CAN YOU WEAR BLUE LIGHT GLASSES ALL DAY?
It's no secret that blue light glasses are now widely available as a means of protection from the possible harmful effects of extended blue light exposure. While the natural blue light everyone is exposed to in the great outdoors is just a part of living on planet Earth, there is also manufactured blue light exposure from fluorescent tube bulbs, computer screens, phone screens, and LED TV screens. These items emit blue light radiation that can interfere with sleep cycles and increase eye strain. Blue light glasses are meant to help reduce the amount of exposure time to blue light, but many people often ask whether there is a best or worst time to wear blue light glasses. Read on to discover the answer to when you should wear blue light glasses and when using them can do more harm than good.
When is the Right Time to Wear Blue Light Glasses?
There is a best time to wear blue light glasses and a time when you shouldn't wear blue light glasses. Follow along to discover the answer to the questions, can you wear blue light glasses all day and when should you wear blue light glasses to maximize their effectiveness?
The right time to wear blue light blocking glasses - time of day
The short answer is that blue light blocking glasses should be worn anytime you look at a screen or spend time under light bulbs that emit blue light. In particular, being exposed to these blue light sources after it's dark outside should be avoided.
The reason for the timeframe is that our bodies use blue light exposure to help regulate our sleep-wake cycle ( circadian rhythm). Everyone's sleep cycles, mood, and stress levels are at their best when they exercise, eat healthful foods, and get enough sleep. All of these functions need to happen in a 24-hour period and are influenced by the person's environment and lifestyle.
Those who miss out on quality sleep because they are exposed to long hours of artificial blue light are significantly more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, mood disorders, high-stress levels, and more.
The right time to wear blue light blocking glasses - protection factor
Not all blue light blocking glasses are created equal. Unfortunately, some lenses offer more or less protection than others. The protection factor of blue light blocking glasses plays a role in how much exposure you have to blue light-emitting devices.
A hint of the protection factor is the color of the lens. The amount of protection offered will be useful, depending on your lifestyle and personal protection needs.
- Clear and blue-tinted lensesMost will block only 35% of blue light but our lenses will block up to 99%. This is useful for those who work on screens, but need to be able to see and judge real colors, such as graphic designers and gamers.
- Amber tinted lensescan offer up to 65% protection from blue light. This tint will minimize screen glare and strain because they offer protection from the harshest rays in the blue color spectrum, including high-intensity blue light and 100% of UV light.
- Orange tinted lenses offer a higher degree of protection, ranging up to 95% protection. These lenses are best for people who are facing long terms of exposure to artificial blue light sources (i.e., screens and fluorescent bulbs), such as those who work night shifts.
- Red tinted lenses provide the highest level of protection. They filter 100% of all blue light as well as green and violet radiation. It can feel like the lights have been dimmed when using these glasses, but green and violet rays are also a concern regarding sleep disruption. These are the best option for anyone wanting to avoid multiple light spectrums to optimize their sleep cycle and minimize eye strain. They are particularly useful for anyone who is considered high risk, such as those with macular degeneration who are already experiencing decreasing vision and want as much protection as possible to avoid early blindness.
When Shouldn't You Wear Blue Light Glasses?
There are a few precautions to take when deciding whether to wear blue light blocking glasses as well as when to wear them.
When deciding on the best blue light blocking glasses, your lifestyle and blue light blocking needs are crucial factors.
You now know that red-tinted lenses will block as much as 100% of blue light as well as green light waves and UV radiation. This level of protection is necessary for people who spend a great deal of time outdoors in harsh bright environments.
For example, those who work ski lifts and teach ski classes are not only exposed to bright outdoor light but spend time in an environment where light is reflected and radiation is magnified, causing significant ocular damage quickly. People with this level of light exposure will want to ensure the highest level of protection.
It's also worth noting that those who work the night shift with four or more hours of exposure to artificial blue light will experience sleep disturbances and risk higher stress, depression, and anxiety. By significantly limiting overnight exposure with strong protection, such as red or orange-tinted lenses, you'll be optimizing your health and minimizing risk.
Most clear lenses only offer at most 35% protection. While these allow painters, graphic artists, and other professionals who need to be able to see true color as they work prefer these lenses. However, wearing these lenses after the sun has gone down will mean you are still experiencing a great deal of eye strain from artificial blue light sources. More than six to eight hours of blue light exposure is problematic, so switching to lenses that offer more protection at night is vital to your physical and mental health.
Can You Wear Blue Light Glasses If You Have Certain Conditions?
Blue light radiation can cause eye strain and sleep disruption when you get too much of it, particularly when you are exposed to artificial blue light waves after dark when your body is trying to regulate your body's natural rhythms.
However, there are a few tips regarding some conditions and the use of blue light blocking glasses.
- Those suffering from depression or similar conditions can actually benefit from daily doses of sunlight. Wearing blue light blockers that significantly reduce light exposure may limit the mood-boosting, medically beneficial reasons to get some time under natural blue skies.
- Those with macular degeneration are advised to wear strong sunglasses throughout the day, including time spent inside if they are in a bright room. These directions from your doctor are meant to minimize and slow deterioration. While blue skies are good for your mood in small doses, those with this condition will want to be extra careful and extremely diligent about protection.
- Those who wear prescription eyeglasses full-time will often choose to add blue light blocking filters to their lenses. This will help when spending great lengths of time on blue light devices during the day. For more night-time protection, consider buying lenses with heavier blue light blocking properties such as our blue Armor Lenses and combine these with a blue light blocking coating.
While blue light blocking glasses are a popular device for those looking to find relief for eye strain and improve their sleep, there is more to this solution than meets the eye. Be sure to choose lenses that suit your lifestyle and take your risk factors into account.
Some conditions lend themselves to more or less protection. Tinted lenses offer different levels of protection. And how you use your glasses will limit or enhance your protection factor.
Clear and blue, amber, orange, and red lenses all have a function that is best applied according to the level of protection you need from the outside environment as well as your exposure time on blue light-emitting screens and light bulbs. Time of day is also a factor because the body uses cues from natural blue light sources to help regulate the body's cadence.
Check with your retailer about the level of protection your blue light glasses offer. And always check with your ophthalmologist if you have health concerns and want to implement blue light blocking glasses into your protection toolbox.
Michelle LievenseHealth Science Writer
Michelle is a contributing writer for Overnight Glasses. Much of her career as a veteran content writer has been in the health and science fields. While writing for Overnight Glasses, she has drawn on her background to bring to light the latest science on the design and engineering behind better vision. When she isn’t tapping away at her keyboard, she can be found hiking with her dog, gardening, or reading with a cat by her side.