Many people these days are investing in special eyewear that claims to protect eyes from the effects of staring at digital screens for several hours a day. Some of the touted benefits include blue-light filtering or blocking, fewer screen-related headaches, and even better sleep.
What are computer glasses?
Unlike your regular prescription eyeglasses that are designed to correct refractive errors (such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism), computer glasses are typically used to block or filter out blue light emitted from computer screens.
Lenses on these glasses often have a special anti-reflective coating that reduces the glare from your screen, or the lenses may have a slight colored tint to increase the contrast without you having to bump up the brightness of your screen.
Some computer eyeglasses are designed not just to combat blue light, but to help you see better in what’s called the “intermediate zone” — the typical distance from your eyes to your screen. These glasses may slightly magnify things on the screen to help you see better.
Are computer glasses recommended?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has officially stated that it doesn’t recommend blue-light blocking glasses, and cites a lack of evidence that the light coming from our screens is damaging to our eyes.
The truth is, we were already living with blue light long before screens entered our daily picture. Most blue light comes from the sun, but shorter wavelength blue light is emitted from televisions, as well as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
Even though the light emitted from our digital devices has not been shown to cause or contribute to eye disease, there’s no question that staring at screens for several hours can lead to eye strain or fatigue. Many people have reported that using computer glasses has provided relief from eye strain symptoms, and even some eye care professionals recommend them in certain instances.
Should you use computer glasses?
With opinions split about whether or not blue-light blocking and other computer glasses are effective or not, what does that mean for you?
Our number one recommendation is to talk to your eye doctor to find out what he or she recommends. If you get a lot of screen time and are struggling with symptoms of digital eye strain — such as tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches, or dry eyes — your eye doctor will want to know what you’re experiencing. He or she will want to rule out any other vision or eye health problems, and can likely make recommendations about optimizing your screen placement and workstation setup for your eye comfort.
Another tip that just about every eye care professional will agree with: Be sure to give your eyes a break now and then with the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend looking at the screen, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Do you experience symptoms of computer-related eye strain? Contact us for an eye exam and to learn about possible fixes. Our number one goal is to help you make sure your eyes and vision are as healthy as they can be.