What is Blue Light and is Blue Light Protection Important?

In recent years, we have become increasingly attentive to the impact of extended usage of screens and digital devices on our eyesight. One type of light pollution that has sparked an interest among researchers is blue light.

Researchers have attempted to examine whether blue light impacts eyesight, expressing an increased fear of ocular health dangers1. Based on the findings, studies have shown that eyewear that filters blue light can be beneficial3.

We elaborate on everything you need to know about blue light and its effect on your eyesight in the sections to follow.

What is Blue Light?

Before delving into the effects of blue light, it is essential to understand what it is and where it comes from. 

Essentially, light is classified based on what is coined as the visible light spectrum, seen by the human eye. The visible light spectrum, which ranges from 360 to 720 nm, lies between ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light. Short- (blue), medium- (green), and long-wavelength (red) radiation are terms used to describe visible light. Due to the high photon energy, blue light and UV-A are referred to as "near UV" or HEV (high-energy visible) with blue light spanning the wavelengths of 380 and 500 nm4.

While blue light is a natural type of light, it can also be artificial. Artificial blue light comes from the many technological gadgets that we use and are subjected to on a daily basis4

Recommendations to combat the potential effects of blue light on vision include adequate awareness of the potential effects of prolonged exposure to blue light, along with the use of glasses or contact lenses with blue light filters (such as ACUVUE® OASYS 1-DAY MAX), taking frequent breaks from digital devices, encouraging outdoor use of blue light filtering devices, early and proper management of vision impairment, and increased consumption of foods that enhance eyesight5.

Effects of Blue Light

When it comes to the impact of blue light on eyestrain, researchers have coined the term Digital Eye Strain. Findings from one of the studies conducted among college students in 2023 reported that the Digital Eye Strain, which has symptoms like headache, eye pain, heavy eyelids, redness, watery eyes, increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, disordered sleep cycle, among other eye discomforts, has become a common trend among most long-term users of blue light digital devices. This highlights the critical need to educate individuals about the visual discomfort of the constant use of these gadgets. And once more, everyone must take the proper precautions when using any blue-light-generating equipment like using glasses or contact lenses with blue light filters (such as ACUVUE® OASYS 1-DAY MAX).

LED Technology and Blue Light

The extended lifespan, consistent light output, relative insensitivity to shock and number of ignitions, cold light, and, most importantly, the large energy savings resulting from their remarkable energy efficiency, are all attributes that the manufacturers credit to LED lights. Ophthalmologists find these lamps' twofold drawback of substantial blue light emission (present in the majority of LED lights) and extraordinarily high brightness (about 1,000 times that of a regular lamp), caused by the intensely focused beam, to be the most alarming1

LED lamps are solid-state discharge lamps with a single peak light output (or single "color"). With a single peak that is more harmful as it rises, LED lights cause tremendous damage to the eye1. Fortunately, a technique that combines two phosphors has led to the development of warm white LED lights with a far reduced amount of blue. But, as a result, expenses are high and energy efficiency is significantly reduced with warm white LED lights1.

Blue Light Glasses & Lenses - Blue Light Filter for Optimal Eye Health

Digital device usage has become a necessary component of daily living. Many individuals utilize these tools in practically all professional and leisure pursuits. Additionally, the use of these devices is growing yearly. Numerous research has proposed a link between increased digital device use and symptoms of digital eye strain6.

Therefore, until there are proper advancements in the management of digital eye strain, a rise in the frequency and severity of digital eye strain should be anticipated6. Some of the recommended management strategies include the usage of artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to aid with symptoms of digital eye strain, wearing comfortable contact lenses, and the prescription of specialty lenses for all forms of vision correction, mainly blue light-filtering lenses6.

How Do Blue Light Glasses & Lenses Work?

Blue light glasses and lenses are created expressly to lessen the quantity of blue light that enters the eye7. They are also known as blue light-blocking glasses or light-blocking lenses. Blue light rays are filtered by these lenses, which could help save your eyes from any strain. This is done with the help of special pigments infused into lenses that specifically target specific light wavelengths that need to be filtered or blocked. In order to balance the blue light, blue light lenses typically have a light yellow or green tint; however, this is usually undetectable. In other words, blue light glasses and lenses reduce our exposure to too much blue light and filter it down to the optimal levels (different amounts for day and night). 

Benefits of Lenses With Blue Light Filter

The benefits of lenses with a blue light filter can be invaluable. 

First, these lenses are designed to lessen any potential risks associated with extended exposure to blue light from digital gadgets. These lenses may reduce digital eye strain, which frequently shows up as pain, dryness, and weariness after prolonged device usage, by selectively filtering out a sizeable percentage of this high-energy blue light8.

Incorporating blue light filters into prescription lenses can seamlessly combine vision correction with reduced glare and improved visual comfort. Whether you're working, studying, or simply engaged in the digital realm, these lenses may provide a proactive approach to enjoying comfortable vision. 

In conclusion, it is somewhat impossible for us to shy away from blue light as it may prove to be beneficial9. However, we can take necessary measures to shield ourselves from the potential discomfort, such as utilizing indirect lighting systems which would prevent us from looking directly at blue light sources. Also, changing the way we think about indoor spaces, particularly with regard to the lighting system, is another strategy9. Additionally, recommended strategies include taking regular breaks from digital devices, using blue-light blockers/filters like ACUVUE® OASYS 1-DAY MAX, promoting the use of blue-light filtering devices outside, managing visual impairment early on, and increasing consumption of eye-healthy foods10.

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 Zhao Z. C., Zhou Y., Tan G., & Li, J. Research progress about the effect and prevention of blue light on eyes. International Journal of Ophthalmology. 2018;11(12), 1999-2003.

 Leung T. W., Li, R. W. H. & Kee, C. S. Blue-light filtering spectacle lenses: Optical and clinical performances. PloS One. 2017;12(1), 1-15. 

Gomes C. C., & Preto S. Blue light: A blessing or a curse? Procedia Manufacturing. 2015;3, 4472-4479.

Ndidiamaka O. R., Nwobodo E. O., Onuh M. C., & Ikwuka D. C. Assessment of the Effect of Blue Light on Visual Acuity among College Students. International Journal of Research in Science and Technology. 2023; 13(2), 10-16. 

Coles‐Brennan C., Sulley A., & Young G. Management of digital eye strain. Clinical and experimental Optometry. 2019; 102(1), 18-29.

Hester L., Dang D., Barker C. J., Heath M., Mesiya S., Tienabeso T., & Watson  K. Evening wear of blue-blocking glasses for sleep and mood disorders: A systematic review. Chronobiology International. 2021; 38(10), 1375-1383.

Leung T. W., Li, R. W. H. & Kee, C. S. Blue-light filtering spectacle lenses: Optical and clinical performances. PloS One. 2017;12(1), 1-15. 

Guarana C. L., Barnes C. M., & Ong W. J. The effects of blue-light filtration on sleep and work outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology. 2021; 106(5), 784.

Wahl S., Engelhardt M., Schaupp P., Lappe C., & Ivanov I. V. The inner clock—Blue light sets the human rhythm. Journal of Biophotonics. 2019;12(12), 1-14.