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Will sunglasses also provide blue light protection?

woman wearing sunglasses to protect her eyes from blue light on her mobile phone

Do the same sunglasses that block the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays also shield your eyes from blue light from the sun and your digital devices? It really depends on the lens tint — yellowish tints, for example, provide great blue light protection.

What are your options for blue light protection?

Are there better blue-light protection options than wearing your sunglasses while indoors looking at your digital devices? For example, you may have heard of blue-light glasses... let’s explore if and when sunglasses make sense to shield your eyes from potentially harmful blue-light rays, and how you can best keep your eyes comfortable and safe from overexposure while viewing your digital devices.

Does wearing sunglasses protect your eyes while on the computer?

Most sunglasses are specifically designed to block UV rays and reduce glare. When it comes to reducing blue light to keep your vision crisp and comfortable while working at your computer, certain sunglasses lens tints accomplish both. 

When shopping for shades that also block blue light, look for yellow, orange, dark amber, copper or brown lens tints. These colours work to filter blue light and heighten contrast, making them great for indoor and outdoor activities. 

Your best bet is to ask your eye care provider for suggestions and lens coating options for sunglasses that will block both UV and blue light rays.

What is blue light glare?

Blue light exposure and excessive screen time go hand in hand, but should you only be concerned with blue light glare from your digital devices?

Not necessarily. Blue light is just one colour on the light spectrum that you see on a daily basis, and getting a healthy amount of blue light is actually important for regulating our sleep–wake cycle. 

The biggest source of blue light is sunlight, not your laptop. However, because most people spend far more time in front of screens than the sun, many opticians and health care professionals are concerned about prolonged exposure to blue light and the possible long-term effects. 

Can blue light from screens damage your eyes?

You’re probably aware that staring at your computer or smartphone for hours isn’t exactly great for your vision. But why? 

According to the Association of Optometrists (AOP), spending too much time in front of a screen can lead to digital eye strain which can cause temporary blurred vision. Other signs such as sore and tired eyes, dry eye and headaches are also associated with digital eye strain. 

Aside from temporary irritated eyes and other symptoms, too much blue light can also disrupt your sleep patterns by suppressing melatonin, which regulates your body’s night and day (and sleep and awake) cycles. 

To prevent or reduce your digital eye strain and to maintain a healthy level of melatonin, it’s best to wear protective glasses or minimize your screen time.  

SEE RELATED: What are blue light glasses? Do you need them?

Are sunglasses the best way for blue light protection?

Sunglasses do offer some protection from harmful blue light. How much protection? That depends on the tint of your sunglass lenses.

Would blue-light glasses or computer glasses offer better protection?

Another option for blue-light protection? Photochromic lenses help you adjust to light indoors and outdoors, protect you from the sun’s damaging UV rays and also shield you from blue light from all those screens.

So what should you do?

When you’re outside working on your laptop on the patio or a balcony, your sunglasses can safeguard your eyes from blue light rays. 

But when you’re inside playing Fortnite, looking for jobs online, reading a favourite book or spending hours working on a big presentation for work, blue-light glasses or computer glasses will offer better protection from the blue light rays from digital devices.

And if you want three-in-one protection (UV, blue light and bothersome light) all in one pair of glasses then photochromic lenses are definitely worth a look.

WHAT IS THE BEST BLUE-LIGHT PROTECTION FOR YOU? Research your options and shop for eyewear at an optical practice near you or at an online eyewear retailer. 

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