Best blue blockers in style and light filter specs

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)

blue-blockers-logo-reading-glasses-etc

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.

Buy these blue blockers from Reading Glasses Etc. (commission link). See also their budget blue blockers for $29 (commission link).

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

blue-blockers-logo-noir

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:

* 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).


 

Gunnar

blue-blockers-logo-gunnar

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%

Source: Gunnar, f.luxometer.

Buy Gunnars directly from Gunnar (commission link) or from Amazon (commission link).


 

4th: Jins and Spektrum (21/36pts)

 

Jins

blue-blockers-logo-jins

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)

 

blue-blockers-jins-screen-transmission-curve

  • 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

Buy Jins blue blockers directly from Jins or from Amazon (commission link).


 

Spektrum

blue-blockers-logo-spektrum

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)

Source: Spektrum. Pro-50% blue block lens, Elite-99% blue block lens.

Buy Spektrum blue light blocking glasses at www.spektrumglasses.com or at Amazon (commission link).


 

6th: T’aime (23/36pts)

blue-blockers-logo-taime

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.


Disclosure:

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. See their review here.


 

7th: EDGE Eyewear (18/36pts)

blue-blockers-logo-edge-eyewear

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

 

Buy EDGE blue blockers on Amazon (commission links); or view only glasses with Yellow lens, or Amber lens.


 

8th: Blue Block Glasses (14/36pts)

blue-blockers-logo-blueblockglasses

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

blue-blockers-logo-uvex

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.

Sources: Uvex (pdf 798KB), f.luxometer

Buy Uvex eyewear on Amazon (commission links): SCT Orange lens, Amber lens.


 

LowBlueLights

blue-blockers-logo-lowbluelights

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)

blue-blockers-logo-spectra-479   blue-blockers-spectra479-glasses

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)

blue-blockers-spectra479-transmittance-curve-1

Click to enlarge. Source: Spectra 479

 

Buy the Spectra 479 on Amazon (commission link).


 

12th: Gamma Ray Optics (11/36pts)

blue-blockers-logo-gamma-ray-optics

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.

blue-blockers-gamma-ray-optics-transmittance-curve-fluxometer

 

Gamma Rays may be bought at Amazon (commission link).


 

13th: Prisma by Innovative Eyewear (8/36pts)

blue-blockers-logo-prisma-innovative-eyewear

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)

blue-blockers-logo-prisma-melatonin-shades

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

blue-blockers-melatonin-shades-by-fluxometer-spectrogram

Source: f.luxometer

 

Buy Melatonin Shades in their store or on Amazon (commission link).


 

15th: Carbonshade (6/36pts)

blue-blockers-logo-carbonshade

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.


 

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 PrevenciaSmart 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-blockers-logo-essilor

Blue light filtered: Crizal Prevencia ~20%, Smart Blue Filter ~20%, the two combined ~35%

Click on images to enlarge. Sources: Points de Vue (Crizal Prevencia) and Ontario Opticians (Smart Blue Filter)

 

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-blockers-logo-zeiss

Blue light filtered: 15 – 20% (estimate from the spectrogram below)

blue-blockers-zeiss-duravision-blueprotect-transmission-curve

Source: Zeiss


 

SeeCoat Blue Premium by Nikon

blue-blockers-logo-nikon

Blue light filtered ~35%

blue-blockers-nikon-seecoat-blue-premium-transmission-curve

Source: Nikon


 

iBlu Coat by PFO Global

blue-blockers-logo-pfo-global

Blue light filtered: 10 – 15% (estimate from the spectrogram below)

blue-blockers-pfo-global-iblue-coat-transmission-curve

Source: PFO Global


[Update, April 2017]

BlueTech lenses

 

 

BlueTech lenses filter about 20-30% of blue light.

Gunnar-Crizal Prevencia-BlueTech spectral transmittance curves compared

Source: Gunnar (private communication)


 

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

Ps: If you find this post on good and stylish blue blockers useful, please consider LIKING, REBLOGGING, and/or SHARING it below.

 

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7 Comments

    1. karthik: I don’t have first-hand experience with Crizal Prevencia lenses.

      However, it should be really easy for you to check. Take the glasses/lens, take it outside during the day (best if sunny). Hold the lens at arms-length and look at it from the back of the lens (as you would if looking through the glasses. Do you see a blue reflection on the surface of the lens? If you do, that is blue light reflected by the lens. Under the conditions described in the video you’ve mentioned the lens would also reflect blue light (and UV light) back into your eye when you wear them.

      I hope that was helpful!?

      Like

      Reply

      1. Thanks for the reply. Have you heard of Tokai lutina lenses? It is a japanese company and is available in some countries. They claim that their lenses absorb 94% of blue light between 400 nm to 420 nm. What do you think of their lenses?

        Like

      2. Karthik: hi again.

        No, I hadn’t heard about Tokai Lutina lenses. But thanks a lot for bringing up the question!!

        Here is what you can deduce from the spectral transmission curve of Tokai Lutina lenses (source: Tokai Optical):

        It is certainly an improvement over regular lenses with a cutoff at 400nm, as shown on the graph above. No doubt those shortest visible wavelenghts carry most energy.

        But, sunlight blue light spectral power distribution (SPD) peaks at ~460nm (upper curve in the image below):

        It is therefore not surprising that to match the Sun’s SPD our macular pigment (natural blue light filter placed in the eye, right in front of the macula) peak absorbance is at ~460nm.

        (Note also, that our crystalline lens also helps to block a good proportion of blue light below ~420nm).

        Moreover, digital screens peak arround ~450-460nm:

        Now, if you go back to the Tokai Lutina lenses’ spectral transmission curve, you’ll see that at ~440nm its transmittance is above 90% (blocks only 10%) and above 95% by ~450nm. As such it hardly reduces the peak of blue light emitted by digital devices or the Sun.
        However, to reiterate, Tokai Lutina lens is certainly better than a regular clear lens, if you are choosing between these two.

        Like

  1. Thank you for such an informative and detailed post. I just ordered the amber Uvex using your Amazon commission link (they’re cheap, stylish, and 2 day shipping). If I don’t like them then I’ll try a more expensive brand. I’m desperate to get eye relief. I work behind a computer all day and I have serious eye pain nearly every day.

    Like

    Reply

    1. Jeff, sorry to hear about your eye pain! I know it is a desperate situation. For quick relief I recommend How to reduce eye strain: Treatment with heat and cold. It helped me carry on with my work before I started figuring out all the things I write about here on GLARminY (now I don’t need to do the hot and cold treatment any longer :).

      Assuming you suspect that blue light has been causing your eye strain, your choice is reasonable. If you are right you are likely to feel immediate relief due to blue light reduction. Importantly, you’ll know blue light is your problem.

      After some time you might realize you are not completely comfortable with the glasses. This could be because they don’t have Anti-Reflective coating. Then you might be ready for blue blockers with AR.

      Also note that visual comfort for the more computer light* sensitive is a mosaic of many measures which reinforce each other. There are several more things you can do as described in the posts on GLARminY.
      *computer light: all light computer (digital screen) user’s eyes are exposed to independently of its source; light emitted by screens – focus on blue light; indirect glare and reflections from the screen and other surfaces in the field of vision; and ambient office/workstation lighting (artificial and natural)

      I hope blue blockers help you. Let us know how it’ll have gone! And thanks for your support!

      Like

      Reply

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