Every day, I am asked, "Is blue light harmful for my eyes? Should I get blue blocking eyeglasses?"  The simple answer is that there is no scientific evidence that the blue spectrum of light prevalent in digital devices such as cell phones, tablets, and computers, is harmful to your eyes.  The discomfort that many people feel after spending a significant amount of time on our screens, especially from working from home, is really digital eye strain.  This is because research has shown that when we are on our devices, we blink less and our eye muscles tire.  If we are over 40 years old, extended periods of close work is tiring because our eyes do not focus well up close after age 40, hence we need reading glasses if we are not naturally nearsighted.

What is true is that blue light affects the bodies circadian rhythm - that's the scientific term for our natural awake and sleep cycles. Too much blue light late at night from our cell phones, or computer can make it harder to get to sleep.

For those who are still doubtful, the largest source of blue light is not our digital devices, but sunlight. Other sources can be fluorescent lights and LED lights.  

Some studies even suggest that not enough exposure to sunlight in children could affect the growth and development of their vision.  Not getting enough sun could also increase the risk of nearsightedness in teens and young adults.

The best way to protect your eyes against eyestrain from your devices is to take regular breaks using the 20 – 20 – 20 rule. Every 20 minutes or so, shift your eyes to focus at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. If they feel especially dry, you can use artificial tears which you can get for free from our office on your next visit or get over the counter at your local pharmacy.  

In summary, skip the eyeglasses that claim to protect your eyes against blue light because of the lack of evidence that they are effective at anything other than draining your wallet of cash.

Todd J. Bragin, MD FACS, FAAO Dr. Todd Bragin graduated from SUNY Stony Brook, Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated the highly ranked Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. After completing his internship in General Surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC he did his specialized residency in Ophthalmology at St. Vincent's Hospital/Medical Center of NY, where he was was Chief Resident in 1985. He has completed many postdoctoral courses and specializes in Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Advanced Cataract Surgery, Refractive Surgery, and Glaucoma. He his a Fellow of the American College of Surgery and American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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