There’s only one way to know which blue light filter will work for you: By testing.

Unfortunately, blue blocker testing has been an expensive process. In time and money. (Unless you live near a low vision agency that lends blue light filters for testing).

To find the optimal filter for you, you might have to:
– test one, two, three…?
– and test each filter for hours, days, (sometimes) a week
until you find the one.

But here is the kicker:
GLARminŸ Tester can guide you through the entire blue light filter shopping process. This is how this blue light filter test kit looks like:

Bluelight filter test kit

And, yes, the Tester also works over prescription glasses!

It’s simple:

– get the Tester kit (US$20, worldwide shipping included)
– test different blue light filters — if none of the 8 Filters works, blue light is not causing your problems!
When you find the Filter that works best:
– order the most similar blue light filter (glasses, fit-overs, flip-ups, screen protectors – all from this table)

That’s it!

User from the USA:  I just received the tester. Within 20 minutes, it was clear that the “0”s are the best for pain blocking, but my visual acuity is degraded, as expected.

I’d gone to some great neurologists and optometrists in California and paid a lot of money to try to solve my light sensitivity problem, with no success…  I get your test kit and I get immediate relief. I should get a refund from the doctors and send it to you!


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In case you want to know more, here is what follows:
– research and experience on blue light filter testing
– blue blocker testing – the old way
– the blue light filter test kit
– best way to test with the Tester
– find and order the best matching blue blocker
– care & use instructions


 

It is the wild, wild west … of blue light!

Vendors often try to convince us that their blue light filter is the answer. Many use the bad blue light vs. good blue light argument. That is an oversimplification (not based in research nor experience).

Now, here is what you find out as soon as you read more than one report (or promotional text) on the effects of blue light:

There is absolutely no agreement on what specific frequency or frequencies of light to attenuate, nor how far to attenuate said frequencies. Further, every manufacturer seems to have their own particular interpretation of “blue light”, and how they choose to “manage” it varies wildly.

This was posted in 2014 by an optician on a forum for eyecare professionals. The same is true today!

Bottom line:
You’ll know if a blue light filter works for you if you test it.

User experiences confirm it (see here, here, and here).

And so do top vision scientists: “We still know too little to make predictions” [Measuring and using light in the melanopsin age. (2014)].

NOTE: Blue light might not be your problem. Some people need blue light for visual comfort!? If you don’t find relief with any of the Tester Filters, you can start looking at other causes.

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Blue light filter testing (the old way)

The task of choosing the right blue light filter is overwhelming. There are:
– many different blue blockers on the market,
– many different problems caused by blue light,
– more or less aggressive artificial lighting setups, and
– different ways different people respond to similar light stimuli.
So, you cannot expect that the first blue blocker you buy will work for you (without testing it first).

TIP: Make sure you check the vendor’s return policy before ordering a blue blocker.

Blue light filter testing works for any condition:

– visual discomfort
– computer eye strain
– dry eyes
– headaches
– eye strain from office lighting
– insomnia
– migraine
– benign essential blepharospasm (BEB)
– traumatic brain injury (TBI)
– photophobia/light sensitivity
– discomfort glare
– age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
– low visual acuity
– poor distance vision
– low contrast sensitivity
– etc…

The two ways you can test blue light filters (the old way) are:

1. Buy a filter. See how it affects you. Keep or return.
2. Find a nearby eye doctor’s office (ophthalmologist or optometrist) or a local blindness/low vision agency that stocks and lends blue light filters for testing.

NOTE: Your first impression of a blue light filter may be misleading. Some conditions (insomnia, migraines, AMD …) need more testing time. Plan on trying each filter for a while.

The two testing options can lead you to find your perfect blue blockers. But they have important downsides:
– buying and returning blue blockers may be a long and stressful process,
– testing at an office/agency only works if you live sclose to one.

GLARminŸ Tester solves these drawbacks.

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GLARminŸ Tester

Out blue light filter test kit is eyewear (glasses or over-glasses) with a set of 8 blue light filters. The filters block from very little to all blue light.

Bluelight filter test kit - wraparound fit

The Tester includes links to 80 blue blockers (glasses, over-glasses, screen protectors). All with known spectral transmission data.

User from the USA:  An amazing selection of filters!

The table matches a GLARminŸ Tester Filter with similar commercial blue blockers.

Cardstock frame blocks out most of the unwanted, unfiltered light from the sides.

