I’d be lying if I said I was ever bored from chilling on Netflix, playing games, or just hanging out on social media. And I know there are millions of people spending the best part of their days doing the same thing.
As you might already know, this behavior slowly damages our eyes due to the blue light that digital screens emit.
Luckily, the solution couldn’t be any simpler. You can conveniently wear blue-light-blocking gaming glasses in order to enjoy hours and hours of strainless gaming.
How do they work? And what are your options? That’s what we’ll discuss in this article.
Before we get to the actual protective equipment, we must take a brief look at the danger from which we want to protect ourselves.
What's the problem with blue light?
Most of us use backlit devices for the vast majority of our day. Think about it. We check our phones in the morning, use our computers at work during the day, and watch Netflix in the evening at home. That’s a lot of exposure to something that our ancestors spent thousands of years without. So what kind of effect is it having on our health?
Blue light plays an important role in our circadian rhythms. Early morning light (natural blue light) is actually beneficial, helping us become more alert and signalling to the body that it’s time to be awake, thus resetting the natural body clock.
There are claims of increased cancer risk and a host of other illnesses from high levels of exposure to blue light. But there’s little evidence for this and it’s not worth stressing over at this point. This is all new science and we need more tests to prove the long-term negative effects but many studies show that light from screens and other blue light-emitting devices can be harmful.
A 2018 study in the International Journal of Ophthalmology found that “screen reading can lead to the occurrence and development of poor eyesight in schoolchildren, and the higher incidence of nearsightedness correlates with the increase in the length of the screen reading time”.
The study also found that “blue light is associated with the formation of dry eye” and that “blue light can indirectly cause inflammatory reactions and photoreceptor cell damage after the destruction of the blood-retinal barrier”.
The study recommended that “when we use blue light rich products at night, approved anti-blue light glasses or screen cover may be a good choice to avoid blue light-induced injury”.
Blue light is beneficial in the right amounts
Blue light isn’t all bad. It’s naturally present everywhere around as through sunlight. It’s important for setting our circadian rhythms, boosting attention, and enhancing mood. That’s why doctors always suggest spending more time outdoors with your whole family.
However, we didn’t evolve into being exposed to blue light 24/7. Back before digital devices, it was only limited to the daytime. Moreover, we rarely look directly into the sun or even near it. This way, we took the benefits of blue light and didn’t get to know its dark side.
It can also be harmful
Today, we spend the major part of our day staring at our 6-inch smartphones and 15-inch computer screens. Although they appear white, they actually use LEDs with peak emission in the blue light range (400–490 nm).
Our eyes are helpless to block blue light
Unlike any other wavelength, the structure of our eyes isn’t capable of blocking the blue light. That said, blue light exposure is almost guaranteed to induce effects on everyone.
Since blue light is meant to induce energy, looking at digital screens before bedtime will negatively affect the depth and quality of your sleep.
Without getting into too much detail, this disease leads to blurry vision, decreased color perception, and even complete loss of eyesight.
Blue light can strain your eye muscles
When you stare at a screen for more than one hour, your eye muscle will start to fatigue, which causes a digital eye strain. This condition typically results in headaches, blurred vision, and neck/shoulder pain.
Blue light is also linked to the following problems:
Frankly, it’s shocking to know that all these problems come from a form of light! This fact is actually the worst of all since you can never expect it on your own.
How to block the blue
First of all, let’s be clear. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Dimming the lights in your home may help. Reducing screen time, especially at night, will definitely help.
To show the extremes that some people go to in order to reduce the effects of blue light, take the example of bio-hacker and founder of the Bulletproof Coffee brand, Dave Asprey. Asprey is a big fan of using red lights and red-tinted glasses in his family home. Living in a house with lighting that appears to be from a nightclub might sound like the worst thing ever. But for Asprey and his family, it’s worth it. Reducing blue light at night has improved the quality of sleep, the moods, and the energy levels of the entire family.
Other use carotenoid supplements to improve eye health. Again, there’s little evidence proving Carotenoid’s effectiveness. But what is known is that this antioxidant can be converted in the body into vitamin A, an essential vitamin for eye health.
