Sakshi, a student in Delhi spends hours on her laptop During the lockdown her digital habit just got more intense. “I started getting headaches and my eyes felt sore and gritty all the time. Then I heard about Lenskart’s Blue Lenses and thought I’d give them a try. My new pair was delivered in a couple of days, and my goodness, I can’t tell you what a difference they made. My headache and eye irritation vanished!”
Sakshi is just one among tens of thousands of people who say her blue light glasses helped prevent eye strain and blurry vision. There’s a growing demand for eyewear fitted with blue light blockers, a special filter that blocks or filters out high-energy blue light emitted from digital screens. Market Study Report, a US based-market research company, says the global market for blue light eyewear will increase to $27 million by 2024, up from $18 million in 2019. The much touted benefits: reduced eye strain, better eye health and improved sleep habits.
But Do Blue Light Glasses Actually Work?
This is a relatively new product and there hasn’t been a lot of research to show either way. While the American Academy of Ophthalmology and The Association of Optometrists in the UK believe there isn’t substantive proof that the blue light emitted from digital screens—think laptops, phone, I Pads and TV screens—leads to eye strain and fatigue, many eye professionals disagree. Dr. Anondo Mukherjee, an optometrist associated with a leading Mumbai eyewear store says he has seen the benefits of blue light glasses with his store’s customers. “I always ask clients how much time they spend in front of a screen daily. If they say six hours or more, I always recommend a blue light blocking lens and almost all of them call me back later to say their eyes feel less tired at the end of the day.”
Health Risks From Blue Light
It’s important to know that the sun also emits blue light; it’s all around us and not just emitted from gadgets. You tend to blink less frequently when you’re staring at a screen. It’s important to blink,” says Dr, Mukherjee. “Blinking keep your eyes moist by distributing the water content in your eyes evenly across the eye surface. So when you blink less, it causes a glare from the screen, pain, tearing, red eyes and even blurry vision.” Blue blockers and anti-glare filters on lenses do reduce the intensity of blue light and glare from hitting your eyes but you have to remember to blink often or top up with artificial tears a couple of times a day to keep your eyes lubricated.
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Blue light from electronics tends to trick the brain into thinking it’s still daytime, inhibiting melatonin production that’s vital for helping you fall asleep and staying asleep. The result: insomnia, disturbed sleep or an inability to fall asleep when you switch off lights. Dr Mukherjee says he advises many patients, especially students and people who work on laptops all day, to use blue light glasses to prevent sleep problems. His hypothesis is borne out by the journal, Chronobiology International, that published a study proving that adults who used blue-light blocking glasses for two hours before bedtime fell asleep faster and slept better than those who didn’t.
Do Your Children Need Protection From Blue Light?
A 2017 study by the University of Houston found that participants who wore blue-blocking glasses had a 58 percent increase in their night-time melatonin levels, proving that by using blue blocking glasses you can get better sleep and still continue to use your devices. “Children are particularly susceptible and can benefit from using blue light glasses. This is because kids today are spending all their waking hours in front of screens and their still-developing eyes absorb more blue light than adults.” We spoke to Pranay Dua, a ten-year-old who just got his first pair of zero power blue glasses, “I used to surf social media after the whole day attending school on Zoom. My 6 p.m.my eyes would be bloodshot and I would get terrible headaches. I’m fine now and can focus on things far more easily.”
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Some Easy Ways To Give Your Eyes A Break
While you’re waiting for your pair of blue computer glasses to get delivered, here are some easy ways to reduce eye strain.
- Follow the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s simple 20-20-20 rule. That means that every 20 minutes you will look away at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Adjust your seat, or the position of your computer, so your eyes are about 25 inches from the screen. Position the screen so you’re gazing slightly downward.
- Use a matte screen filter on the screen to reduce glare.
- Use artificial tears in your eyes two to three times during the work day.
- Pay attention to the lighting in the room you’re working in. It should be well lit to reduce the glare from your screen.
- If you wear contact lenses, give your eyes a break by wearing glasses now and then. Don’t want to do that? Then wear zero power Blue light glasses over your contacts to filter out blue light from screens.
If all these precautions don’t decrease eye irritation, it would be a good idea to consult an ophthalmologist. Together, you could work out a way to get to the source of the soreness and take steps to cure it.