In an increasingly digital age, we spend more time each day staring at our computers, watching TV and tinkering on our smartphones and tablets. All that screen time can add up to a lot of eye strain, but blue-light-blocking computer glasses can offer some relief.
What are computer glasses and how do they block blue light? What is blue light? What kind of blue light glasses are there? Our guide will help you select the computer glasses that are best for you.
SEE RELATED: What are blue-light glasses and do you need them?
What are computer glasses?
Computer glasses have specially coated lenses designed to relax your eyes while using a computer. These lenses are designed to help prevent digital eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
Prescription and non-prescription computer glasses are available.
Computer glasses should improve your intermediate vision, which is the area around 20-25 inches in front of your face and the optimal distance to stay from your screen.
Not sure if your monitor is far enough from your eyes? If your screen is about an arm’s length away, it’s the perfect distance from your eyes.
FEELING DIGITAL EYE STRAIN? Find an eye doctor near you and schedule an appointment.
What is blue light?
Electronics like your smartphone, computer and TV give off blue light, which can disrupt your sleep cycles make it hard to get restful sleep.
So, if anyone has ever cautioned you to put your phone away an hour or so before bed, they were giving you sound advice.
Computer glasses, similar to the night mode on many smartphones, block blue light to help your body maintain a natural day-night cycle.
Computer glasses also make it more comfortable to look at your screen and easier to focus on the work at hand, no matter what time it is.
What kinds of computer glasses are there?
Computer glasses can be made with different types of lenses (prescription and non-prescription), with different lens tints to filter or block different percentages of blue light, and with different lens coatings (such as anti-glare).
What are the best computer glasses for you? That depends on your overall vision, the type of work you’re doing — and whether you are looking for prescription or non-prescription lenses.
Prescription or non-prescription computer glasses?
If you want your everyday prescription glasses to work as computer glasses, you’ll have to order new lenses or a second pair of prescription computer glasses.
Whether you need single vision or progressive lenses (or bifocals or trifocals), a blue light filter can easily be applied.
If you shop around online, you can find prescription computer glasses for as low as $31, although pricing will vary depending on the prescription strength, lens upgrades and frames you order.
If you don’t need vision correction, prefer to wear contacts or don’t want to shell out for a brand new pair of prescription glasses, “plano” computer glasses (with non-prescription lenses) are an inexpensive way to protect your eyes from blue light.
Online retailers offer many frame styles and tint options to fit your personal style and budget.
Lens tints or coatings?
Computer glasses come in a variety of lens tints and coatings.
Here’s how lens tints and coatings block blue light and ease the digital eye strain caused by hours spent looking at screens at work and at home:
Lens tints: If you’re looking for some serious blue light blockage — we’re talking up to 94% — you should invest in a pair of yellow- or amber-tinted lenses. On the spectrum of light, blue light has a short, squiggly wavelength, whereas amber and yellow have long, loose wavelengths.
Because of this, amber and yellow tints are able to offset and absorb the blue light before it reaches your eyes, which allows you a better night’s sleep and reduces the symptoms of digital eye strain.
Lens coatings: Since tinted lenses aren’t for everyone, there are some clear lens options that also provide blue light protection. Anti-reflective coating is also beneficial for computer glasses because it prevents screen glare from irritating or distracting your vision.
Can I wear blue light glasses all day?
In most cases, wearing blue light glasses all day is harmless.
Blue light can cause a number of eye and sleep issues, but it’s also important for our mental and emotional health.
Wearing computer glasses all day is safe and unlikely to cause any problems, but if you begin to experience mood changes, you may want to save your blue light glasses for your digital screen time.
If you’ve experienced symptoms of digital eye strain, it’s best to see your eye doctor. Get an exam to make sure there’s nothing else causing your symptoms, and ask if computer glasses could help make your workdays more comfortable.