Eyeglasses that claim to filter out blue light from computers, smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular. Ads for these glasses claim overexposure to blue light can cause a number of problems, including digital eye strain, sleep cycle disruption, or even blinding eye diseases.
There is no scientific evidence that the light coming from computer screens is damaging to the eyes. Because of this, the Academy does not recommend any special eye wear for computer use.
Is Blue Light From Screens Hurting My Eyes?
Long hours staring at digital screens leads to decreased blinking. Blinking less sometimes causes a series of temporary eye symptoms known as eye strain. But these effects are caused by how people use their screens, not by anything coming from the screens. The best way to avoid eye strain is to take breaks from the screen frequently.
The amount of light coming from a computer has never been demonstrated to cause any eye disease. A study reprinted by the National Library of Medicine found no measurable UVA or UVB radiation (the most harmful part of light) from computer screens.
There is some evidence that blue light affects the body’s circadian rhythm, our natural wake and sleep cycle. The best way to avoid sleep disruption is to avoid using screens two to three hours before bed. Using "dark" or "night" mode on devices in the evening can help, too.
Do Blue Light-Blocking Glasses Help With Eye Strain?
A recent study suggested that blue light-blocking glasses do not improve symptoms of digital eye strain. The American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend blue light-blocking glasses because of the lack of scientific evidence that blue light is damaging to the eyes.
What Can I Do To Ease Eye Strain?
You can protect your eyes from strain if you work with computers all day with these tips:
- Sit about 25 inches (arm's length) from the computer screen. Position the screen so you are gazing slightly downward.
- Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- When your eyes feel dry, use artificial tears to refresh them.
- Adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain. Use a matte screen filter if needed.
- If you wear contact lenses, give your eyes a break by wearing your glasses.
Most eye symptoms caused by computer use are only temporary and will lessen after you stop using the computer. If you continue to experience these symptoms, contact your ophthalmologist.
My Child Uses Screens All Day. Do They Need Special Glasses?
The recommendation for children using screens all day is the same as for adults: the best way to find relief from eye strain is to take breaks. We've created the following guide for children participating in virtual learning,