What are suitable eye protection glasses for computer users?

Question: Could Costco Blue Anti-Reflective Treatment be considered beneficial for eye protection glasses for computer users? Do you know if it is equivalent to any part of your blue light filter test kit? I need new glasses so am trying to consider my options. I have been getting some benefit by wearing a pair of old ski goggles with an amber lens while on the computer and watching TV. [This question came from a reader who’d ordered this blue filter test kit from GLARminŸ to find his personal best eye protection glasses for computer use.]

Answer: Unfortunately it is impossible to say anything objective about the suitability of any given blue blocking filter without its spectral transmission data. I’ve checked the link you supply above and found only a vague statement about the transmittance of Blue Anti-Reflective Treatment/Coating and a claim it is suitable for glasses intended to protect eyes of computer users.

Disclaimer: My interest in blue light and eye protection glasses for computer use is due to my problems with light sensitivity (photophobia), discomfort glare, and computer eye strain. I am not a vision scientist.

However, it is my understanding you wish to be able to compare the above mentioned Costco’s Blue Anti-Reflective Treatment glasses with the filters supplied in the Tester kit (which makes a lot of sense).

If you are willing to accept some guessing on my part:

The blue filtering on the Costco blue anti-reflective treatment apparently uses a coating technology, rather than a tint.

One of the characteristics of glasses with a blue blocking coating is that they don’t appear yellow-ish or amber-ish. Instead, they have a slight blue reflection on their outside surface (should never be seen by the user). This is because the coating selectively reflects blue light.

When compared to blue blocking tints, blue blocking coatings tend to reflect relatively little blue light. Almost certainly less than the amber lens ski goggles you’ve been using. Likely also less than the weakest of the Tester kit blue light Filters: number 7, but a bit more than a regular clear lens.

You can find similar products with blue filtering technology based on a coating towards the bottom of the Tester Table, for example (click on the links below to open corresponding spectrograms):
Nikon – SeeCoat Blue Premium (among the lenses using blue blocking coating, this one seems to filter the most blue light)
PFO Global – iBlu Coat
Zeiss – DuraVision BlueProtect
Essilor – Crizal Prevencia

So, if you’ll find Test kit Filter 7 beneficial, you may hope that the Costco glasses with blue AR treatment will help you. If not, you’ll probably want to test stronger blue light filters. Once you find the one that feels best, go back to the Tester Filter Table and see the ones that are listed close to the Tester Filter number that will feel the most beneficial to you.

Note also that weaker filters such as the ones that use blue light reflective coating technology have two important advantages:
– they tend to help a great majority of people to achieve greater visual comfort – that is because most people don’t really suffer from notable blue light related symptoms (at least not yet) such that blocking just a little blue light is enough to make their eyes feel more comfortable. (The tester should help you find if you belong to this group or not, but my guess based on your story with amber skiing glasses is that you don’t), moreover
– they may not only be beneficial as eye protection glasses for computer users but also for example when driving at night – this is because such glasses probably (if this is important to you should check before buying) fulfill the ISO requirements for category 0 ophthalmic lenses and are therefore allowed to be worn in all situations and conditions. Stronger bluelight filters reduce low light (scotopic vision) too much and therefore some countries discourage/forbid such glasses to be worn when driving at night.

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