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35 thoughts on “How to Buy Blue Blocking Glasses [that Work]”
Are blue wavelengths proportionally more harmful when the lumens (or lux) increases? Or is it more complicated? The newer LED streetlights that have replaced the old sodium ones concern me, both from a sleep and long-term macula-health perspective. Same goes for the newer harsh LED car headlights. Do you have any thoughts on this matter? I’m concerned we’ll have an epidemic of (even worse) macula related issues in the next 20-50 years because of today’s technological changes.
Do tinted glasses lose effectiveness over time? Dye degradation or something?
I was happy to see Carbonshade on the Filter #0 list. Those glasses gave me my sleep back, something that I lost for about a decade given the uptick in phones and laptops etc. I wonder if people have similar success with the Filter #1 glasses, from a sleep perspective given the green ~570nm that passes through. I am so used to wearing blue blockers that I genuinely feel confused how people fall sleep without them. If I use my phone or laptop at night without blue blockers, it’ll seriously be at least 1am until I fall asleep.
The macula pigment distribution information was fascinating. I’m curious about meso-zeaxanthin. Definitely going to keep reading about this stuff. So informative. Thanks for this post!
Orc, thanks for your comment/questions!
Light intensity is an issue. Your eyes will tell you that – you’ll squint or look away. For any light wavelength, but particularly for blue.
I haven’t seen any research on glasses losing effectiveness over time. So I can’t say 😦
Hi Uroš, thanks for the great info collected in this site. I was gathering similar information to chose a blue blocker glasses when I found your page again.
I would like to recommend two other brands to check:
Blue Shark Optics
They claim that their product filters significant amount of blue light (94.5% 400nm-500nm) without seriously distorting color perception. In this link
they provide spectograms about it, but for me it seems to be too good to be true. What is your opinion?
They have two tints (Nocturnal Red blocks all blue up to 550nm and Daytime Yellow up to 450nm)
Unfortunately I did not find spectogram on their site.
Finally I ordered a Lite tinted Prisma glasses from Innovative Eyeware, listed already in your comparison chart. The brand is at at 13th place in your list, but the info in the table needs to be corrected/updated as they have already four tints (Pro, Lite, Easy, Drive) and the products have anti reflection coating according to their website. On this page they have a table containing the data of the different tints for comparison:
Hi Peter! Great to hear from you again and thanks for this info. You always have useful hints to share :).
The Blue shark optics blue blocker lens seems very interesting. It seems the closest to Stephane’s wish: “I’m still waiting for blue blockers with a sharp cutoff around 450nm…” in the comment below.
Principally, because it blocks most light to about 450-460nm. This tends to be where digital screens (and energy saving light bulbs) emit most blue light.
Very similar to NoIR #50UV 54% Yellow and Tester Filter #3 (see thistable).
Clearly, they do distort color (you can’t block blue light and see it too). But the distortion is focused only on low blue light wavelengths.
Thanks again and best, 🙂
Thank you for this precious information! I’m still waiting for blue blockers with a sharp cutoff around 450nm…
Stephane, thanks for your comment.
Yes, there is not much with those spectral transmission properties in the market. (Is this meant to be a hint for the vendors?)
Perhaps NoIR #50UV Yellow – see this table.
If you want to check what effect such filter will have on you, try our Tester Filter #3.
It is probably the closest to what you want in terms of spectral transmission. (But probably not something you would want to wear in public :)))
Hi, I have been researching for blue light computer glasses. I found your article very helpful. However, when I looked at how you rank the glasses vendor, I found one big flaw; it does not really tell people how good the blue-light lenses are.
A vendor can have thousands of styles, put out spectrogram, with many tints, AR and prescriptions to get a full mark but can offer an extreme lousy blue-light protection. This won’t help consumer like me wanting to buy a good quality blue light protection glasses.
You should add an true technical evaluation of their lenses offering. Dividing into 2 categories, light yellow tint vs. amber tint. Because naturally, amber will protect better yellow tint, but it will look awful. (e.g. Gunnar) You need to compare apple to apple and orange to orange.
Then in each group, evaluate the % of protection for the most damaging wavelength between 420nm – 450nm and rate them according with 100 pts. This will provide a much better and informative review for people.
Hope this help.
John, thanks for your comment! I agree with you that there could be many more ways (perhaps better ones?) of evaluating computer glasses blue blocker lenses. In the design of this overview, only objective measures relevant to number of styles and blue blocking characteristics of the lenses were chosen.
Spectral transmission is the most objective way of comparing blue-blocking characteristics of different filters (computer glasses). It is also what makes all the differences in preventing blue light associated conditions.
Tint is, unfortunately, not as objective.
