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Now that many of us are spending more time at home, we’re also logging more hours in front of our screens. Whether you’re clocking in from your WFH office, enjoying additional gaming and TV time, or catching up on e-books, all of that extra time with our tech is also exposing us to blue light, which can strain our eyes and affect our sleep. That’s where blue light glasses come in handy.
After recent shelter-in-place orders, many Americans are also getting more screen time. A recent customer survey conducted by LensDirect found that 74% of respondents are spending more time in front of the computer, and 44% have experienced eye strain as a result. On top of all of that, 20% of their surveyed customers weren’t familiar with blue light-blocking eyewear and why they’re beneficial.
What is Blue Light and Is it Bad?
Just as with UV rays, the sun emits blue light naturally. But electronic screens and energy-efficient lighting also emit blue light wavelengths, which can boost our attention, mood, and reaction times, according to Harvard. That can be an advantage during the daytime, but at night, that light color can disrupt our circadian rhythm (a.k.a. our internal clock) by suppressing the body’s melatonin secretion. Translation: Exposure to more blue light — especially two to three hours before bed — can cause us to get less sleep.
It’s worth noting that eye experts maintain that blue light won’t cause blindness or age-related macular degeneration. As retinal disease specialist David J. Ramsey, MD, PhD, MPH, writes for Harvard, average amounts of blue light from our everyday devices aren’t intense enough to damage the retina.
What Are the Benefits of Wearing Blue Light Glasses?
Blue light or blue screen glasses are outfitted with lenses that limit the exposure to the blue light of our smartphones, desktop and laptop computers, tablets, LCD TVs, and other screens, as well as some lighting. Here are a few benefits of wearing blue light-blocking eyewear:
- Alleviate digital eye strain: Blue light glasses can help decrease eye fatigue and help us feel more focused and productive. Eye strain can also cause headaches and dry eyes, so your glasses can also relieve you from those symptoms.
- Get better sleep: Since blue light can be harmful to our natural sleep patterns, blue light glasses can decrease its impact.
- Reduce the risk of serious health problems: Lack of sleep can contribute to diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and risk of depression. Blue light-blocking lenses (and the benefits of better sleep) can help prevent any sleep-related health issues.
Blue Light-Blocking Coating vs. Anti-Reflective Coating: What’s the Difference?
There are different types of lenses with protective coatings. One is an anti-reflective coating (also known as anti-glare or AR), which helps to minimize the glare from screens and light. Blue light coating is also an AR coating, but it has the added benefit of defending the eye from blue wavelengths. Most eyewear companies can add blue light coating to prescription lenses, so you won’t have to switch between your regular opticals and screen-friendly frames.
What Are the Best Blue Light Glasses Brands?
It’s not just niche brands that are offering blue light glasses these days. The Danish eyewear brand Christopher Cloos just released a new eyewear collection with none other than Tom Brady. The collection includes four pairs of blue light glasses, in a bookish, distinctive design. The company says the frames were all inspired by the quarterback’s “taste for minimalistic, timeless designs and a holistic approach to health and wellness.”
Each frame across the Cloos x Brady line is made from biodegradable materials and comes in a specially-designed glasses case: the inside of each case features six rings, a nod to the number of Super Bowl championships Brady has won over the course of his career. The Cloos x Brady Blue Light collection retails for $179 on christopher-cloos.com.
Looking for other options? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite blue light glasses brands below.
1. Ray-Ban 6346 Blue Light Blocking Glasses
We already have several of Ray-Ban’s rockstar-faved frames on rotation, which is why we love that our go-to eyewear company’s metal browline silhouette get the blue light treatment. Made of lightweight monel, this pair boasts a contrasting titanium bridge and tortoise and gold metal colorway that brings a vintage-inspired finishing touch to your glasses game.
2. Warby Parker
The one-for-one eyewear brand is already a go-to for stylish sunglasses and opticals, and their affordable frames can also be outfitted with blue light-filtering lenses. It’ll cost just an extra $50 and can be added to prescription and non-prescription lenses, so you can upgrade any of Warby Parker’s glasses — including this vintage-inspired rounded silhouette with an opaque-to-crystal fade from the company’s just-launched Studio Edition collection.
3. Gunnar Sheadog Gaming Eyewear
Gamers reach for Gunnar’s blue light glasses to protect their eyes, and these futuristic frames will do just that. The brand’s Sheadog style features lenses with anti-reflective coating and amber tinting that blocks 65% of harmful blue light and 100% of UV rays. If you’re already wearing a gaming headset, then you’ll be happy to know that this ergonomic pair is pretty lightweight and durable, so it plays well with your headgear.
The online eyewear company offers a range of stylish and modern optical and sun frames that can be upgraded with blue light-blocking lenses. We’re partial to these sloped and rectangular glasses, which are made from hand-polished acetate and fit well on narrow faces. The lenses also come with complimentary anti-glare and scratch-resistant coatings.
5. Diff Aiden 50mm Optical Glasses
If you want to protect your peepers while giving back, Diff is another excellent option. The charitable eyewear company’s minimalist Aiden glasses are prescription-compatible and feature a double-bridge design for a sleek look. These oval metal frames measure 50mm and are fitted with adjustable nose pads, so they’ll stay put on your face.
6. Tom Ford Blue Light Blocking Square Optical Glasses
If you’re eyeing Buddy Holly or Elvis Costello’s geek-chic look and have high-end tastes, look to luxury fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford’s vintage-inspired acetate frames. These 53mm glasses are made in Italy and feature a square shape, which looks great on oval and round faces. They’re finished with “T” hardware at the corners for an extra luxe touch.
7. Lensabl Elmer Glasses
These subtle cat-eye glasses offer a vintage-meets-modern touch. In addition to scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, this fashionable frame’s lenses also come with UV and blue light protection, so your eyes are protected any time of the day. If pink isn’t your color, you can also opt for these in black, woodgrain-like honey, or black/tortoise.
Lensabl offers a number of brand-name frames, which you can customize with blue light-blocking lenses at checkout.
8. Swanwick Aviator Day Swannies
If aviators are your go-to glasses, then you’ll want to pick up this gold-rimmed pair by Australian eyewear brand Swanwick. These gamer-friendly frames were designed for daytime clarity, and the glare-resistant, anti-reflective lens coatings also help to reduce eye strain. The company’s products have also been tested by a third party, Sleepscore Labs, which found that its blue light-blocking frames helped to improve the wearer’s sleep.
9. Felix Gray Roebling Glasses
Thanks to the round frame and keyhole detailing, these versatile blue light glasses look great on most face shapes. This pair’s lens width is 49mm, so it’s also ideal for small faces. We also like that the brand — which specializes in computer-friendly glasses — has an array of options for low nose bridges, like this particular silhouette that’s also available in clear and amber toffee.
10. The Book Cub Lizard of Soz Rimless Octagonal Blue Light Blocking Glasses
These one-of-a-kind reading glasses feature a rimless octagonal shape that looks pretty cool in our books. They’re made with special screen lens that cut down exposure to blue light by 30%, so digital bookworms can soak up their favorite books and magazines in digital form with the peace of mind that their precious peepers are protected.