Do blue blocking lenses have to be sunglasses? Quite simply, the answer is no.
When we think of blue blocking lenses, we think of sunglasses because we all know that blue light is part of the natural light spectrum and there is a great risk when we are exposed to it from the sun. However, there are some benefits to the sun’s blue light exposure.
- Natural blue light aids in the production of vitamins
- Natural blue light enhances attention and reaction time
- Natural blue light plays a role in psychological well-being
These benefits do not mean we stop wearing sunglasses. Exposure to too much natural blue light can still cause eye damage. Blue light has a very short wavelength and is visible to the human eye. It is the only wavelength that penetrates the cornea. Once that happens, it directly hits the retina, which is the focusing screen of the eye. Blue light doesn’t focus on the retina as other colors do, therefore problems can occur. So, wearing a good pair of sunglasses with a high percentage of blue light blockage will protect the eyes from excessive exposure and subsequent damage whenever we work or play outside.
Many companies are now making eyeglasses with blue blocking filtered lenses. These lenses provide added protection against blue light because in today’s world, powerful blue light exposure does not come from the sun, but from our electronic devices. The biggest culprits of exposure are:
- Cell phones, in particular, Smartphones
- Electronic Tablets
Unlike the TV, which is normally viewed from a distance, these devices are viewed close to our faces, intensifying blue light exposure to our eyes. A pigment at the back of the eye provides some protection, but it works best in daylight. It becomes short-lived after sundown when blue light exposure is heightened by use of our electronic devices. The result is acute eye damage such as:
- Age-related macular degeneration in the form of photo-oxidation
- Dry Eye Syndrome
- Tired eyes
- Digital eye strain
For those who are at risk for age-related macular degeneration, the combination of oxygen and high intensity blue light increases the risk and may speed up the loss of eyesight.
Receptors within our eyes are sensitive to blue light. These receptors, along with the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, tell the body when it is day or night. This is known as circadian rhythm. Intense exposure to blue light disturbs the circadian rhythm. Our bodies become confused, wanting to stay awake and be alert at night, so we suffer from insomnia. Lack of sleep can escalate a variety of health problems that include hypertension, obesity, and depression.
LED and Xenon light bulbs are also transgressors of intense blue light exposure. These light bulbs put out a higher proportion of blue light than old traditional light bulbs. Some manufacturers of LED bulbs offer a “warm white” product that gives off less blue light than the “cool white” product, and it is the better choice when purchasing light bulbs.
Exposure to blue light from electronic devices can be greatly reduced by turning them off at least one hour before bedtime. Although it is best to keep all electronics out of the bedroom, devices with smaller screens radiate far less blue light, so they are a better option if using them for alarm clocks.
Wearing eyeglasses with lenses that filter out blue light help keep the body regulated and aid in eliminating insomnia. While Amber or orange-tinted glasses are well-known, there are companies creating clear lenses with blue light filters.
- Blu-Tech Lens contains a pigment that filters blue light without impacting color perception.
- Eyezen has a blue light-filtered clear lens specifically designed to use with electronic devices and focuses on eye comfort.
- Duravision Blue Protect is a coating for clear lenses that is applied as an additional layer. It includes a blue filter that improves clarity and gives greater protection against blue light.
With these options we are better able to protect our eyes from blue light exposure without resorting to sunglasses.
When you need to find out information on the latest in eyeglass technology, or are looking for popular brands and styles in eyeglasses and sunglasses contact us. We will be delighted to help you.