Blue light is a hot topic right now with many companies offering their products to people who are serious about managing blue light for better health. But for the hype surrounding blue light glasses there is a lot of misinformation about what colour lenses do what and what do blue light blocking glasses actually do?
Blue light is high energy light that is emitted from artificial light sources such as your TV, Smart Phone, House Lights, Fridge, Computer Screen and Car Headlights. Too much exposure to artificial blue light during the daytime leads to issues such as dry eyes, digital eyestrain and tension headaches. Exposure to any type of blue light (and also some green light) after sunset disrupts our body’s production of melatonin which harms our sleep quality and leaves us feeling tired the next day. Blue light is essential during the daytime as it helps us feel great and keep active, however there is too much blue light in our digital devices, work and home environment which is leading to an epidemic of digital eyestrain.
By exposing ourselves to blue light after dark we are losing sleep and leaving ourselves more susceptible to circadian diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease according to Harvard University. Blue light after dark tricks the brain into thinking its daytime, which keeps stress levels high and damages our sleep.
There are three main lens colours when it comes to blue light filter glasses, clear, yellow and red. All three of these lenses have different applications and should be worn at different times depending on your situation and current light environment. Blue blocker glasses come in these different lens colours so its important to understand exactly what each pair of blue light glasses does in order to determine which are the best blue light bocking glasses for you.
Computer Glasses – Clear Lenses
Computer glasses are trending right now. These blue light glasses are to only be worn during the day when working at your computer or when you are exposed to artificial light during the day. They typically filter down blue light across the entire blue spectrum (400nm to 495nm for the science geeks like me reading this) by 5%-30%. Remember that we do not want to block blue light during the day as we need some blue light to be healthy and active, just think of the sky, its blue for a reason!
You would wear your computer glasses only when inside under artificial blue light during the day and take them off when outside. The sun’s light is very beneficial for optimal circadian health.
But how do we know what the best computer glasses are? Well this is quite simple, many of the leading brands claim to block blue light, but when you test their glasses through a spectrometer they usually focus on violet light.
Violet light isn’t often present in artificial light sources which means when you buy a cheap pair of anti blue light glasses or computer glasses they are often not filtering any blue light at all. Ensure you ask each company you approach to provide a lens report to show blue light being filtered. At BLUblox we always share our lens reports.
Blue light that damages the eyes spikes at 440nm, don’t worry about the technical side of this, just be aware that most clear computer glasses do not target this wavelength of blue light, so just make sure you do your due diligence when ordering from your favourite brand as not to waste your money.
Be aware that the blue light pen test is a scam, this pen gives out violet light, not blue light so has no influence on the amount of blue light these glasses will block. Watch this video about the blue pen scam.
Mood Boosting Glasses – Yellow Lenses
Mood boosting blue blocking glasses have gained popularity through BLUblox in the last couple of years. Another daytime blue light filter glasses that are to be worn during the daytime when exposed to artificial blue light. They were designed to help people who are sensitive to blue light. What it means to be sensitive to blue light is you do not just suffer from dry eyes and headaches when working at your computer you suffer from anxiety, migraines, depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). All these conditions have been shown in peer reviewed studies to be intensified by exposure to blue light. What yellow lenses do which is different from computer glasses is filter out more of the harmful blue light that trigger migraines and heightens stress.
These partial blue light blocking glasses are to be worn during the day when inside and under artificial light. They are to be used in place of computer glasses with clear lenses and do not just target digital eyestrain and headaches but help people with a sensitivity to blue light reduce their symptoms
BLUblox mood booster blue light glasses come with infused colour therapy. The colour yellow has been shown to uplift mood which is something that benefits peoples suffering from SAD, anxiety and depression. Someone who works night shift work and has no or minimal access to natural light would also benefit from wearing yellow lenses during their shift.
Blue Blocker Glasses – Orange or Red Lenses
Let’s get real, wearing clear lens computer glasses or clear anti blue light glasses will not help you sleep, this is scientific fact. The only way to get more melatonin and better sleep quality is to block all blue and most green light found between the 400nm to 550nm spectral range (again don’t worry about these numbers if you don’t understand them, just make sure the company you buy your blue light blocking glasses from shows you evidence they block in this range).
To block a specific colour you need an opposing colour to do so. In the case of blue light to be blocked you need orange and to block green you need red, therefore lenses that are red or dark amber are going to be what you need to wear post sunset to get better sleep.
Our circadian rhythm is entrained by light. During the day blue light tells our body clock its daytime and to keep alert and awake. After the sun sets blue and green light is not present naturally which sends a message to our brain that its approaching bedtime and to produce sleep hormones. When we do not wear blue blocking glasses after sunset and use our digital devices, watch TV or have our house lights on we trick our brain into thinking its daytime. This keeps our body and mind in an active state meaning we cannot get to sleep or sleep deeply. This makes us tired the next day and the cycle repeats itself. Over time this can lead to chronic fatigue and other diseases such as diabetes, obesity and mental health disorders.
To combat this, we wear red lens blue light blocking glasses to stop the blue and green light sending messages to our brain telling us its daytime, which is disrupting our sleep. Computer glasses cannot block blue light so they would not help after sunset. By wearing your red lens blue blocker glasses after sunset until bed you are allowing your brain to tell its night time and to get good quality sleep.
To determine which are the best blue light blocking glasses we need to ensure they block 100% of blue light and 100% of the green light found between 400-550nm. Just make sure the company you buy your blue light glasses from share their lens reports, if they don’t share them or the blue blocker glasses block any less than 100% between 400-550nm save your money as they won’t be helping your sleep. Remember if you see any blue light whilst wearing your blue light glasses after dark they aren't working.
Remember, our light needs change throughout our awake period. During the day we need to filter down blue light using clear computer glasses, or yellow anti blue light glasses if we have a sensitivity to blue light. After the sun has set in order to sleep better and get more energy we must switch over to the best blue light blocking glasses that contain red lenses. If we do both these light management hacks we will have less headaches, better sleep, more energy and a generally happier and healthier life.