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Do Blue-Light Glasses Really Help with Screen-Related Eyestrain?

Feb 26, 2024

In today's digital age, our screens have become an integral part of our lives. Whether for work or leisure, we spend countless hours in front of screens, and concerns about the potential harm of blue light emitted from them have been on the rise. 

Many have turned to blue-light glasses as a solution, believing they can protect against eyestrain and even improve sleep quality. However, a recent study challenges these assumptions. 

So let’s look into what blue light is, how it affects our eyes, and explore relevant research to see if blue-light glasses live up to their hype.

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Table of Contents

What is Blue light?

Blue light, found within the visible light spectrum, is characterized by its short wavelength, typically falling between 380 to 500 nanometers. While it's emitted by artificial sources like screens and digital devices, it's also abundantly present in natural sources such as sunlight. Blue light's significance goes beyond mere illumination; it has a profound impact on our biological rhythms. 

Specifically, it plays a pivotal role in regulating our circadian rhythm, the body's internal clock that governs our sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to blue light during the day helps us stay alert and awake, while reduced exposure in the evening is essential for signaling the body to prepare for restful sleep. This delicate balance between blue light exposure and darkness is crucial for maintaining a healthy sleep pattern.

How Do Blue Light Lenses Protect Against Eyestrain?

Blue-light glasses claim to reduce eyestrain by filtering out a portion of blue light. The theory behind this is that by reducing the exposure to blue light, we can alleviate the discomfort and fatigue often associated with prolonged screen time. 

However, the effectiveness of these lenses has come under scrutiny. Studies suggest that blue-light glasses may have some benefit in reducing eyestrain, but the results are not as significant as one might hope. 

A recent review of 17 studies over the past years suggest that the participants wearing blue-light glasses reported only a modest to no improvement at all in eyestrain symptoms compared to those who did not wear them. 

This challenges the belief that these glasses are a panacea for digital eye fatigue. It suggests that while they may be part of an overall strategy to reduce eyestrain, other factors such as screen brightness, viewing distance, and individual screen habits also play significant roles. 

Consequently, a holistic approach that includes proper screen settings, regular breaks, and good lighting conditions remains essential in effectively preventing and managing eyestrain in the digital age.

How Do Blue Light Lenses Improve Sleep Quality?

Blue-light glasses impact sleep quality by reducing the disruption of melatonin production caused by evening screen use. The science behind blue light glasses is tied to their ability to influence our internal body clock. 

They work by reducing the activation of a type of retinal cells that are highly sensitive to blue light. This, in turn, helps in triggering the release of melatonin, a hormone critical for regulating sleep.

A thorough search of scientific literature revealed the effects of wearing blue light or blue-blocking glasses in the evening. These studies included randomized controlled trials, case studies, and other research forms, involving a total of 453 participants. 

Notably, blue-blocking glasses showed promise in reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, particularly in individuals with sleep disorders, jet lag, or irregular work schedules. 

However, Dr. Lockley, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, points out that the studies mentioned in the systematic review lack sufficient detail to draw concrete conclusions. 

One significant challenge is the lack of standardization in commercially available blue light-filtering glasses and coatings added to prescription lenses. This non-standardization raises questions about which specific wavelengths are being blocked. 

Furthermore, it's unclear whether these interventions impact only visual function or extend to essential nonvisual functions like alertness and our circadian rhythm. Additionally, critical information regarding the timing, duration, and nature of nighttime light exposure in these studies remains unclear.

What Remedies are Available for Eyestrain?

Addressing eyestrain is essential, especially for those who spend long hours in front of screens. Here are some remedies for eyestrain, each with its own set of advantages and effectiveness.

The good news is Focus Bear can help promote better eye health by assisting you in implementing the 20-20-20 rule. 

This gives your eyes a break and reduces eye strain, potentially helping to prevent long-term damage.

Studies that Suggests Blue Light Lenses May Not Help with Screen Eyestrain

The most recent study by Laura Downie and her team was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, reviewing data of 17 previous trials from 6 countries, examining the impact of blue-light-filtering lenses on vision fatigue, sleep quality, and eye health. The study reached a notable conclusion: wearing blue-light lenses does not significantly reduce the eyestrain experienced by individuals after using computers. 

Mark Rosenfield, a professor at the SUNY College of Optometry, mentions in a research paper that the connection between blue light and eyestrain is weak. He highlights that the primary source of blue light is the sun, and digital screens emit a negligible amount in comparison. Furthermore, there is no established physiological mechanism firmly linking blue light to eye fatigue.

Both Downie and Rosenfield argue that eyestrain likely arises from a combination of factors, including habits and underlying conditions, rather than being solely attributed to blue light. They suggest that altering how we engage with digital devices—modifying the frequency and duration of screen use and maintaining a reasonable distance from screens—may have a more significant impact on reducing discomfort.

Evidence of Blue Light Lenses Not Impacting Sleep

When it comes to the impact of blue-light-filtering lenses on sleep, questions often arise regarding their effectiveness in different scenarios. So here are some reasons and context where blue light lenses might not impact sleep at all.

  • Blue Light Lenses and Sleep: Blue light lenses can help, but they aren't a guaranteed fix for sleep issues. They target circadian rhythm disruption caused by blue light, but their impact varies.
  • Content Matters: What you watch matters. Horror movies, even with blue light glasses, can still keep you up. Emotional and physiological responses to intense content can overpower blue light filtering.
  • Individual Variation: People react differently to blue light. Some benefit from these lenses, while others may not experience significant improvements.
  • Duration of Exposure: The length of time spent in front of screens also matters. Prolonged exposure, even with blue light glasses, can still affect sleep.


The hype surrounding blue-light glasses as a remedy for eyestrain and improved sleep quality may not be entirely justified. While these glasses do provide some benefits, they are not a guaranteed solution. 

To protect your eyes and ensure a good night's sleep, it's essential to consider a holistic approach, including adjusting screen settings, taking regular breaks, and maintaining proper lighting. 

Remember that the best remedy may vary from person to person. So, before you invest in blue-light glasses, assess your specific needs and consult with an eye care professional. 

Try Focus Bear to experience how it can improve digital well-being and eye health, and start your journey towards a more balanced digital life.

Feb 26, 2024

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