With an easy adjustment to the temple length, the Tester fits larger and also small heads. For example, this 6-year old:

Bluelight filter test kit - fits a 6 year-old

And, if you wear prescription glasses – No problem:

Bluelight filter test kit - over glasses

The distance between the temples is 150mm = 5 2932 inches. Temple length is adjustable.

Bluelight filter test kit - over glasses


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The 8 Tester kit Filters

We selected 5 Tester blue light Filters were selected based on:

TIP: For more detailed info and references to scientific papers see this guide on choosing a blue light filter, and this article on indoor lighting and eye strain.

The remaining 3 Filters are similar in their spectral transmission to three popular brands of blue blockers:

This is how the Filters look like:

Bluelight filter test kit - 8 Filters

They are marked in the order from blocking more blue light (Number: 0) to blocking less (Number: 7).

User from the Czech Republic: I have been testing the filters you sent me and I must say I notice a difference. Especially with Filters 2 and 3. I still feel some discomfort, but it doesn’t develop into a migraine or stinging pain behind my eyes as it happens without the Tester. The world is also very nice in the cast of yellow. 🙂

I am surprised as this means the problem is definitely related to blue-light.

I will keep testing the different Filters and see how it goes. Filter 7, however, seems too weak for me so far.

 

Changing Filters is easy – through the opening at the top of the frame:

 

Want to know the reasons behind each Filter?
(to view spectrograms click below)

Filter 0: filters/blocks light up to 580nm; remaining light does not affect sleep hormone production.

Filter 1: blocks up to ~525nm (all blue light); should be enough to improve sleep – well above peak sensitivity for sleep hormone regulation (~480nm).

Filter 2: cuts off at 490nm; just above peak sensitivity of sleep regulation; comfortably above peak absorption of macular pigment and high blue light emissions of digital screens and energy saving (LED, fluorescent) lamps; high transmittance at peak sensitivity of sharp vision (530, 560nm).

Filter 3: cutoff at 460nm – peak absorption of macular pigment; blocks 100% near the peak emission of LED lamps and digital screens (450nm); allows plenty of light for sharp vision photoreceptors.

Filter 4matches TheraSpecs migraine relief indoors (FL-41) tint.

Filter 5: mimics Gunnar computer glasses (amber tint).

Filter 6: imitates Axon Optics’ migraine relief indoors FL-41 lens.

Filter 7: cutoff at 400nm; 80+% transmission by 440nm; nearly clear – minimal color distortion – similar to blue blockers that claim no color distortion.

NOTE: The Filters are similar (not identical) to the filters available in the market. The match is as good as specified in the table below. Similar filters produce the same effect.


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Best way to use the blue light filter test kit

You can test different Filters at random.

But, by following a method you are more likely to find your favorite Filter faster.

The idea is to start with a strong Filter — to figure out if blue light is causing your problem (it may not).

NOTE: any strong blue blocker has two side effects: color distortion and brightness reduction (eyes get less light).

If you find either effect annoying, you should try weaker blue light Filters (block less blue light but reduce brightness and distort color less).

 

More specifically:

Start with Filter 1 (installed in a new Tester). It blocks all blue light. You should feel an improvement if your condition is indeed caused by blue light. (Depending on your condition the improvement may or may not be immediate).


Insomnia. Filter 1 should improve sleep in most cases. Wear it for a few days for 2-3 hours before bedtime.

If you don’t notice any improvement with Filter 1 you should try Filter 0. It blocks all the wavelengths that affect sleep hormone production.

Note that fixing sleeping disorders may be a slow process. Be patient.

Also, blue light is not the only cause of insomnia. Make sure you also eliminate other possible causes.


If Filter 1 helped you improve your condition you can either find/purchase a similar product (see table), or…

If you find the orange tint disturbing, try Filter 2, then 3, 4 …

If you find the orange tint disturbing, try Filter 2, then 3, 4 … You should purchase a blue blocker similar to the weakest Filter that still produces the desired effect.

For example:

User from the UK: To date, I have conducted some small tests with lens 1 and 2. I find both helpful but perhaps too strong for my needs, especially when combined with the IRIS software on my computer. So, I will continue with my experimentation and work through the lenses.

Interestingly, I suspect I will need more than one pair of glasses with different blue filtering lenses for different activities.

[A few days later]: I am now testing filter number 3 and getting on well with this filter. I will continue with the experimentation and let you know which filters work best for me in different scenarios.


