Are Blue Light Glasses Worth the Money?

Many patients ask me about the benefits of Blue-Filter Glasses. 

For years, most surgeons avoided the question as the data was unclear on its benefit. Within the last couple of years, and particularly during the COVID pandemic where millions are exposing their eyelids skin, eyes, and face with many hours of blue light, most eye doctors and even eye surgeons are acknowledging a possible benefit of using blue-filter glasses when using any electronic screen that emits blue light. 

The issue is that blue light can be absorbed by the macula (the part of the eye that sees the world), the lens (ie where a cataract forms) and the eyelid skin (ie red blood vessels on the surface of the skin likely absorb blue light.

There are no randomized, controlled, perspective studies on the benefit of blue light glasses/filters. It could take years to prove a benefit. In the meantime, kids could have cumulative damage that manifests itself years from now. For now, I am recommending blue light filters/glasses for my family. 

Here is some more information on the best types of blue light glasses and coatings for glasses. 


The Best Blue-Light Glasses – NYT

  • “There’s not a lot of rigorous standardization with the lens manufacturers themselves,” said Dr. Sunir Garg, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and a professor of ophthalmology at the Retina Service of Wills Eye Hospital. 

  • Many retailers sell lenses with a blue-light-blocking filter that can scratch and fade over time, though prescription retailers usually have higher standards and bake the blue-light technology into the lens resin. 

  • If you’re curious about blue-light-blocking glasses, we think it’s smart to start with a cheap pair to see if you notice a marked improvement in your sleep or less eye strain (although there’s no guarantee). 

    • You can always upgrade to a longer-lasting pair later.

  • When you’re ready for an upgrade, The Vision Council, which represents optical manufacturers like EyeBuyDirect and Zenni, said buying prescription glasses from a professional with medical-grade blue-light-blocking lenses is the safest bet. 

    • And if you want to confirm the results for yourself, you can ask them for a spectral report, which details how much light and at which wavelengths their lenses actually block.

  • A July 2019 study in Optometry and Vision Science found no correlation between price and advertising claims when comparing the efficacy of cheap ($3), medium ($40), and high-end ($350) blue-light-blocking glasses and sunglasses, so don’t assume you’re getting stronger blocking ability by spending more

Spectral Evaluation of Eyeglass Blocking Efficiency of Ultraviolet/High-energy Visible Blue Light for Ocular Protection

“Ultraviolet and high-energy violet light–filtering efficiency varied and did not correlate with price or advertised claims”

  • Promotional sunglasses (tinted polycarbonate) blocked 100% ultraviolet and 67 to 99.8% high-energy violet blue light. 

  • Retail sunglasses filtered out 95 to 100% ultraviolet A and 67% high-energy violet light. 

  • The tested designer sunglasses varied widely in their optical transmissibility with respect to their ultraviolet A and high-energy violet light–blocking properties, with some not blocking ultraviolet A. 

  • Clear and colorless Kodak Total Blue provided maximal high-energy violet protection, whereas clear Essilor Crizal Prevencia provided less high-energy violet blocking between 400 and 450 nm.

A big thank you to Faith Keane for this post.

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