- Instagram influencers are promoting trendy blue light-blocking glasses that claim to minimize eye strain, but there is minimal evidence of their usefulness.
- According to The Atlantic, companies that sell blue light-blocking glasses suggest a relationship exists between digital screens and eye strain.
- In reality, eye strain can be caused by a number of other factors.
- Blue light blockers can help people fall asleep easier after a day’s worth of screen time.
Instagram influencers are known for promoting everything from weight loss supplements to beauty products and now. Now some influencers are promoting blue-light blocking glasses despite the lack of scientific evidence surrounding their efficacy.
Blue light blocking glasses can help people get a better night of sleep, but research has yet to prove these glasses can prevent or decrease screen-related eye strain.
According to The Atlantic, some influencers – individuals who grew their followings through social media – are being recruited by Diff Eyewear to sell their blue-light blocking glasses, saying the glasses will protect wearers from “headaches, blurry vision, poor sleep and long-term retina damage” that blue light causes. Former Glee actress Jenna Ushkowitz has posted on Instagram touting the benefits of the specs.
On Diff Eyewear’s website, the company describes the blue light glasses with the text, “Filter out the active blue light before it causes any more damage!” They go on to explain that blue light isn’t anything new, but “the more we’re in front of screens, the more we expose ourselves to its damaging effects.” The company also says strong blue light waves come from digital screens like laptops, phones, and TV screens and their product “diffuses harmful rays” from these devices.
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Feelin smart and sophisticated in my new @diffeyewear glasses ???? did you know that blue light is everywhere around us and can cause headaches, blurry vision, poor sleep and long-term retina damage?! I had no idea and now I’m freaked out ???? thankfully @diffeyewear launched a collection of blue light-blocking frames that make you look good and feel even better. Use code ‘LAURENB’ for 25% off your order! #DIFFPartner #DIFFusetheblue
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I ordered a pair of these amazing glasses from @diffeyewear with the blue light blocking frames. They look like regular fashion frames but I feel even better. Did you know that Blue light is all around us and it’s known to cause headaches, blurry vision, poor sleep and retina damage?! Thats why i’m so excited to wear these blue light blocking frames while i’m scrolling on my phone or working on my computer for long hours when i’m writing. Use code TBD for 25% off a pair for yourself! Trust me, its worth it! #DIFFpartner #DIFFusetheblue
Blue light blocking glasses can help you get to sleep, but that’s as far as the benefits go
Unlike what Diff Eyewear’s product descriptions suggest, blue light glasses won’t help with eye strain you experience during the daytime. The trendy spectacles could still potentially help you get to sleep faster, since blue light interferes with the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.
During the day, there is no need for blue light-blocking products, since blue light can actually help with attention, reaction times, and mood, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But at night, when your body should be naturally slowing down, blue light-blocking frames can be of assistance.
“If you’re looking at your screens late at night, there’s a lot of blue in there, and then your body doesn’t adequately produce melatonin,” Raj K. Maturi, a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, told The Atlantic.
In fact, a 2009 study in The Journal of Biological and Medical Rhythm Research found amber lenses blocked blue light and, in turn significantly, improved sleep in the study’s participants.
There is a rise in eye health deterioration and eye strain, but blue light isn’t to blame
In 2010, 2 million Americans had age-related macular degeneration, a condition that causes people to lose their central vision due to retina damage, in part from blue light. Although there has been a rise in macular degeneration, screens aren’t to blame. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), an aging population is a major factor in the rise of macular degeneration. Additionally, blue light comes from sources other than screens, like the sun and energy-efficient lighting, according to Harvard Medical School.
There’s a rise in reports of eye strain too, with 59% of American adults saying they experience symptoms of eye strain (like dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision), according to The Vision Council.
There isn’t, however, a direct relationship between eye strain or eye damage and how much time you spend looking at a digital screen. Rather, “eye strain is about the disparity between the things you want to look at and the natural focusing of your eyes, and how long you do it,” Adam Gordon, a clinical associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, told The Atlantic.
If you want to prevent eye strain, skip the blue light glasses and use tried-and-true solutions
Dr. Rahul Khurana, clinical spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, says preventative measures and treatment for blue light are unnecessary until more research is done. “If we start jumping from the lab to making policy or to making recommendations, that’s something we have to be careful of,” Khurana told Business Insider in a previous interview.
Instead of shelling out for a pair of blue light specs, consider some research-approved ways to prevent and decrease eye strain, like blinking often, taking breaks from screen time, enlarging screen type sizes for easier reading, and using artificial tears if needed, suggests the Mayo Clinic.
Diff Eyewear did not immediately reply to INSIDER’s request for comment.
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