Blue light glasses combat effects of screen exposure

Caitlyn Lofland, Daniela Shekman, Features Editor, Opinions Editor

After experiencing painful headaches and blurry vision from reading online textbooks throughout her junior year, senior Amy Cheng found it difficult to focus. When Cheng found out she would be E-Learning last spring, she decided to purchase blue light glasses to try to relieve her headaches. 

“[Blue light glasses] definitely helped me feel a little bit better because it just wasn’t as much strain on my eyes,” Cheng said in a video conference.

According to optometrist Andrew Neukirch in a phone interview, the lenses on blue light glasses protect the eyes by using a yellow tint to partially cancel out the blue, because yellow and blue are on opposite sides of the color spectrum. Some higher-end blue light glasses have special anti-reflective coating to block blue light without changing the color of the lens. 

“Because blue light is the most intense light in the visible spectrum, [exposure to it] can be a more intense visual experience,” said Neukirch. “Stronger wavelengths of light physically enter the eye and thus can be more prone to causing headaches over time.”

Blue light has been proven to interfere with the sleep cycle because of the large amount of blue light in sunlight, similar to digital screens. The artificial light from the screens then confuses the brain into thinking it is still daytime, which disrupts the circadian rhythm.

Senior Mara Liss began experiencing headaches and fatigue in the spring, so her optometrist recommended blue light glasses. 

“I had gone to the eye doctor because I was gettinga lot of headaches and my mom thought it was related to my eyes,” said Liss. “[The optometrist] said that if I tried blue light glasses it might help … [and] they have been helping.”

According to Neukirch, an effective pair of blue light glasses blocks out at least 20 percent of blue light. Since blue light glasses are not regulated by the FDA, reviews are currently the best indicator to determine quality. For those who already have prescription glasses, anti-glare lenses can be used as an alternative.

Since Liss purchased her glasses at the start of last spring, she said many of her friends have asked about them and if they worked for her at the start of E-Learning this fall.

  “Now a lot of my friends [have] them too,” Liss said.

According to Neukirch, teenagers may experience digital eye strain, fatigue and blurry vision that occurs when using digital devices. He recommends spending as much time as possible outside to combat theseeffects, especially during E-Learning. When people are outdoors, their eye muscles can relax because they are not focusing on close-up objects for as long as they are on a screen. 

If students are getting headaches and have not seen their eye doctor in a while, they should speak with them first, because there might be other issues with their eyes causing the headaches, Neukirch said.

According to Cheng, it was really nice to be able to do her work without feelinga constantheadache. 

“[It] made it a lot easier to focus and do well in school,” Cheng said.