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Do Blue Light Glasses Help with Headaches?

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A woman with blue light reflected on her glasses from a screen.

If you’ve ever used screens, digital devices, and LED lights, you’ve likely experienced some form of digital eye strain. Digital eye strain usually occurs due to the intense focus needed for screen work and the less-than-ideal viewing distance of digital devices that lead to eye fatigue. With this fatigue often comes headaches.

How can you help avoid this? Can blue light glasses help?

More research is needed to determine whether blue light causes headaches and if blue light glasses can help. Oftentimes it’s not blue light itself that causes headaches or eye strain but the way we use digital screens.

If you’re experiencing headaches while using digital screens, talk to your optometrist for personalized relief recommendations. 

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is visible light with a short wavelength. It’s primarily emitted by the sun but is also emitted by many modern devices, like:

  • Cell phones and tablets
  • Televisions
  • Computer monitors
  • LED lights
  • Some fluorescent or CFL light bulbs

Blue light causes our bodies to naturally suppress melatonin to stay awake. Exposure to blue light boosts attention, reaction times, and mood, which is ideal when we’re awake and doing things. However, it does the same thing at night when we’re trying to wind down by watching videos on our phones. 

Blue light affects many parts of the body, like your metabolism, your circadian rhythm, and your eyes. It may also indirectly contribute to other problems, like digital eye strain.

What Is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a group of eye and vision problems caused by extended screen time, computer use, or exposure to bright lights. When looking at screens, your eyes need to work harder to focus on what they’re seeing, often leading to straining and eye fatigue and a host of other issues. 

Digital eye strain often causes:

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes or irritation
  • Eye fatigue or strain
  • Discomfort or redness, in and around the eye
  • Watery eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain (caused by poor posture often associated with extended computer usage)

Alongside these, digital eye strain can also cause headaches. 

The eyes and the brain are closely linked, so when a problem develops with one, it can lead to problems with the other. 

What Are Blue Light Glasses?

Blue light glasses are specialized eyewear that reduce or block blue light from entering your eye. They use a protective coating or a yellow or amber tint to reduce how much blue light passes through the lenses.

These lenses may help reduce eye strain, dry eyes, and fatigue often caused by extended screen use by making things on the screen easier to read and reducing how hard your eyes need to work. They can be especially beneficial for people who spend most of their time using screens or working under LED lights. And these glasses are offered in both prescription and non-prescription!

However, experiences may vary. While many people find these glasses can help reduce symptoms of digital eye strain, others don’t. It’s important to speak with your optometrist and schedule a comprehensive eye exam so they can determine whether or not digital screens are causing your headaches.

When Should You Wear Blue Light Glasses?

If you work on a computer or around bright lights, you can wear blue light glasses during the workday to help reduce eye strain. But you can even wear these specialized glasses in the evening while watching TV or relaxing with your smartphone. Your body needs to begin producing melatonin a few hours before bedtime. Blue light glasses can block blue light from your TV and smartphone, helping your body prepare for sleep. 

A man sitting in an optometrist's office and looking into a machine that tests his vision.

Blue Light Glasses in Toronto

While these glasses can offer some relief, it’s important to note that they’re not a guaranteed solution. 

If you’re considering blue light glasses to solve your digital eye strain, your first step should be to visit an optometrist. They can perform a comprehensive eye exam and determine if digital eye strain is causing your headaches or if there may be another cause.

Schedule an appointment with us at See and Be Seen Eyecare in Toronto. Our caring team of professionals is here to help answer your questions about digital eye strain and provide personalized solutions.

Written by Dr. Ritesh Patel

Some people grow up wanting to be a famous athlete, an astronaut, or even the Prime Minister of Canada. Dr. Patel’s childhood ambition was to be an Optometrist. His dream leads him to live and practice all over the world, but his heart has always been in Toronto.

Dr. Patel was born in Toronto and grew up in the Markham area. After completing his Bachelor of Science in 2003 from the University of Waterloo, he went on to study at the prestigious New England College of Optometry in Boston, MA.

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