Would it be helpful if in the review of the article, a column suggesting the tint would be added? I understand there are people who also weigh the look/color of the blue blocker lens in addition to its light filtering characteristics.
Thanks again and best,
Hi Uroš , as you have mentioned, tint is not objective. There are different tints. The main one would be light yellow and amber.. That will give people some ideas. However, as mentioned, the more objective test would be based on the spectrogram. Once you can somehow classify them into the different tint group, then measure the block % from 420nm-450nm.
John, thanks for your suggestions!
I forgot to mention the classification of blue light filters in this table (however, it lists all different filters in addition to glasses, moreover, the classification is only based on transmission). See if you find it useful.
Great information. I have suffered various amounts of photophobia my entire life, sometimes associated with headaches. I spend a lot of my day in front of a screen or two or three. I just got a new iPad Pro and today changed the screen to utilize their built in blue light protection. I felt some immediate relief but don’t know if it is enough. I wear trifocals regularly, also have prescription computer glasses, I’m wondering if any of the companies you have listed have clip-ons? I’ve seen them from one company, but am not sure if they would be adequate? Also, interestingly my optometrist who I have been seeing for years this year commented that my light blue eyes would put me at increased risk for I think night-time glare.
mlaughlinks, please, see this table – among other things it specifies which blue blockers also offer Clip-ons (Flip-ups).
Do Felix Grey glasses actually block blue light to a substantial extent? They claim to be transparent and to have no color distortion. On a similar note, are there any glasses that block/filter blue light but have no color distortion (e.g. have a yellow tinge)?
Clear = minimal % of blue light blocked (for more see this post). In another words, You can’t block blue light and see it too.
However, this doesn’t mean that filters that block little blue light are not helpful – many people find them to solve their problem. So much so, that most of the offering in the market is in this range !?.
Thanks for this post!
In the case of Zennioptical would you suggest using their Beyond UV blue blocker clear lenses or suggest against using them if they might deflect UV?
And what is the best option for UV blocking only (for plastic lenses)?
I mean for day time clear lenses Rx glasses, mainly as a UV protection. If there are better alternatives for this I would be interested too.
According to Zenni (see FAQ) BEYOND UVs don’t reflect UV and blue light but absorb it:
BEYOND UV blue blockers from Zenni are made with a special blue-light blocking monomer (http://uv420cut.com) from Mitsui Chemicals, a global leader in development and manufacturing of ophthalmic lens materials, that is directly incorporated into the lens. (…) By absorbing blue light, this monomer prevents blue light from passing through the lens to your eye.
Based on this information I would say it is safe to say that you shouldn’t have problems with UV and Blue light reflecting from back lens surface back into your eyes. (I haven’t personally tried them, though – so we have to take their word for it).
If you end up getting a pair, do let as know whether they reflect blue light or not! Or can anyone else out there comment on it?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to study UV blocking technologies used by the different brands. However, with respect to your other choices for UV protection, you should be safe, as most lenses today block UV light up to 400nm (the UV400 label). But as you attentively noted, you need to also check whether they block UV through absorption or reflection – as done above with ZENNI’s BEYOND UVs.
A comprehensive review/comparison of transmissions this type of lenses see the bottom part (near Filter 7) of this table.
I hope that helps?
Thanks Uroš Bole for the detailed answer.
In the catalogue of the manufacturer they claim indeed for a full blocking via absorption until 420nn beyond the 400n blocking standart. Now how critical is this extra blocking of 400-420nn? Although It’s not relevant to LED light or sleep problems is it still so valuable for the eye’s health?
Mory, hi again.
Yesterday I forgot to include a link to a spectrogram to BEYOND UVs (that they sent to another visitor to this site) – in case you find it useful.
To your question: That is hard to say. There seem to be no agreement within the scientific community.
Also, it will depend for what issue you want to use blue blocking glasses. In addition to the ones you mention it might be:
– for AMD, until research is more conclusive on what wavelengths are harmful, I would play it safe and try to find glasses that block wavelengths at least up to 460nm. Following this rationale, a cutoff at 420nm (as in the case of BEYOND UVs) is preferable to a cutoff at 400nm.
– for visual comfort – to reduce eye strain, that is very subjective, because among many other things (which largely happen in our brain – and are not well researched yet), it depends on how much blue light your macular pigment blocks. That varies a lot from person to person. Many people report relief in digital screen based tasks even with weaker blue blockers than BEYOND UVs. Perhaps they are the majority (I am guessing based on what type of blue blockers seem to be most massively sold in the market – I have no data for this). But there are others who need a cutoff at 550nm or even beyond.
