These days we’re often staring at our computer for eight or nine hours a day – for work and for play – and this amount of blue light can be difficult for our eyes to handle on a regular basis. To see if they made any difference, here at Women Love Tech we tried out a pair of Computer Glasses from a company called BonCharge which filter out 50% of the blue light from your computer and other electronic devices.
After using these glasses, it’s obvious they do make a difference. I found it was easier to sit there doing my work on my computer for long periods of time without feeling drained or with that usual bit of brain fog creeping in. Basically, I felt more comfortable so I think these glasses were filtering out a lot of blue light.
And this raises the question – why is it important to block out some of the blue light we’re getting from our electronic devices? After all, blue light is basically part of the overall light spectrum so what’s the big deal?
Well, Katie Mant, one of the founders of BonCharge, told us there’s certain times when you should block blue light and certain times you shouldn’t. She said: “During the daytime it’s important not to block all of the blue light around you or your body clock will think it’s night time. So, that’s why BonCharge make computer glasses which filter out 50% of the blue light and this makes them the right glasses to wear if you’re inside, during the day, and you’re looking at your computer or other electronic devices.”
But then at night time, Katie said it is important to block all of the blue light and BonCharge makes a range of glasses which do this. In fact, the company makes different glasses which filter different parts of the blue light spectrum at varying percentages – according to what you need at different times of the day.
To explain this, BonCharge (previously BLUblox) has made this video below where they explain what sort of blue-light-blocking glasses you should wear and when:
What’s wrong with lots of blue light?
Blue light is everywhere these days. The sky is blue so this shows us that yes – the sun does emit blue light. The only source of blue light used to be the sun but these days we’ve brought blue light inside in the form of digital devices and screens such as smartphones, laptops, televisions, tablets – and even our house/office lights.
The blue light we get from digital devices is much higher than what we get naturally from the sun. Blue light is a colour in the visible light spectrum and it’s a short wavelength form of light which means it produces more energy than some other wavelengths of light. Wavelengths of light are measured in nanometres (nm) and blue light falls between 400nm and 495nm on the light spectrum.
What’s natural and what’s artificial blue light?
Blue light during the day from the sun can be beneficial to our health and wellbeing. The sun emits blue light during the day which affects our circadian rhythms and makes us feel alert and this usually increases our overall feeling of wellbeing.
Artificial blue light usually comes from our electronic devices and some LED and fluorescent lighting. The reason why a lot more blue light affects our circadian rhythms (body clock) is because we’ve evolved over many thousands of years and during this time, we haven’t seen much blue light after sunset. Think of how our ancestors would have spent their evenings, around a red and orange glowing campfire. They wouldn’t have had smartphones or artificial light sources which beamed out blue light.
What can we do about this?
It’s important to filter and block blue light at different times of the day but you also should also make sure you get lots of natural light during the day. Another thing to keep in mind is that too much blue light has been found to be a cause of digital eyestrain (see study here). So by wearing a pair of glasses which block a lot of this blue light, you may be able to lessen the effects of digital eye strain.
The blue light which has been found to possibly cause eyestrain is in the range between 415nm and 455nm or what’s known as ‘short wavelength blue light (see this study here). The symptoms of digital eyestrain include dry eyes, headaches and fatigue. It’s definitely this short wavelength blue light which comes from our favourite digital devices such as smart phones, laptop computers, tablets and even overhead lighting.
Another potential hazard of blue light is the fact that blue and green light between 400nm and 550nm, has been shown in studies to be disruptive to melatonin production and so this disrupts our sleep. This is because blue light during the day makes us feel alert but after dark, it still keeps making us feel alert and this means our body doesn’t produce the melatonin we need for good quality sleep and this is not good on a long term basis (see study here).
So to block all the blue light at night, BonCharge make glasses called Blue Light Blocking Glasses. These glasses have red lenses and block blue and green light between 400nm and 550nm. This means you get no blue light – or very little – and your body will start to make more melatonin and this can improve the quality of your sleep.
There’s been research carried out which has shown this to be the case – for example, see this study here. This study shows that light between 400nm and 550nm (all blue light and most green light) can interfere with melaton in production and impact our sleep negatively. By wearing amber or red lens blue light bocking glasses, it’s more likely you’ll be able to get better sleep, according this study.
Glasses with red lens may help your sleep
Participates in some other studies who wore red lens blue light glasses saw a significant improvement in their sleep quality.
The usual glasses we get from other glass shops can sometimes have a blue light filter but this usually blocks out a percentage of the blue light such as 30%. Some other brands of blue light glasses also don’t block the light between 400nm and 550nm, so if you’re interested in this type of glasses, make sure you opt for a brand that does block all the light between 400nm and 550nm – especially if you’re after blue light blocking glasses to help with your sleep.
These glasses are classified as ‘medical devices’
The blue light glasses made by BonCharge are classified as medical devices in Australia and are FDA registered for the USA.
As well as glasses, you can also reduce the amount of blue light you’re exposed to after sunset and during by using lights in your home or office which don’t give out much blue light – such as these here – Low Blue Light Lighting and here – Blue Light Blocking Lighting.
Another great tip to block blue light when you sleep is to simply use a sleep mask that doesn’t apply any pressure to your eyes and this will often give you a better sleep.
To find out more about the full range of blue blocking glasses, visit Bon Charge here.
For more from Women Love Tech about blue light, visit here.