This overview of blue light blocking glasses was motivated by complaints about the poor style among the good blue blockers. Truly, it is impossible to find brands of blue blocking glasses with a deep selection of frames, various blue blocking tints, disclosed spectral transmittance data, Anti-Reflective (AR) coating, and all of that available in prescription (Rx) for those who need it. But some vendors get very close! Hopefully this review broadens your options and helps you find the perfect blue blockers for your taste and blue light filtering needs.
To avoid subjective judgements style and lens’ effectiveness (in resolving specific problems associated with blue light) are not evaluated. We have different tastes, different issues with blue light, and different levels of sensitivity to blue light.
You know best what frame style looks good on you and what specific filter characteristics will help you combat your blue light problem (if you don’t feel comfortable deciding on what spectral transmission properties to choose see: How to pick the best blue filter for your light sensitivity problem).
What’s important is to have a high number of options to choose from, both in frame style and blue blocking characteristics.
Therefore, blue blockers’ frame style was evaluated based on the number of frames a given vendor or brand offers.
Similarly, blue blocking lenses were evaluated principally based on:
- the number of different blue blocking lenses (with different spectral transmittances) offered by a vendor, and
- the quality of spectral transmittance specifications – the highest score in this category was given to those vendors that provide a spectrogram – the best and most transparent way of describing blue light filtering characteristics of a lens.
A more detailed research procedure and grading criteria are available at the bottom of this post.
Disclaimer: My interest in blue blockers comes from my problems with light sensitivity (photophobia), discomfort glare, and computer eye strain.
Disclosure: You can help sustain GLARminY – at no additional cost to you by “donating” a small percentage of anything you buy from Amazon by accessing Amazon here (commission link). Some links below are also commission links, as disclosed. Thanks!
Best blue blockers
Over 30 different brands of blue blockers were reviewed. If they provided absolutely no data on blue light filtering rate of their lenses, they were excluded from further study. Below is a table of the 15 that qualified.
Again, blue blocking effectiveness and style are not being judged by the scores below. The focus is on options provided both in blue blocking lenses and frame styles.
|Pts||Blue blockers vendor/brand||Frame styles (fs)||Tints||Spectro- gram||AR||Rx||Price||Where to buy|
|33/36||Reading Glasses ETC||1000+ fs||7 tints||Spgm||Rx||$29-294||Reading Glasses ETC (commission link)|
|22/36||Gunnar||25 fs||1 tint||Spgm||AR||Rx||$59-424||Gunnar, Amazon (commission links)|
|22/36||NoIR||6 fs||27 tints||Spgm¹||$13-27||NoIR, MaxiAids, Amazon (commission link)|
|21/36||Jins||1200 fs||2 tints||Spgm 1/2||AR||Rx||$20-600||Jins, Amazon (commission link)|
|21/36||Spektrum||7 fs||2 tints||Spgm||AR||$40-56||Spektrum, Amazon (comission link)|
|20/36||T’aime||9 fs||3 tints||Spgm¹||AR||$99-125||T’aime|
|18/36||EDGE Safety Eyeware||15 fs||2 tints||Spgm||$5-50||Amazon (commission link)|
|14/36||Blue Block Glasses||3 fs||1 tint||Spgm||$22-27||Blue Block Glasses|
|13/36||Uvex (safety eyeware)||11 fs||2 tints||Spgm²||$7-50||Amazon (commission link)|
|13/36||LowBlueLights||8 fs||1 tint||Spgm¹||$60-80||LowBlueLights|
|12/36||Spectra 479||1 fs||1 tint||Spgm||$30-50s||Amazon (commission link)|
|11/36||Gamma Ray Optics||21 fs||1 tint||Spgm²||$8-50||Amazon (commission link)|
|8/36||Prisma by Innovative Eyewear||5 fs||2 tints||€63-139||Innovative Eyewear|
|7/36||Melatonin Shades||1 fs||1 tint||Spgm²||$50||Melatonin Shades, Amazon (commission link)|
|6/36||Carbonshade||4 fs||1 tint||$129||Carbonshade|
¹ Spectrogram(s) provided upon request.
² Spectrogram(s) available on 3rd party web sites.
Blue light blocking sunglasses and outdoors tints were excluded from this review and will be evaluated in a separate article (a considerable selection of blue blocking sunglasses may be found in this post).
This overview of blue blocking glasses might motivate their vendors to improve the data they share. So Like, Share, Reblog, etc. to make it known that we care about spectral transmission data of blue blockers we buy.
