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Do computer glasses really work?

Over the last couple of years, you may have noticed an uptick in people talking about computer glasses, or eyeglasses that are designed to filter out blue light from computer screens, smartphones, and tablets. Some people believe that blue light can lead to dry eyes, digital eye strain, and even permanent eye diseases down the road.

But is blue light actually dangerous? And are computer glasses worth it?

As it turns out, there is no evidence that looking at a computer screen is unsafe. A study conducted in 2015 found no measurable UVA or UVB radiation from computer screens, two forms of radiation known to cause eye problems. Another, more recent study published in the journal Ophthalmology found that the worldwide increase in nearsightedness is not because of blue light as previously believed, but because of an increase in near work activities -- including traditional books. Because of this, the Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend special eyewear for computer use.

How can I reduce eyestrain?
If computer glasses don’t relieve dry eyes or digital eyestrain, what does?

Symptoms of eyestrain include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Sore, itchy, or burning eyes
  • Sore muscles in the neck, shoulders, or back
  • Increased light sensitivity

To avoid digital eyestrain, we recommend practicing the 20-20-20 rule. If you’re performing near work (i.e., reading, using the computer), take breaks every 20 minutes to look at an object that’s 20 feet away. Focus on it for 20 seconds before returning to your task.

Computer glasses can help you sleep
Although computer glasses don’t help with eyestrain, they can make it easier for you to fall asleep at night. In a 2009 study, participants who wore blue-light blocking lenses three hours before bedtime experienced better sleep quality than those who didn’t. A 2015 study found similar results.

How do computer glasses help you sleep? Blue light can alter your circadian rhythms, making it difficult to get a good night’s rest. Doctors recommend avoiding electronics in the hours preceding bedtime. Because this isn’t always feasible, computer glasses may serve as an alternative.

Should I buy computer glasses?
If you’re hoping to avoid eyestrain, there are better ways than purchasing a pair of computer glasses. If you’re trying to avoid insomnia, however, they might be a worthwhile investment.

Eye Care Professionals is happy to answer any questions you might have about your vision and eye health. Contact us today at (775) 322-1000 to set up a comprehensive eye examination.

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