My entire career was spent in front of a computer, staring at bright screens, and I'm far from being alone.
An average office worker spends 1,700 hours (!) A year in front of a computer screen. And that's only while we're in the office – we're also addicted to using our phones all day.
Full screen time seems to have various negative effects on our body and mind, such as eye strain, headaches and insomnia. To combat these problems, you can use computer glasses, also known as blue light glasses, that promise everything from eye strain to sleep.
Once hard to find, there are now many stylish options from companies like Felix Gray and Peepers. You can even get blue light blocking lenses for your glasses.
So do blue-eyed goggles really make a difference to us all, who are staring at a screen for eight or more hours a day? The answer is not as simple as "yes" or "no".
Is the screen bad for hours every day?
The short answer? Probably.
Physicians and researchers are largely focusing on two issues that arise from our ever-growing screen time: digital eye loading and blue light exposure.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), digital eye strain is "a group of eye and vision problems resulting from prolonged use of computers, tablets, e-readers, and cell phones." These problems range from blurred vision and dry eyes to headache and neck pain.
By staring at screens all day, we are also exposed to blue waves of light that are said to cause a variety of problems. There is conflicting evidence of how blue light exposure affects your eyes, but doctors and researchers agree that this affects your circadian rhythm. More on that below.
What is blue light?
All visible light that we humans see contains the entire spectrum of the rainbow, from red to purple. Within this spectrum are blue waves of light, which are said to stay awake and remain optimistic.
What does blue light emit?
Every visible light source emits blue light waves, be it the sun, a touch screen or a light bulb.
We receive many blue waves of light from the sun every day, but after dark we are still affected by many artificial sources.
How does blue light affect sleep?
When the sun goes down, the lack of light signals that our body is producing melatonin, the hormone that makes us fall asleep.
Before the advent of artificial light, the sun regulated our sleep plans. But today we are exposed to light all day and into the night. While light exposure after dark delays melatonin production in our bodies, blue light waves can be particularly problematic as they keep us awake.
On the other hand, blue light can help us overcome sleep problems by disrupting our ordinary circadian rhythm. For example, the Lumos Maskuses light therapy to mitigate the effects of jet lag.
What does my phone or computer screen have to do with it?
Compared to fluorescent lamps and incandescent LEDs can emit a lot of blue light.
Unfortunately for anyone familiar with our technology after sunset, LEDs are used in countless smartphone, tablet and TV screens. Tech products that feature an LCD screen, such as laptops, iPads ($ 329 on Amazon) and older iPhones, still use LEDs to backlight their displays.
Is blue light harmful?
Blue light was already linked to all sorts of topics, from the emergence of digital eye strain to. However, there is much contradictory evidence about how harmful (or not) it really is.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology says there is no evidence that the blue light emitted by screens causes eye damage, as we are exposed to blue light from the sun all day long.
In conversation with CNET, Dr. Raj Maturi, a clinical spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said: "During the day, you get 10 times more blue light from the sun than from your computer screen, and our bodies have evolved to deal with this light."
However, research by the AOA suggests that prolonged exposure to blue light (for example, sitting in front of a computer all day) can damage your retina – the innermost layer of your eye sends signals to your brain to what you see, process.
Prevent Blindness, a non-profit vision-reduction association, also says that early research suggests that blue light may contribute to eye strain.
What are blue lenses?
Blue light blocking glasses have filters in their lenses that block or absorb blue light, and in some cases UV light, before they pass through. That said, using these goggles when looking at a screen, especially after dark, can help reduce exposure to blue light waves that can keep you awake.
Many blue light blocks that you can buy also claim to reduce the eye strain.
Most should be worn in front of the computer during the day and at night to prevent the blue light of the screens from staying awake.
Should I get a pair of glasses with blue lights?
It depends on whether you want or need to see your phone after dark, and are you struggling to fall asleep?
There is plenty of evidence to influence blue light when our body produces melatonin, so if you use screens after sunset, these glasses may prevent you from getting up later than you would like.
However, if you are dealing with digital eye strain, you should do it easily Try it before investing in new glasses. Use the 20-20-20 rule. Here you see something that is at least 20 meters away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
The idea is that this helps break the focus off your screen, allowing your eye muscles to relax and avert eye strain.
I am writing this article wearing a blue light blocker goggles. I've been using it over the last few months. Although I am not one hundred percent sure that they will help my eyes, I notice that my eyes get less tired at the end of the day.
Could it be a placebo? For sure. But I will carry it on to find out.
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