Technology has become increasingly integrated into our lives over the past few decades. Not only do we use it to solve so many of our problems, but also to stay connected with everyone we care about. Students and professionals are becoming increasingly dependent on digital screens to go about their day-to-day business. Digitization has made our lives much more convenient, but the extended use of electronic devices can yield adverse effects on the eyes. It has been suggested that prolonged exposure to electronic devices contributes to digital eye strain, as well as other undesirable symptoms. To help combat that, some optical entities offer blue-light filtering glasses for their customers. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), in addition to other organizations, have yet to endorse them, due to the suggested lack of evidence of their effectiveness, as well as the minimal risk that they pose. On the other hand, optical practitioners and researchers recommend that blue-light blocking filters have positive effects when used. Their research, among other clinical trials, suggests that blue-light blocking lenses would be especially beneficial for individuals that spend extended hours in front of electronic devices.
At NURILENS, we value integrity and quality in the products and services we provide to our customers. We understand the importance of being transparent by providing reliable information that can help our customers make informed decisions. While there exists a significant number of false advertisements regarding the impacts of blue-light blocking lenses, we support their positive impacts on our customers who spend extended hours in front of their computer screens. Our goal is to present the background on blue-light, empirical research surrounding its impacts, as well as NURILENS’ recommendations on the matter.
In the beginning…
Humans originally depended on sunlight to see. We transitioned from fire and torches to electric bulbs, a light source that had a similar spectrum to that of sunlight. With the development of electronic devices, however, our sources of light have become artificial in different aspects of our lives. Moreover, technological developments have increased the dependency on modern electronic devices for people of all ages. We interact with a number of digital devices every day, including our phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions.
Studies show that 42% of children under 8 years old own a tablet or another electronic device. Pew Research Center also found that all millennials use the internet, with 86% of them using social media on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, over 80% of Americans use the internet on a daily basis. Such studies suggest that the screen time and intake of blue-light is high.
Impacts of Blue Light
Despite how the use of electronic devices fosters productivity in our day-to-day lives, it often comes at a price: digital eye strain also known as computer vision syndrome. Blue light, under continuous and high exposure from screens, can lead to digital eye strain, which is pain or pressure around the eyeballs that results from the prolonged use of electronic device(s). The most common symptoms associated with digital eye strain are pain in the eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes. The level of discomfort or pain depends on the individual’s vision conditions and the amount of contact time with their electronic devices. Most symptoms of digital eye strain may disappear once we step away from the screen. However, since our reliance on the digital world is a never-ending affair, more and more individuals are starting to experience digital eye strain symptoms even when they are not working on their devices.
The negative impacts of blue light are suggested to not just occur while in direct contact with electronic devices, but afterwards as well, especially during one’s sleep cycle. A study investigating the immediate effects of smartphone blue-light on humans at night, found that the use of blue light smartphones at night-time may negatively influence sleep. In other words, even when we log off early to call it a night, our smartphone’s blue light can signal our brains to stay awake, when we really just need to wind down. This may even lead to fatigue the following day. We would again do the same thing over and over on a daily basis, not realizing that we are stuck in a never-ending loop.
While other optical advertisers suggest various false claims, the AAO proposes healthy practices. The “20-20-20” rule, for example, states to “look away from [the] screen and [to] look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds” at 20-minute intervals. Additionally, using proper distance and reducing the glare and brightness is also advised.
Given the suggested impacts of blue light on eyes and sleep patterns, blue-light filters have been developed in different forms to alleviate the potential negative impacts. In fact, professional gamers, who spend at least 5-10 hours per day playing video games, employ blue-light filters on their eyewear and computers to alleviate the potential negative impacts of the blue-light on their eyes. Moreover, an experimental study found that night-time melatonin increased by a significant 58% after using anti-blue light blocking lenses before bedtime.
We have found that our customers, from different walks of life, also spend extended hours in front of their electronic devices. They can thus benefit from blue-light filtering devices that may alleviate the suggested impacts of digital eye strain. We have found that by using blue-light filters and exhibiting healthy habits recommended by the AAO, our customers can safely and healthily use technology, without experiencing any problems.
NURILENS agrees with the AAO and Harvard Medical School on the need to employ healthy habits to alleviate the impacts of blue light on our eyes. Nevertheless, given the significant exposure that our customers have to blue-light, we also recommend blue-light filters, as they may help manage the suggested negative effects.