Computer glasses have become increasingly popular over the years since the advent of Visual Display Units (VDUs) and more people are spending longer hours in front of a screen than they used to be as we step into the Digital Era.
So what are computer glasses?
Computer glasses, simply put are glasses with coated lenses that are designated for people who spend a great amount of time using a computer. And strictly speaking, such glasses are not just limited to computer use but any other electronic devices with a display screen such as smartphones and tablets.
They can be easily identified by the blue/purple-ish glare or reflection on the lenses. Computer glasses are also very commonly known as blue-filter or blue-blocking glasses in Malaysia and Singapore. In brief, these are the the glasses that are often marketed as capable of ‘eliminating’ the high-energy ‘harmful’ blue light from VDUs.
There are, however, 3 things that you really want to know before making such purchase.
1) There’s not yet an established evidence that blue light is detrimental to the ocular health
Although studies have shown that long exposure to the high levels of light from a display screen can disrupt your sleep patterns and cause eye strain symptom, there’s not yet a well established evidence that can prove such exposure to blue light will increase your risk of getting eye diseases like cataract and age-related macular degeneration.
Yes, there are some laboratory studies that show long exposure to the short-wavelength, high-energy blue light can cause damage to the light-sensitive cells in retina but the evidence is simply very limited; in fact, such evidence is rejected by Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the Uk.
2) A big optical chain in the UK was fined for exaggerating the dangers of blue light in their advertisement of computer glasses
So you know that ASA and other prominent regulatory bodies like Association of Optometrists do not currently endorse the dangers of blue light to the HEALTH of the eyes simply because there’s not yet a very well established evidence that can really prove so.
So you really do not have to be too worried about the effect of long exposure to blue light on your eye health. However, if you are still apprehensive about that, I’d strongly suggest you to get your eyes examined by an optometrist routinely. After all, everyone, whether or not you think your vision is okay, should get their eyes examined AT LEAST every years (or at a different frequency as advised by your eye care practitioner based on factors like age, genetic predisposition etc).
3) So computer glasses are merely a hoax?
Well, not really. Because several studies have shown that long VDU use could potentially disrupt your sleep patterns and cause digital eye strain. So although we currently cannot tell if blue light is really harmful to the ocular health, we can at least conclude that digital eye strain is a real problem. Hence, computer glasses that block out some BUT NOT ALL wavelengths of light can at least mitigate digital eye strain.
Better than nothing after all, right?
Read more if you want to learn the best ways to mitigate digital eye strain here.