Do photochromic lenses block blue light?
Do photochromic (transition) lenses block blue light? Yes, but blue light protection is not the primary reason people use photochromic lenses.
Most people buy photochromic lenses to ease the transition from artificial (indoor) to natural (outdoor) lighting. Because photochromic lenses have the ability to darken in the sunlight while providing UV protection, they eliminate the need for prescription sunglasses.
Plus, photochromic lenses have a third benefit: They block blue light — both from the sun and from your digital screens.
TALK TO AN EYE CARE PROFESSIONAL ABOUT PHOTOCHROMIC LENSES: Book an appointment with an eye doctor near you.
Photochromic lenses block blue light from screens
Are photochromic lenses good for computer use? Absolutely!
Although photochromic lenses were designed for a different purpose, they do have blue light blocking capabilities.
While UV light and blue light are not the same thing, blue light can still be harmful to your eyes, especially through prolonged exposure to digital screens and direct sunlight. All invisible and partially visible light can have negative side effects to your eye health.
Photochromic lenses protect against the highest energy level on the light spectrum, which means they also protect against blue light and are great for computer use.
SEE RELATED: Computer glasses: Relieving computer eye strain
Side effects of blue light
Blue light, emitted from the digital screens we’ve become so attached to, not only causes eye strain (which can lead to headaches and blurry vision) but also disrupts your sleep cycle.
In small amounts, blue light can actually offer positive side effects, like helping you get better sleep, but most of us don’t practice moderation when it comes to screen time.
Here’s a comprehensive list of the side effects of blue light:
Cataracts: You may have heard that sun exposure can lead to cataracts, but blue light also produces the same cells that lead to this vision-debilitating eye condition.
Macular degeneration: Blue light can also cause retinal damage, which has been linked to macular degeneration.
Dry eyes: When you look at digital screens, which emit heavy doses of blue light, you blink less often (even less so if you wear contacts), causing insufficient moisture production in your eyes.
Digital eye strain: Constant blue light exposure can cause strain on your ciliary and extraocular muscles.
Blurry vision: When your ciliary and extraocular muscles weaken, it can cause your vision to blur. The slackening of these muscles is a side effect of digital eye strain, caused by blue light.
Headaches: The strain to see when your eyes are fatigued and your vision is blurry can also cause headaches.
Insomnia: There’s a reason it takes you so long to fall asleep after playing on your phone in bed — and it’s not just that the content is stirring. Blue light can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Restless sleep: Even if you’re able to fall asleep in a relatively short amount of time, blue light can rob you of the vital rest that sleep should provide.
When you wear photochromic lenses, you’re not just reaping the benefits of convenience; you’re guarding your eyes against detrimental over-exposure to blue light.
READY TO PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM BLUE LIGHT? Shop for photochromic lenses at an eyewear retailer near you.
Page published in March 2020
Page updated in October 2021