Blue light filtering specs and more
1st: Reading Glasses ETC (33/36pts)
Reading Glasses Etc. (commission link) is an online optical shop with the best selection of blue blockers both in terms of number of frame styles offered (over 1000) and in terms of the quality of spectral transmission information on their blue blocking lenses.
Each of the 7 blue blocking lens tints they offer is accompanied by a spectral transmission curve, an estimate of the percentage of blue light filtered and –uniquely in the blue light filtering market- the Wertheim Factor, a proposed standard for comparing blue light filters.
Blue blocking lenses by Reading Glasses Etc. are available with Anti-Reflective (AR) coating, or with tint, as plano/zero power, reading powers, or single vision prescription.
Blue light filtered: 42%, 44%, 48%, 59%, 66%, 74%, 81%
Click on images to enlarge. Source: Reading Glasses Etc.
5% discount for 1st time customers – promo code: RGEMOJO5 (use the link above – offered by ReadingGlassesETC upon seeing this post – update Oct 11, 2016)
2nd: NoIR and Gunnar (22/36pts)
NoIR Medical offers six different frames and by far the highest number of different lens tints with a “blue blocker protection” – 27!
Five of these tints are also labeled as GlareShields:
- Filter #465 – 70% Yellow* (click to view frame styles available) – buy on Amazon (commission link)
- Filter #505 – 56% Orange – buy on Amazon (commission link)
- Filter #533 – 35% Amber/Orange – buy on Amazon (commission link)
- Filter #553 – 52% Red/Orange – buy on Amazon (commission link)
- Filter #570 — 39% Dark Red/Orange – buy on Amazon (commission link)
- Spectrograms for four additional key blue blocking tints were added below for your convenience
* the percentages (70%, 56%, 35%,…) refer to the visual light transmission of the lens (confirmed by NoIR in private correspondence).
Source: Private communication with NoIR
Buy NoIR blue blockers at NoIR Medical (should be available by the end of 2016), Maxi-Aids (retail) or Tech-Optics (wholesale). See also their selection of blue blocking glasses on Amazon (links above).
Gunnars might be the best known brand of computer glasses. They offer 25 frame styles in one blue blocking tint that has been very carefully designed to block blue light in the range where digital screens emit it with high intensity (see below).
Blue light filtered: ~ 65%
4th: Jins and Spektrum (21/36pts)
Jins is another interesting brand of blue blockers with 1200 different frame styles and two blue blocking tints (unfortunately spectrogram is available only for JINS SCREEN lenses – see below, but not for JINS SCREEN NIGHT).
Blue light filtered: ~25% (JINS SCREEN), ~60% (JINS SCREEN NIGHT)
- JINS SCREEN – cutoff at about 425nm, i.e. cuts most of blue light below 425nm – see spectrogram
- JINS SCREEN NIGHT – brown lenses that block about 60% of blue light, filters near 100% of blue light below 480nm
Source: JINS, communication with Jins
Spektrum blue blockers are available in seven different frame styles and two tints.
Blue light filtered:
- Pro lens: 50% (yellowish lens)
- Elite lens: “up to 99%” (amber lens)
6th: T’aime (23/36pts)
T’aime offers nine frame styles and three different lens tints all with no power added. They provided the images below to demonstrate blue blocking effectiveness of their lenses. The image on the left shows spectral power distribution (SPD) of light emitted by a computer screen (white background). Subsequent images show SPD of light passed through each of their three blue blocking lenses.
Blue light filtered: 97%, 95%, 85%
Click on images to enlarge. Source: communication with T’aime
The SPD diagrams show that:
- the 97% blue light protection glasses block near 100% of blue light up to ~460nm, let through very little blue light between ~460 and 480nm and steeply increase transmittance beyond 480nm
- the 95% blue block glasses let through a tiny bit more blue light below ~460nm (when compared to the 97% filter) and less light in the upper blue and green area (up to ~550nm)
- the 85% blue blockers expectedly let through more blue light from 400 – 550nm
Buy T’aime blue light blocking glasses from their online store.
after contacting T’aime to obtain their spectral transmission data, they offered to send their Dinodon blue light filter glasses which block 97% of blue light. I received them on September 4.
