My tired eyeballs might fall onto the floor any day now, thanks to the constant strain of reading a bajillion emails while working from home—plus all those digital happy hours. If your screen time is waaaay up too (tysm, social distancing), then it could be time to test out a pair of blue-light filter glasses.
Overexposure to blue light can cause eye strain and lead to sleep disorders, warns optometrist Barbara L. Horn, OD, American Optometric Association president.
Here's how it works: Blue light, the type of light emitted from the sky on a clear day, your phone, computer, or TV, has one of the shortest wavelengths of lights that humans can see—aka High Energy Visible (HEV) wavelength, says New York City Optometrist Sophia Visanji, OD. Those HEV wavelengths flicker more easily, kinda like a candle. That causes tiny, imperceivable glares, which makes the content of your screen harder to see. As your eyes strain to read an Instagram caption or watch a YouTube video, it leads to literal eye strain.
As for that whole sleep disorder situation, Dr. Horn says, "Our bodies associate blue light with daytime, so being exposed to it when you’re trying to go to bed can contribute to sleep dysfunction."
"Whether you have 20/20 vision or 20/100, wearing blue-light filter glasses is going to be beneficial," says Dr. Visanji. "These lenses reduce the amount of blue-light entering the eye as well as reduce glare," adds Dr. Horn. And, obvi, when you decrease your exposure to blue light, you also reduce chances of eye strains.
Wearing blue-light filter glasses isn't enough though. You'll also need to protect your pretty little eyes by putting limits on your screen time. If you have to be online all day, Dr. Horn says follow the 20-20-20 rule, taking a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes. That gives your eyes a rest by reducing digital eye strain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
So the next time you feel your eyes struggling, listen to the pros take a break and grab a cute pair of frames to protect your eyes.