Computer Glasses - More Fiction Than Fact? (Part 2 - The Glasses)

By ah | Leopard | 7 Sep 2019


Staring at screens for hours a day might not be the healthiest activity for human beings and sadly, also not optional for many of us. If you, or someone you care about, suspects that looking at computer screens or artificial lighting in general causes you eye or health problems, and you are looking for possible solutions, this second part of this 2-part article (Part 1) is for you. So without further ado...

Part 2

What I find concerning is that most companies make wild claims about the benefits of their glasses, but fail to provide any data about the light filtering qualities of their products. How is a consumer supposed to know what they are getting? Well, maybe they are counting on the placebo effect...

Let us look at a few examples, in no particular order, starting with Time to Shade, a clever name, offers a variety of glasses and styles geared towards prescription eye wear and sunglasses. However, they also sell blue light blocking lenses without a prescription. If you buy an inexpensive frame and add basic blue light blocking lenses you end up with a pair of glasses for just over 50 bucks. I ordered a pair and well, they were cheap glasses, disappointing.

Pixel

Next I looked at Pixel. Pixel has an appealing-looking website with a variety of stylish glasses to choose from, prescription, computer glasses and reading glasses. Pixel's selling point is relief from digital eye strain, more specifically eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurry vision and headaches by blocking blue light with lens technology that does not distort color combined with an anti-glare filter. Prices start at USD 75.

Felix Gray

Felix Gray, just like Pixel wants to safe you from digital eye strain's symptoms, eye fatigue, dry eyes, headaches and blurred vision with clear lens technology filtering out blue light with the highest energy wavelengths of 400-440nm. In addition to what they call optical glasses, you also have a choice of sunglasses and, what they call, sleep glasses that filter out wavelengths of 440-500nm that might interfere with melatonin production. The sleep lenses appear to have a slightly yellow tint and the company recommends to wear them after sunset or from getting home to going to bed.

What I like about Felix Gray is (1) that they provide a bit more information about what you are actually buying and what their glasses are supposed to do, but more importantly (2) that they offer the option to add magnification of +0.25 to your 'computer glasses' without needing a prescription. Of all the companies I looked at, Felix Gray seems to have the right idea and at least understand the concept behind computer glasses. Prices start at USD 95.

TrueDark

TrueDark offers the solution to junk light, that is in their own words 'over-exposure to artificial light at the wrong time' to help you sleep better, reduce digital eye strain, headaches, stress and anxiety, and this is where it gets interesting, even menstrual cycle disruption, weight issues and anxiety disorder. The section on their website titled 'The Science' offers lots of links to scientific papers and well, some not so scientific ones. Interestingly some of the scientific papers mentioned don't actually support their claims, I guess they didn't expect anyone to actually read them?

Sarcasm aside, to their credit they are clear about which wave lengths their glass actually block, TrueDark Twilight blocks 98% of wavelengths below 590 nm, the Daywalker variety blocks about 75% of wavelengths between 370 nm and 500 nm and the Clear Daywalker glasses block 40% of the same spectrum. Prices start at 89 USD and I might mention that the style and tint of their glasses require secure personalities to wear their products...

BluBlox

BluBlox an Australian company, offers three different tint options, from blue light, to summer glow and sleep+ with the blue light glasses addressing digital eye strain and macular degeneration filtering out the 400-495nm spectrum, summer glow defending agains mood disorders, anxiety and again, macular degeneration filtering out the 400-450nm spectrum and finally sleep+ addressing sleep problems, jet lag, macular degeneration but also aiding sport recovery, and even ADHD by filtering out the 400-550nm spectrum. On their website the blue light option looks clear, summer glow yellowish and the sleep+ outright red. As their company name suggests their purpose is to filter blue light, but you can add prescription lenses, or magnification. Prices starting at around USD 100.

Gunnar

Finally I looked at Gunnar. The company is the only patented gaming and computer eyewear company recommended by doctors to protect, and get this, enhance vision! They are all about reducing digital eye strain, blocking blue light, helping you sleep better, of course preventing dry eyes and minimizing glare. They offer gaming, computer and sun glasses that can be clear, amber, amber max, clear transition, amber-transition and dark to protect your eyes from the sun. According to a graphic on their website they filter out more blue light than their competition HyperX, Felix Gray and Pixel. They cleverly forgot to mention BluBlox... Prices start around USD 70.

Computer Glasses

Computer Glasses are the latest hype and they are advertised under a myriad of names from the simple computer glasses to blue light blockers and everything in between, just as their designs go from rather dorky to outright stylish. I have even found one company advertising them as sleep aides. I guess with enough imagination you could get there and the advertising industry has never been short on imagination. Their relationship with facts, however, seems more strenuous...

Interestingly all companies I looked at use the term computer glasses rather loosely, interchangeably with blue light blocking glasses, probably for search optimization purposes. The real purpose of computer glasses is to allow your eyes to relax when you spend many hours in, what is for your eyes, an unnatural position, focusing on a screen at a fixed distance. This has nothing to do with blue light blocking lenses, but of course you can combine these technologies and who knows, maybe this achieves a better overall result.

Conclusion

The danger of blue light emitted from our digital devices appears to be more hype than fact. In fact, after 2 weeks of researching this topic, I found little conclusive evidence supporting the claims manufacturers are making. However, if you are spending many hours in front of digital devices on a daily basis, or in front of extremely bright screens, and you are suffering from eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurry vision, difficulties sleeping etc... investing in a quality pair of glasses to alleviate these symptoms might be a good idea and could potentially be a cheap remedy, especially when you add optical magnification.

The amount of blue light filtering varies from manufacturer to manufacturer with many of them giving you no data to even compare what you are getting with their competition. For many websites filtering blue light seems to be merely an afterthought. If you are concerned about sleep, your best bet is probably blue light blocking glasses, the dorky tinted version in the 'stylish' frames, you can wear at home after sundown. There is sufficient evidence to suggest a positive correlation between blue light and melatonin production, hence a possibility to improve the quality of your sleep; then again, maybe it isn't the blue light that keeps you awake at night, maybe it is the horror movie you watched just before bedtime that's keeping your mind running in overdrive, just saying…

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ah
ah

Writer, physician, traveler, scientist, techie, entrepreneur, thinker, separating fact from fiction. Independent Thinker


Leopard
Leopard

Cheekily looking at the world around me, politically incorrect, scientifically grounded.

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