By Nancy Bowne
Remember those girls in fifth grade who wore glasses as an accessory? “They’re a fun style,” they said. Yeah, right. As a kid who would eat carrots in the car on the way to the eye doctor’s appointment to try and fend off the need to wear glasses (which worked until I was 11), I found this very confusing.
But we’re seeing this “trend” of non-prescription glasses coming back — this time to protect our eyes from screens. Blue light glasses are intended to block the “blue light” that’s given off by computers, phones and laptops. Based on visible light, blue light can be beneficial in receiving Vitamin D, according to Science Daily, considering its close proximity to ultraviolet light on the electromagnetic spectrum. But don’t go thinking you can get a tan or avoid your daily walk of sunshine by going on the screen more. Screens also can lower our melatonin levels, according to The Huffington Post, making it harder to sleep or throwing off our sleep cycles.
This semester, I’ve been clocking in 11 plus hours a day looking at a screen, and I’ve never felt drowsier. In fact, you begin to notice that you don’t even blink! Other symptoms of long screen time include tears and headaches. I first heard about blue light glasses from some peers that use them. So we create a new technology as a solution to null the effects of our already present, dangerous levels of technology — if that’s not the most human thing I’ve ever heard.
“Blue light blocking glasses have specially crafted lenses that are said to block or filter out the blue light given off from digital screens,” according to The Cleveland Clinic. “The lenses claim to protect your eyes from glare and can help reduce potential damage to your retina from prolonged exposure to blue light.”
As for appearance, they generally look like normal glasses, with the exception of the lens at times. When you are on a video call or looking into a mirror, they are highly reflective and you can’t really see your eyes that well, so I’d suggest not giving your blue light glasses a guest appearance on Zoom.
Overall, I’ve been very happy with blue light glasses. One night, I didn’t think of putting them on and immediately felt more fatigue and overwhelmed by the screen. So perhaps they do work! Not much research has been done in the effectiveness of blue light glasses, but if you can find an affordable option, it’s worth trying.
Maybe we shouldn’t be condoning and normalizing 11 plus hours of computer time, but honestly, in this day and age, finding strategies that help you stay focused and sane is the best form of self-care.