Blue light glasses have become popular over the past few years with the idea of protecting our eyes– but a new analysis shows that they may not be as beneficial to our eye health as previously expected.
The researchers reviewed data from 17 randomized controlled trials — the “current, best evidence” they could find on the topic — and Published the results Friday in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Journal. Findings? Glasses marketed to filter out blue light probably won’t make any difference to eye strain .
“Compared to non-blue-light filtering lenses, we found no short-term benefits of using blue-light filtering glass lenses to reduce visual fatigue associated with computer use,” said Laura Downey, senior author of the review and associate professor of medicine at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor A. at the University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Press release.
“It is currently unclear whether these lenses affect visual quality or sleep-related outcomes, and no conclusions can be drawn about potential effects on retinal health in the long term,” he added. “People should be aware of these findings when deciding whether to purchase these glasses.”
The studies they reviewed ranged in size and length, with five to 156 participants evaluated over varying periods of time ranging from one day to five weeks. More research with longer follow-ups in more diverse populations is needed to better assess any potential effects, the authors said.
“(Further studies) should examine whether efficacy and safety outcomes differ between different groups and whether different types of lenses are used,” said author Dr. Sumir Singh, a postdoctoral researcher in the Downey lab, advising on future research.
Blue light emitted from computer screens and smartphones irritates the eyes. During the pandemic, doctors reported an increase in visual impairments related to computer use, including headaches, frontal headaches, pain around the eyes and pain behind the eyes, as well as eye strain, which can lead to dry eyes and related problems.
Americans also worried about how increased screen time during lockdowns would affect their eyes. As found in a July 2020 Alcon/Ipsos survey 60% of people They said they were concerned about the potential impact.
Sellers of glasses or filters that block blue light have promised a solution — but it’s not the first time experts have cast doubt on their effectiveness.
Optometrist Dr. Robert Johnson said earlier this yearWhile he worries about the impact of screens on our vision, blue light blockers aren’t the answer.
“I would say patients ordered blue-blocking glasses off the Internet for their daughter, which is my point,” he said. “This blue-blocking situation is fundamentally bogus. … It’s one of those absurdities that comes from advertising.”
But even if blue light blockers don’t do anything, they won’t hurt you. In fact, he said, “it does absolutely no damage.”
However, instead of spending money on special shades, experts advise taking curtain breaks.
Dr. Christopher Starr, an ophthalmologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, said earlier.Those glasses aren’t needed for short breaks from staring at the screen.
“It’s important to take breaks, and I think that’s the real key here, not having too many mirrors or filters on your screens,” Starr said.
She recommends taking short breaks from screens every 20 minutes. During that break, look at an object at least 20 feet or more away for 20 seconds or more. Close your eyes for 20 seconds during the break.
Johnson also goes by the “20-20-20 rule.”
“Every 20 minutes, look no further than 20 feet away for 20 seconds,” he said. “It relaxes your focus mechanism, it gives your eyes a rest, and it makes you feel more comfortable.”
—John Shumway and Analisa Novak contributed to this report.