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They go by different names, such as blue blockers and gaming glasses. You’ve probably been hearing more and more about them, and about how they can block potentially harmful blue light. But do blue light blocking glasses work? Are they worth the expense?

Here’s a look at what blue light actually is, and what it may do to your vision and your ability to sleep. You’ll also find out whether or not it’s worth your money to purchase lenses specifically designed to block out this type of light.

What Are Blue Light Waves?

Every bit of light – both visible and invisible – emits waves. The visible light spectrum ranges from lower energy waves, such as red light, and higher energy waves, such as blue light. In between, you’ll find green light, yellow light, and many other kinds of light.1

Blue light waves contain a lot of energy. They’re found in ultraviolet, or UV light, from the sun. There are also blue light waves in artificial light, including the kind you’ll find in the LED (light-emitting diode) light that comes from your smartphone, laptop, or tablet screen.2

do blue light glasses work | LCR HealthCan Blue Light Harm Your Eyes?

If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of your day looking at your digital device. That can lead to a problem known as digital eye strain. This can make your eyes irritated or sore, and it can also make it hard for your eyes to focus.3

Blue light waves, which are emitted from your digital devices, reach all the way through your eye, to the retina. There is some evidence that prolonged blue light exposure can damage the cells in the retina, leading to age-related macular degeneration and other serious issues that may lead to vision damage.4,5

Blue Light Exposure And Sleep: How Do Blue Light Waves Affect Your Circadian Rhythm?

It also appears that blue light exposure right before going to bed may make it harder to sleep. Blue light may impact your body’s circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a sort of internal clock. Your body relies on its circadian rhythm to tell you when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.6

Blue light is believed to affect the manner in which your body releases melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep. Your brain will typically start to release melatonin a few hours before you usually go to bed.7

man looking at cell phone during night | LCR HealthThere are two main wavelengths in the brain that control sleep. Delta waves make you sleep, and alpha waves keep you alert. Studies show that blue light suppresses delta waves and stimulates alpha waves.9

So, if you look at a device that emits blue light in the evening, that could delay melatonin production. As a result, it not only takes you longer to go to sleep, you might also get less quality sleep.8

Exposure to blue light during the day, however, may be beneficial. Since blue light blocks melatonin production, it may help you feel more alert.8

How A Lack Of Sleep Can Harm Your Health

businessman staring at computer screen | LCR HealthThe quality of your sleep is crucial for your overall health. Additionally, a lack of sleep can make you irritable, affecting your relationships. You might not even want to perform your typical activities, such as exercising.10

Getting a good night’s sleep may help you learn new things and support your creativity. On the other hand, a lack of sleep can hurt your ability to solve problems or make decisions. It can affect your mood, and it might even increase your risk of gaining weight.11

Getting quality sleep helps your body maintain a good balance between the hormones that control your feelings of fullness and hunger. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may provide excessive levels of ghrelin, your hunger hormone. You may be more prone to overeating as a result.12

Do Blue Light Blocking Glasses Work?

blue light blocking glasses | LCR HealthYou know how important sleep is to your overall health. You also know that blue light exposure might affect your sleep quality and therefore lead to health issues. So, it would be only logical to use something that blocks out blue light, right? Can lenses made to block blue light do the trick, helping protect not only your sleep but also your vision?

According to one study, people who worked night shifts saw an increase in melatonin production when wearing blue light lenses. The study suggests lenses that filter blue light could help keep night shift workers more alert, increasing their productivity in the process.13,14

Another study involved people who either did or did not wear blue light blockers while watching a documentary on their tablet shortly before bedtime. The results showed that the participants who wore the blockers were able to get to sleep faster than those who did not.15

Ways To Avoid Blue Light At Night So You Can Get A Good Night’s Sleep

dimly lit bedroom | LCR HealthSo, do you need to run out and buy a pair of special glasses with filtered lenses to help reduce blue light exposure? Not necessarily. There are several other things you can do before you go to bed to reduce exposure and help get to sleep.

For instance, you can change the settings of your phone or other devices to lower the amount of blue light they put out. You could also change your bathroom and bedroom lighting. Dim red lights emit the least energy and have the lowest impact on your circadian rhythm. Or, you could simply turn off your devices a couple of hours before you go to bed.16

Blue light blockers are popular. If you look at your devices right up until bedtime, blue light glasses might be worth considering. While they might work for some and not for others, they certainly won’t do any harm. Give them a try and see for yourself.

Learn More:

Potential Health Benefits Of Sleeping Well

What Is A Technology Detox And Should You Be Doing It?

Healthy Morning Habits To Start Your Day Off Right