As of September 29 I’ve been very happy with T’aime blue blockers. Specifically:
- I was surprised to see how much blue light there is still in my black background screen with F.lux running at 2700K, its highest blue light reduction daytime setting
- taking the blue light out makes for a clearer image and increased contrast between the black background and orange text I normally use. Due to this effect I thought the blue blockers had added power, but T’aime confirmed they are regular plano glasses
- AR coating seems important (as compared to my Uvex SCT Orange glasses that block blue light at a similar rate, perhaps a bit more, but have no AR coating)
- they don’t fog up since the lenses on T’aime Dinodon are small, which allows air to circulate between my face and the lenses (this is a big issue for me that previously kept me from using blue blockers for computer work, where I need them most)
- I’ve even been able to work in a room with daylight, windows! and black text on white background! (with F.lux at 2700K) without noticing the terrible computer eye strain symptoms I’d had before in such an environment. Still, if I overdo it the symptomes are back, particularly dry eyes.
- I’ve also noted the symptom of dry eyes has been diminishing in intensity since I’ve been wearing these blue blockers
A couple of negatives:
- when I work next to a window I can see a slight blue-violet reflection of the sky in the lens. That is only if there is a source of blue light behind me and slightly off to one side – the reflection disappears if I put my hands around the lenses, or when I work in my usual glare and reflection free office. For the time being this is not too disturbing, because I don’t work in natural light office too often
- slightly longer temples would make them even more comfortable for me (maybe my ears are too far from my eyes 🙂
In summary T’aime Dinodons improve my visual comfort when working with my laptop so for the time being I will continue using them. (I will revise this if I notice anything else over a longer period of use).
7th: EDGE Eyewear (18/36pts)
EDGE Eyewear offers 15 different safety and sports frame style glasses with two different blue light filtering lenses suitable for indoors.
Blue light filtered:
- yellow lens: at 80% visible light transmission blocks “low levels of blue light”
- amber lens: at 57% visible light transmission blocks “medium levels of blue light” up to about 550nm
Souce: EDGE Eyewear
8th: Blue Block Glasses (14/36pts)
Blue Block Glasses sells three different frame styles with orange tinted lenses (designed to help you control your sleep cycle). As you can see in the spectrograms below the tint of their lenses is very simillar and filters near 100% of blue light up to ~500-520nm.
Blue light filtered: near 100% (400-500nm), over 80% (500-550nm)
Buy Blue Block Glasses at their online store.
9th: Uvex and LowBlueLights (13/36pts
Uvex offers 11 different frames of their protective/sports eyewear with two blue blocking tints.
Blue light filtered:
- SCT Orange – near 100% blue light blocked up to ~550nm with 45% visual light transmission (VLT). f.luxometer data is a bit conservative: cutoff at ~525nm but with VLT ~50%.
- Amber – ~55% blue light blocked at 90% overall visible light transmission.
LowBlueLights offers 8 frame styles with one (orange) tint designed to prevent sleeping disorders.
Blue light filtered: near 100% (up to about 535nm according to LowBlueLights spectrogram, up to about 500nm according to f.luxometer – see below).
Sources: LowBlueLights (as facilitated to potential clients via e-mail), f.luxometer
Buy LowBlueLights blue blocking glasses at their online store.
11th: Spectra 479 (12/36pts)
Designed to prevent sleep disruption Spectra 479 lenses are orange tinted and block near 100% blue light up to about 520nm. One frame style available (see above).
Blue light filtered: near 100% up to 500nm, ~90% (500-550nm – my estimate based on the spectrogram)
Click to enlarge. Source: Spectra 479
Buy the Spectra 479 on Amazon (commission link).
12th: Gamma Ray Optics (11/36pts)
Gamma Ray Optics offers 21 frame styles with one blue blocking tint.
Blue light filtered: ~ 30-35% (estimate over 400-500nm based on the spectrogram below)
Gamma Ray Optics doesn’t disclose spectral transmission data. They qualified for this review based on a spectrogram published by f.luxometer.
Gamma Rays may be bought at Amazon (commission link).
13th: Prisma by Innovative Eyewear (8/36pts)
Innovative Eyewear offers their blue light protection – PRISMA – glasses in five different frame styles and two blue blocking tints.
Blue light filtered:
- LiTE lenses block ~92% (400-500nm) and ~50% (500-550nm)
- PRO lenses filter ~99% (400-500nm) and ~80% (500-550nm)
Buy Prisma blue blockers at Innovative Eyewear shop (in German).
14th: Melatonin Shades (7/36pts)
Melatonin Shades were designed to reduce the risk of sleep disorders caused by blue light. They are available in one frame style and one tint (orange).