But you don’t need to kit your house out like a photo developer’s studio or consume expensive supplements. Blocking harmful light doesn’t have to be difficult. Of course, there more blue light you block at the right times, the better. And in this way, Asprey’s red-lit house works. But for the average person, looking to sleep better and prevent eye strain, blue light blockers are the easiest, most economical, and safest way to make a massive difference.
How do gaming glasses help?
Simply put, computer glasses provide the blue light filter missing in our eyes. They filter the harmful wavelength only, allowing you to enjoy any other color normally.
Some computer eyewear also makes the screen a little bigger without messing with the resolution. This is helpful to decrease the amount of work your eyes have to do in grasping small details.
Are these glasses only for gamers?
Definitely no. If you spend your 8-hour workday in front of a computer, you’ll absolutely need blue-light-blocking glasses. After all, blue light is produced by the LEDs in our screens, regardless of what we’re doing.
Although gaming glasses and any other blue-light-protection eyewear are built on the same scientific principle, they can have some minor differences in the design.
Designed to look cooler
Gamers love looking epic. They usually spend a lot on their overall gaming setup for that reason. They’d never wear something that looks the slightest bit lame, even if it protects them.
Therefore, the frame of the gaming glasses is typically more colorful with some additional accessories.
It’s not only about the looks, though. If you already wear gaming glasses, you’ve probably had a hard time wearing headphones.
Bulky temples either pinch on your skin or push the headphones away from your ear. Thus, gaming glasses should have nearly flat temples.
You can do whatever you like, that’s for sure. But if you’re working in a job with face-to-face customer service, clients won’t probably take you seriously with deeply-tinted, hipster glasses.
So, working glasses are often made with minimal tints or even clear lenses. Similarly, the frame and temples are designed minimally with stress on professionalism.
Blue light blocking glasses for sleeping?
Wait, sleeping glasses! Are we supposed to wear them when we sleep? Thankfully, our eyelids and sleeping masks are more than enough for this matter.
Instead, they’re made to be worn exactly before bedtime. Whether you’re reading an e-book, sending some emails you forgot, or chatting with your loved ones, these glasses will provide extra protection to allow for the most peaceful and satisfying sleep.
How? Well, unlike gaming and working models, sleeping glasses are occasionally equipped with a more pronounced orange tint. The more tinted the lenses are, the more it’ll block blue light.
To make sure you’re 100% protected, their frames usually wrap around your face, much like the swimming glasses.
Subscription glass wearers can benefit
It’s estimated that 75% of American adults wear different forms of vision correction. If you’re wearing prescription glasses, reading glasses, or contact lenses, you shouldn’t settle for over-the-counter gaming glasses.
If you do, you’ll end up protecting yourself from blue light while harming your eyes in a more serious manner.
You can head to your local eyewear store to make prescription glasses with tinted lenses. It’s also possible to do it online if you already have your prescription on you.
However, it’s worth noting that this option will likely cost you a lot of money. If you’re restricted on budget, you should try clip-on glasses.
As the name implies, these glasses have nothing but two lenses and a bridge. They’ll fit over any prescription glasses regardless of their shape or size.
I’ve seen some people opting for fit-over products to wear over their reading glasses. Let alone their unnatural appearance, they might cause headaches and blurry vision due to the differences in focal lengths.
Moreover, you might end up scratching your main glasses with these bulky alternatives.
As you probably know, Apple released their Night Shift feature on iOS and Google’s Android has a nighttime function. At specific times set by you, your phone screen can reduce the blue tones and increase red tones on the screen. That sounds great. But it doesn’t really work. At least in the case of Apple (and most likely other phones and devices), Night Shift mod does not reduce melatonin suppression. At least not enough to make a difference. Use these device modes in conjunction with blue light blocking glasses, but not as a standalone “solution” to insomnia.
Summing it up
Blue light is naturally beneficial. But once you start spending 8 hours per day in front of digital screens, it’ll definitely rear its ugly head. Never underestimate its effect, as it can lead to macular degeneration and, eventually, blindness.
While wearing blue-light-blocking gaming glasses will filter out the harmful wavelength, it’ll be better if you also adjust your habits.
Try to decrease the time you spend in front of digital screens. Also, try to keep your eye away from the screen by 20 inches, to say the least. Moreover, take frequent breaks to relieve the accumulated strain.
Your eyes are your most precious asset, they’re definitely worth the effort!