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Can sunglasses also filter blue light?

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 filter blue light from the sun and your digital devices? It really depends on the lens tint — yellowish tints, for example, filter some high-energy blue-violet light, while darker orange tints may be required to filter lower-energy blue-turquoise light.

What are your options for blue light filtering?

Are there better blue light filtering options than wearing your sunglasses while indoors looking at your digital devices? No doubt you have heard of blue light glasses.

Let’s explore if and when sunglasses make sense to help filter potentially harmful blue light rays, and how you can best keep your eyes comfortable while viewing your digital devices.

Does wearing sunglasses while on the computer help filter blue light?

Most sunglasses are specifically designed to block UV rays and reduce glare. When it comes to reducing blue light to keep your vision comfortable while working at your computer, certain sunglasses lens tints can help reduce the blue light exposure from the screen. 

When shopping for shades that also filter blue light, look for yellow, orange, dark amber, copper or brown lens tints. These colors 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 reduce exposure to both UV and blue light rays.

QUESTIONS ABOUT SUNGLASSES LENS TINTS? Visit an optical store near you.

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 color 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. It is also important to remember that blue light emission can also vary drastically depending on the manufacturer, device, and brightness settings.

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 American Optometric Association, spending too much time in front of a screen that is held too close to the eyes can lead to eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain. 

To prevent or reduce your digital eye strain, it’s best to wear protective computer eyeglasses or minimize your screen time.  

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

Are sunglasses the best way to filter blue light?

Sunglasses do reduce exposure to some blue light. How much? That depends on the tint of your sunglass lenses.

Would blue light glasses, often also called blue light blocking glasses or simply blue blockers, be a better solution? Maybe, but it is important to keep in mind that it is more accurate to say that these glasses filter blue light, and that the amount of blue light that is filtered can differ depending on the tint.

Another option for blue light filtering? Photochromic lenses help you adjust to light indoors and outdoors, protect you from the sun’s damaging UV rays and filter some of the 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 help filter blue light rays. 

But when you’re inside playing Fortnite, looking for jobs online, reading a favorite book or spending hours working on a big presentation for work, blue light glasses or computer glasses are a better way to ensure comfort while using digital devices.

And if you want three-in-one filtering (UV, blue light and bothersome light) all in one pair of glasses (no need for eyeglasses and those easy-to-lose sunglasses), photochromic lenses are worth a look.

WHAT ARE THE BEST BLUE LIGHT GLASSES FOR YOU? Research your options and shop for eyewear at an optical shop near you or at an online eyewear retailer. Blue light glasses typically filter higher energy blue-violet light, with wavelengths from 400 nm to 455 nm, not lower energy blue-turquoise light (465-495 nm). 

Not all products that claim to filter blue light will filter both blue-violet light and blue-turquoise light. Ensure your blue light glasses filter the correct type of blue light for your desired purpose. In addition, not all screens are LED-based and the type of blue light emitted may vary by manufacturer or device setting. And remember, the main source of blue light (including blue-violet light) is sunlight, even indoors.

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