Blue light filtered: near 100% (400-500nm), ~80% (500-550nm); estimate based on the spectrogram below
15th: Carbonshade (6/36pts)
Carbonshade blue light filtering glasses are designed to prevent blue light induced sleep disorder.
They offer four frame styles with red-ish lenses that block near 100% of all wavelengths that suppress melatonin production.
Blue light filtered: near 100% (400-570nm)
Buy Carbonshade blue blockers from their online store.
Caution with ordering Carbonshades: see this comment below.
You were recommended blue blockers with:
Essilor’s Crizal Prevencia and/or Smart Blue Filter,
Zeiss’ DuraVision BlueProtect,
Nikon’s SeeCoat Blue Premium
Blue Control by Hoya, or
PFO Global’s iBlu Coat
Essilor, Zeiss, Nikon, Hoya and PFO Global are big lens vendors with widespread distribution networks, so ophtalmologists, optometrists and optics often suggest one of their blue blocking lenses: Crizal Prevencia, Smart Blue Filter, DuraVision BlueProtect, SeeCoat Blue Premium, Blue Control or iBlue Coat.
The spectrograms for their blue blocking lenses (with the exception of Hoya’s Blue Control) are available below.
Although in terms of spectral transmission there are some differences, Zeiss’ DuraVision BlueProtect, Nikon’s SeeCoat Blue Premium, PFO Global’s iBlu Coat and Essilor’s Crizal Prevencia and Smart Blue Filter all block very little blue light.
The blue blocking rate of these coatings is perhaps too modest to have a significant impact on your blue light related condition.
As such they could, perhaps, be recommended to people who don’t suffer any blue light related symptoms, but would like to filter a little blue light as preventive measure or to increase viewing comfort.
Although sold as clear, lenses with blue blocking coating also distort color. The distortion depends on the proportion of blue light they block.
Moreover, their lenses (Smart Blue Filter is an exception) have a coating that reflects blue light (as opposed to absorbing it in the case of tinted lenses). Under some circumstances (when worn outdoors) blue light deflecting lenses may concentrate and increase the amount of blue and UV light entering your eyes (see this 8 min video).
Crizal Prevencia and/or Smart Blue Filter by Essilor
Blue light filtered: Crizal Prevencia ~20%, Smart Blue Filter ~20%, the two combined ~35%
Smart Blue Filter lens can be combined with Crizal Prevencia coating. The blue blocking rate goes up to about 35% (source).
DuraVision BlueProtect by Zeiss
Blue light filtered: 15 – 20% (estimate from the spectrogram below)
SeeCoat Blue Premium by Nikon
Blue light filtered ~35%
iBlu Coat by PFO Global
Blue light filtered: 10 – 15% (estimate from the spectrogram below)
Source: PFO Global
Closing remarks: Research procedure and grading criteria
The data for this overview was gathered in late August and September 2016. It consisted of online search of vendors that claim to sell blue light blocking glasses and a careful review of their websites and other sources.
The final list of 15 blue blockers consists only of those for which some information about glasses’ spectral transmission properties was found. A mere claim that certain glasses block blue light was insufficient. In some cases spectral data was obtained in direct communication with vendors.
I’d be happy to add more blue blockers to the list above. If you know of other good and stylish blue blocking glasses, please, write or comment below! If you are a vendor, please provide the information on:
- the number of different tints
- their spectral transmission info, particularly related to blue light
- the number of frame styles offered
- anti-reflective coating availability
- do you offer blue blockers with prescription
- the price range, and
- a link to your website where this info is available.
Grading Blue blockers’ brands
The maximum number of points a blue blockers brand could obtain is 36 based on the:
- number of frame styles; 1 frame style (fs): 1pt, 2-5fs: 3pts, 6-50fs: 5pts, 51-100fs: 7pts, 101-1000fs: 9pts, over 1000fs: 10pts
- richness of spectral transmission data; spectrogram on vendor’s web site: 10pts, provided upon request: 7pts, provided by a 3rd party: 5pts, other limited data on blue light filter transmission, i.e. cutoff wavelengths or % of blue light blocked/transmitted, 2pts
- number of different blue blocking tints with considerably different spectral transmission properties; 1 tint: 1pt, 2 tints: 3pts, 3 tints: 5pts, 4 tints: 7pts, 5 tints: 9pts, more than 5 tints 10pts
- anti reflective (AR) coating availability: 3pts
- availability of prescription (Rx) blue blockers: 3pts
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