Weekly Wellness: Let's talk about blue light glasses...
COLUMBIA- Have you noticed advertisements for glasses that claim to filter out blue light from computers, smartphones and tablets? Yeah, me too (My husband is even wearing them while playing video games). The advertisements claim that overexposure to blue light can cause problems ranging from dry eye to digital eye strain, sleep disruption and macular degeneration. But here’s the thing: there is no evidence (at this time) that the kind or amount of light coming from computer screens is damaging to the eyes.
There is evidence that some kinds of light exposure can cause eye damage under certain conditions. For example, too much exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun does raise the risk of some eye diseases (including cataracts) and cancer. The amount of radiation coming from computer screens has never been demonstrated to cause any eye disease. The Radiation Protection Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology summarizes current research about computer monitors’ radiation saying “there are no data to suggest a health risk from exposure to the electromagnetic fields associated with the use of monitors.”
Staring at digital screens CAN cause eye strain and dry eyes (due to decreased blinking). You can protect your eyes from strain if you work with computers all day:
- Sit about 25 inches (arm's length) from the computer screen. Position the screen so you are gazing slightly downward.
- Reduce screen glare by using a matte screen filter if needed.
- Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- When your eyes feel dry, use artificial tears to refresh them.
- Adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain.
- If you wear contact lenses, give your eyes a break by wearing your glasses.
At this time, the American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend any special eye wear for computer use.