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Do Blue Light Glasses Help with Dry Eyes?

A smiling woman using both her cellphone and laptop at the same time.

Blue light glasses or blue light-blocking lenses can sound high-tech and cool. So much so that the sale of blue light glasses has risen since 2020, mainly due to increased time spent staring at digital screens. 

In theory, blue light glasses help to reduce eyestrain and symptoms of eyestrain, including dry eyes. Even without much evidence to support this, there is no harm in wearing blue light glasses. 

Computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain is common when sitting for long hours in front of a computer, whether at the office or at home. Symptoms can include headaches, eye strain, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, and dry eyes. 

If you experience some of these symptoms, an eye exam can help determine if it’s caused by digital devices or something else. We provide some helpful information about blue light glasses, how they work, and what you can do to relieve dry eye symptoms. 

What Is Blue Light?

The primary source of blue light is light from the sun. Light from the sun is a combination of many colours which have different wavelengths and energy levels. Blue light has a short wavelength and higher energy levels, and the reason doctors associate it with a greater risk for eye damage. 

Blue light is not all bad; it can promote alertness and help differentiate between night and day. However, too much exposure to blue light from digital devices can affect your circadian rhythm and make it harder to go to sleep at night. 

Blue Light, Digital Eye Strain, & Dry Eyes

Besides the sun, you can also get blue light from fluorescent and LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs. But digital devices, such as computers, tablets, laptops, phones, and televisions, emit brighter shorter wavelengths ranging from 400 to 490 nanometers

Some research has shown a link between blue light with wavelengths between 415 and 455 nanometers and eye damage. This has led to some concern about the harmful effects of digital screens, but more research is needed. 

Blue light may also cause damage to the retina, called phototoxicity, and the amount of damage depends on wavelength and exposure time. It’s believed that 50% of computer users may be affected by digital eyestrain or computer vision syndrome with symptoms such as:

  • Dry eyes
  • Irritated eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty focusing

You tend to blink less when you’re hyper-focused or staring at the screen for long periods. Any one or a combination of the following can cause dry eyes from computer vision syndrome:

  • Glare from digital screens
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor posture
  • The viewing distance is too close to the screen
  • Uncorrected vision problems
Close up of a woman's face showing blue light reflecting off of her glasses.

How Do Blue Light Glasses Work?

Blue light glasses have special coatings or tints in the lens designed to reflect or block blue light from reaching your eyes. While there isn’t enough research, the idea behind blue light glasses is they can reduce eyestrain and eye damage. 

A study found blue light exposure may affect visual function in dry eye patients with unstable tear films. There was a significant improvement in visual function when exposure to short-wavelength blue light was limited. 

The study concludes blue light-blocking glasses may help improve visual function associated with tear instability in patients with dry eyes. If you experience dry eye symptoms or digital eye strain, speak to our eye doctor about possible solutions to provide relief. 

Ways to Relieve Dry Eye Symptoms

You can use blue light glasses to limit the amount that enters your eye, but there are also other ways to avoid and prevent dry eyes:

  • Take regular breaks from screen time.
  • Blink more often to keep eyes moist and lubricated.
  • Change focus by looking at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. 
  • Position screens an arm’s length.
  • Keep your screen free of dust and fingerprints.
  • Adjust the screen’s brightness to your surroundings.
  • Use screen filters.
  • Use artificial tears. 

Protecting Your Vision

Blue light glasses can block out the blue spectrum wavelength to reduce eye strain and soothe dry eyes caused by using electronic devices for long periods. Contact us to learn more about our blue light-blocking products if your work includes a lot of screen time. 

When you book an appointment with eyeDOCS, our optometrists can determine the cause of your dry eyes and offer a treatment plan to ensure comfortable vision all day. 

Written by Dr. Annie DesGroseilliers, OD

Dr. Annie DesGroseilliers grew up in the town of Newmarket, just a short drive north of Toronto. After graduating from Monseigneur-de-Charbonnel with high honours, she continued her education at the University of Ottawa, where she completed a Bachelor of Science degree in 1996.

After 8 years of schooling, she obtained her doctorate in optometry in 2000. After a month of travelling in Australia with her twin sister, she became an associate at eyeDOCS. Since joining the practice, she gained valuable knowledge from her mentors, Dr. Margaret Hansen and Dr. Roland des Groseilliers. She has worked at the Lasik MD clinic in Ottawa and is currently an affiliate for Focus Eye Centre.

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