Personally, I’d take the extra 20nm of blockage. But you may have other issues (unknown to me) in favor of other alternatives to BEYOND UV with a cutoff at 400nm!?
Thanks for the detailed answer!
For my (high) prescription it seems there’s no better alternative to Beyond UV so I’ll try them.
Now when you talk about cutoffs fo AMD you talk about people with risk factors or as a general prevention?
Mory, I am talking about those who were diagnosed with AMD and those who might have some risk factors, for example a parent who has/had AMD.
This is a fantastic resource for blue blocking glasses, especially the spectral filtering information. I can only imagine the huge amount of time you put into compiling this. I am using it to select a glasses designed to prevent melatonin disruption before sleep. Thanks for providing this!
Jonathan, thanks for your kind words – my wish is the info helps you (and many others) find the right solution.
Hi, great info, i wanted to ask about your opinion on Essilor Eyezen, i can only get either gunnars (which are about $300 in my country) or essilor, crizal, etc (the mainstream ones) i’m unable to get jins for instance, tried to order from reading glasses etc but there are power limits so in the end i couldn’t. I noticed smart blue filters out -20%, do you think i could get some releive for eye fatigue and dry eyes with eyezen? Thanks beforehand.
wequendi, thanks for your question!
I wish I could give you a plain answer, but I can’t :(. Each person vision is specific.
Besides, I haven’t been able to find any spectral transmission data for Essilor Eyezen (except: filters at least 20% of Harmful Blue Light from their website. However, it is probably safe to assume that it is not too far from their other products: Crizal Prevencia, or Smart Blue Filter.
– 20% is not very much (but I just had a case of a person who finds great relief with another brand of glasses that also filter such a minimal proportion of blue light!?). You could also assume that, if Essilor makes it, it is probably going to be helpful for a great majority of eyes. The trouble is, we don’t know if your eyes belong to that majority or not!?
– what is “Harmful Blue Light”? Each vendor has their own interpretation of that ?!?
In light of all these unknowns the only way to really know is to try it. But I understand that in your case trying it would cost you quite a lot of money, and you probably can’t return the glasses because they the lenses are tailored to you.
Hence, for this type of cases I’ve been developing a Filter Tester:
It is eyewear (that should also fit over regular glasses), with 8 interchangeable Filters. Each Filter blocks a different proportion of blue light – from very little – just a bit more than a regular, clear lens, to all blue light and more – up to 580nm!
Hopefully it is ready by the end of this month – can you wait that long?
It will be offered in exchange for what people can/want to give, we’ll see if that is sustainable. (To make the Tester and ship it costs US $10).
(If interested subscribe to GLARminY to be notified when Filter Tester is ready).
that’s a great idea, thanks, i just subbed.
i found two more brans today, one is a local brand and the other one is “seto anti blue ray lenses” http://www.setolens.com/glsten/ShowProducts.asp?id=14 their video says it cuts off 380nm-500nm, 35% blue light and 100% UV light protection. What do you think?
wequendi, thanks for this info and question!
The spectral transmission of Seto Anti-Blue Ray lenses might be something similar to SeeCoat Blue Premium by Nikon (see spectrogram above) that also filters about 35% of blue light on that interval.
It is one of the “no color distortion” options. Compared to other blue blockers, it is in the group of those that filter the smallest proportion of blue light (the next step down would be regular clear lens, that filters about 10%). Many big lens manufacturers produce blue blockers in this range, which may mean two things:
(1) this type of glasses effectively help a lot of people (mentioned in my previous reply to your comment),
(2) the manufacturers try to fulfill the ISO requirements for category 0 ophthalmic lenses, i.e., transmittance of visible light over 80% (the ISO 12312-1:2013 standard applies in the EU, other countries have similar standards.
(Such international standards exist to ensure that spectacle lenses do not adversely affect the perception of colour (for example of traffic signals) and to ensure that suitable UV protection is offered to the eye. Recommendations are also given on limitations of the use of certain lenses that block more light (particularly blue light). For example, in night driving wearing of strong blue blockers is discouraged because our night (low-light) vision depends principally on blue light.)
Anyhow, sorry about this long answer – it is not really a digression – I felt it was important to clarify why there might be so many blue blockers that filter relatively small proportion of blue light.
But as always, the only way for you to know 100% if a blue blocking lens will help you, is to try it 😦 … or at least to try a filter with similar spectral trasmission properties :).
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Does crizal prevencia coating on the back of lens reflect Blue light and UV rays into the eyes as claimed by william stacy in https://youtu.be/KCiTMOd7iEw.
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!?
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?
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.
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.
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!
Nick, thanks for letting us know this. I hope they soon send you the glasses or return your money! Do let us know.