These days you’re either part of the 43% of Americans who have a job that requires prolonged computer use, or you’re just one of the rest of us who voluntarily stares at a social media feed all day. Either way, you’re probably getting way too much screen time, and it’s not great for your eyesight.
Digital eye strain is real and it’s getting worse. Around 65% of Americans report symptoms like dry eyes and headaches due to looking at screens, and this has increased by 7% with each passing generation.
The real villain here is blue light. Blue light is a high-energy light emitted by the screens we use all day long. While it makes screens more energy efficient, some claim that this kind of light can be bad for your health in high doses.
It’s important to note that many mainstream scientists, like some at the University of Alabama, suggest that blue light from your phone or computer screen is not particularly dangerous and mainly can help contribute to eye strain. Other studies claim to link this spectrum of light to more painful eye strain, disruption in sleep cycles, and even macular degeneration, which I’ve seen my grandmother suffer from first-hand.
The current leading cause of vision loss, Macular Degeneration, occurs when the central part of your retina starts to deteriorate, leaving you with only your peripheral vision. It affects over 10 million Americans today, and is a truly devastating condition.
Luckily, there’s something that can help you avoid it: blue light glasses.
Yep, now you’re going to be sorry you called that kid four-eyes in second grade….
If you’re one of the ⅓ of Americans who happens to spend 8 hours (or more!) in front of a screen every day, you might want to check out what Felix Gray, Warby Parker and Zenni’s Blokz have to offer. We’ll dig into these three optical fashion brands to see which one offers better protection for you (and your budget). We’ll also answer the bigger question: are blue light glasses from companies like Warby Parker and the others even worth buying at all?
But first: Why is blue light so bad for your eyes?
Remember when you learned about the light spectrum back in highschool? Let’s revisit that briefly.
The sunlight that we see is made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. When you mix all of that together, we see white. Each color uses a different amount of energy and has a different wavelength. Blue rays, for example, have shorter wavelengths and more energy. When you’re looking at a screen, such as your mobile phone, laptop, or even looking at a fluorescent light, a lot of the light can appear to be white, but is actually largely made up of blue light, thus exposing the eye to the end of the spectrum that is blue.
Just light a bit of sunlight here and there is good for you, so is blue light. Blue light boosts your alertness and regulates your circadian rhythm, helping you fall asleep each night and wake up each morning. And this spectrum of light is crucial to the development and growth of our vision, so don’t raise your kids in a cave. Seriously, let your kids go outside and experience the sun, it’s good for their eyes in the right doses (but don’t look at the sun, you know that!)
But just as it helps us, some of the science suggests that it can be detrimental. Too much exposure can disturb your sleep and wake rhythm, and some scientists believe can lead to damage to your retina. (Of course, you could just stop staring at your computer all day – but then you’d probably also be out of a job, or miss your friends super-important Instagram post, so…)
So are blue light blockers actually helpful?
Blue light glasses essentially put a filter over whatever you see to help block some of this particular spectrum of light that’s coming into your eyes. While there is little research that suggests that these glasses actually help digital eye strain, a lot of people who spend hours on the computer each day have reported relief when using this type of light blocking glasses.
So, which blue light blockers are best: Felix Gray or Warby Parker or Blokz by Zenni or eyebobs?
Best Blue Light Glasses: Felix Gray vs Warby Parker vs Blokz by Zenni vs eyebobs
|Starting price||$95||$145 (+$50 to any frame you choose)||$16.95 to $59.95 add on to glasses purchase||$89.99|
|Material of frames||Italian acetate||Cellulose acetate||Acetate, metal and others||Italian acetate, wood, and metal.|
|Available for non-prescription glasses?||✔️||✖️||✔️||✔️|
|Donation for every pair you buy||✖️||✔️||✖️||✖️|
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Now that you have a general sense of how each brand compares, let’s dive into the nuances of each.