare, causes the problem. However, other eye professionals like Greg Rogers, a senior optician at Eyeworks in Decatur, GA, recommend blue light glasses to clients who spend more than six hours in front of a screen daily.
More research seems to support blue-light glass benefits.
A study led by Cristiano Guarana at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business distributed blue-light glasses to a random selection of employees of a U.S. multinational firm and measured task performance.
The data collected from 130 employees showed a general pattern that the blue light blocking technology in the glasses affected improving sleep, work engagement, task performance, organizational behavior, as well as reducing counterproductive work behavior.
Students and other wearers have been quick to attest to its benefits. I was curious so I decided to try it out and noticed overall having fewer headaches, eye strain and feeling more awake during my classes. At night I fall asleep faster and the next morning my eyes feel and look less tired.
I truly feel like I am taking care of my eye health which will have long-term benefits. Although there is no scientific evidence to back up blue light glasses, from my experience, I know it’s helped to alleviate some of my issues.
So next time you go to your eye appointment, why don’t you try on a pair and see how it feels for you?