Heavy use of visual display units (VDUs) such as compter screens is an accepted part of daily life in the modern world. If you’re spending a lot of time working at a screen, you might be feeling the effects of digital eye strain.
This guide looks at whether computer glasses with blue light blocking capabilities can help, as well as other tips to reduce the effects of prolonged exposure to computer screens.
Extended VDU use causes digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome for some people. This has bed to a surge of interest in blue light blocking glasses. They’re commonly promoted as being an effective solution to alleviate the symptoms of screen use.
But how effective are computer screen glasses with blue light filters? We look at this, as well as alternative lenses to wear during screen use, and some practical hints and tips to reduce the effects of prolonged screen time.
Blue Light Glasses For Computer Screens – What Are They?
Blue light glasses have been designed to filter the blue light that is emitted by computer and other visual display screens.
Exposure to artificial blue light contributes to a number of health issues including eye strain and difficulties sleeping. VDU work involves spending a great deal of time in front of a screen. This does cause discomfort for many individuals.
What is Blue Light?
Blue light is just one of the parts of the visible light spectrum.Iit’s also known as high energy visible light and is naturally emitted by the sun. Computer screens, smartphones, televisions, and LED lights also emit blue light.
Naturally occuring blue light from the sun helps to regulate circadian rhythms. However, artificial sources of blue light have been linked to adverse health effects including eye strain, sleep issues, and potentially with eye damage.
Source: How blue light affects your eyes, sleep & health – UC Davis
Blue light can damage eyesight due to its short wavelength. This short wavelength means that blue light has the potential to get to the retina, at the back of the eye. This is where blue light glasses may help.
Do Blue Light Glasses Work?
Blue light glasses have become popular over recent years. They are fitted with specialised lenses that are thought to reduce the amount of contact the eyes have with blue light.
There is nothing to scientifically prove that wearing blue light glasses will help with eye strain or protect against blue light. The Royal College of Optometrists’ current position is that scientific evidence doesn’t support the effectiveness of blue light glasses. However, many opticians still offer them as an option for those having a great deal of screen time.
We do know blue light wavelengths are shorter than others and therefore more powerful and dangerous. Blue light blocking lenses are known to help in regulating the body’s internal light cycle. This is conducive to a good night’s sleep which is a win win.
Whilst the effectiveness of blue light computer glasses is still under debate, they are perfectly safe to use. If you’ve been suffering the effects of screen use, it’s worth trying to see what difference they make to you personally.
What Types of Blue Light Blocking Computer Glasses Are Available?
You can purchase blue light blocking computer glasses from most opticians. They have become more widely stocked since the pandemic, with so many people reliant on remote working.
You can get blue light glasses on prescription or you can get plain lenses. They have become somewhat of a trend over recent months and are available in almost any colour or style.
They are best bought from reputable opticians rather than online. This is due to the fact you will want to try them on and possibly have them adjusted to fit.
About Work Related Eye Strain
Work related eye strain can be both uncomfortable and debilitating at times. With no treatment or preventative measures, it can worsen.
There are a few causes of eye strain – computer use is one of the more common ones. Other causes include; looking at phones, reading without adequate breaks, long distance driving, bright lights and trying to focus in poor lighting. All these scenarios can cause poor eye health which can be potentially serious.
Symptoms of eye strain include:-
- Irritated and sore eyes.
- Dry and gritty feeling.
- Burning sensation.
- Watery or dry eyes.
- Sore neck
- Blurred vision
How to Reduce Work Related Eye Strain
Eye strain does not need to be a permanent problem and, indeed, shouldn’t be. We have already covered the usefulness of blue light blocking computer glasses. However, there are other things you can try too.
You can buy eye drops from the pharmacy that help with eye irritation and symptoms such as dry eyes. How you sit at your desk to work on the computer can also contribute to symptoms of eye strain. You should sit at a respectable distance from the screen and also have good lighting without glare.
Taking regular breaks is a must when you are using computers for a prolonged period. You should check that you are receiving the correct breaks for your shift and time spent looking at a screen. You can also consider using anti glare glasses or lenses.
Top Tip: Try adopting the 20 20 20 rule in the workplace. For every 20 minutes, you look at the screen and look somewhere else for 20 seconds which is at least 20 feet away. This small practice can help reduce the likelihood of eye strain.
You should also book regular eye appointments when your job involves computer use.
See Also: Computer Health & Safety
Other Computer Screen Glasses
There are other glasses available on the market that help to tackle eye strain problems. While blue filter glasses are widely recognised as helpful, there are other varieties you can try as well.
- Anti glare glasses. These have a special lens that prevents the screen light from reflecting on your eyes. They can also come scratch and smudge proof which again stops the possibility of squinting.
- Varifocal lenses. This type of lens is useful as it can be used for all distances without the need to swap back and forth. This means the glasses adapt to the object of your focus whether short or long range.
- VDU glasses. These glasses help with contrast and details on the screen which stops the eyes needing to strain.
Should My Employer Pay For Computer Screen Glasses?
Employers have a responsibility to pay for any glasses that are required for working at a computer screen. They also need to pay for regular eye checks for their employees if VDU work forms a large part of their job role.
Employers must pay for eye tests and prescription glasses if specialist lenses are required for the employee to do their job.
They have the right to choose the opticians that are used and they are only required to pay for basic glasses and lenses. Should an employee wish to purchase fancier ones then they will need to pay the price difference.
Employees might be reimbursed for their eye tests and prescriptions or employers may pay for them upfront. Any workers who begin to feel the effects of eye strain should speak to their manager ASAP.
Reading glasses should not be used for long term computer use as they are different things. The type of lenses needed for reading and computer use often come down to the distance between the eyes and the screen or book.
Computer glasses do differ from reading glasses as they have a specific lens on them. They usually have an anti glare coating on them to help with screens. Computer glasses help to filter out blue light which causes eye strain.