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How to order a blue blocker similar to your favorite Tester Filter

The table below positions each of the eight GLARminŸ Tester Filters in the context of similar commercially-available filters. Obviously, this is only a subset of those with known spectral transmission data.

The filters at the top of the table block all blue light. Further down they block less and less of it.

Tester Filters are in bold to be found more easily.

The filters appearing next to each other are similar in spectral transmission. The more distant, the more different.

For ease of comparison, blue blocking rates at six different wavelengths are provided for each filter and highlighted as follows:

100 – 75 % 70 – 50 % 45 – 25 % 20 – 0 %

Disclosure: some of the links below are commission links. If you use them to go to a vendor’s site and purchase a product, we get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks!

Blue light filter
(click to open spectrogram)
Type % blocked at wavelengths (nm) Where to buy
400 425 450 480 520 570
SomniLight Migrane Relief Glasses 100 100 100 100 100 100 SomniLight
Filter 0 – cutoff: 580nm Test kit 100 100 100 100 100 100 GLARminY
Carbonshades ** Glasses 100 100 100 100 100 100 Carbonshade, Amazon
NoIR #570 39% Dark Red/Orange Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs 100 100 100 100 100 90 NoIR, Amazon
Below closer to Tester Filter 1; above to Tester Filter 0. / Wavelengths: 400 425 450 480 520 570 (nanometers)
Cocoons SideKick orange lens ** Clip-on flip-ups 100 100 100 100 100 n/a Cocoons
NoIR #553 52% Red/Orange Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs 100 100 100 100 100 70 NoIR, Amazon
Filter 1 – cutoff: 525nm Test kit 100 100 100 100 100 65 GLARminY
3M 2846 Red-Orange safety spectacles Glasses 100 100 100 100 100 55 local 3M distributors
LowBlueLights – glasses Glasses, Fit-overs 100 100 100 100 100 20 LowBlueLights glasses, fitovers
NoIR #60UV 49% Orange Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs 100 100 100 100 100 20 NoIR, Amazon
UVEX SCT Orange Glasses, Fit-overs 100 100 100 100 100 15 Amazon
NoIR #505 56% Orange Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs 100 100 100 100 95 60 NoIR, Amazon
Spectra 479 Glasses 100 100 100 100 95 40 Spectra479, Amazon
Melatonin Shades Glasses 100 100 100 100 95 30 Melatonin Shades, Amazon
BlueBlockGlasses Glasses 100 100 100 100 95 25 BlueBlockGlasses
f.lux at 1200K * bluelight app 100 100 100 100 95 15 f.lux
LowBlueLights – screen filter Screen protector 100 100 100 100 70 15 LowBlueLights
NoIR #533 35% Amber/Orange Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs 100 90 95 95 90 70 NoIR, Amazon
Mojo BluBlock Sun Brown 60 Glasses (also Prescription) 90 90 95 95 90 60 ReadingGlassesETC
NoIR #68 52% Light Orange Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs 100 90 90 95 90 10 NoIR, Amazon
Below closer to Tester Filter 2; above to Tester Filter 1. / Wavelengths: 400 425 450 480 520 570 (nanometers)
Filter 2 – cutoff: 490nm Test kit 100 100 100 100 25 15 GLARminY
Mojo BluBlock Therapy Orange Rx Glasses 100 100 100 95 85 30 ReadingGlassesETC
Spektrum ProSPEK-99 Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups 100 100 100 95 75 10 Spektrum, Amazon
NoIR #465 70% Yellow Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs 100 90 95 85 30 10 NoIR, Amazon
Mojo BluBlock Day Tan Melanin Glasses (also Prescription) 95 90 85 80 65 30 ReadingGlassesETC
Below closer to Tester Filter 3; above to Tester Filter 2. / Wavelengths: 400 425 450 480 520 570 (nanometers)
Cocoons non-polarized yelow/lemon lens ** Fit-overs, Clip-ons, Flip-ups 100 100 100 n/a n/a n/a Cocoons
Filter 3 – cutoff: 460nm Test kit 100 100 100 80 15 10 GLARminY
T’aime 97% lens * Glasses 100 100 100 75 20 10 T’aime on Amazon
NoIR #50UV 54% Yellow Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs 100 100 100 70 10 10 NoIR, Amazon
f.lux at 1900K * bluelight app 100 100 95 90 80 15 f.lux
Mojo BluBlock Night Yellow Glasses (also Prescription) 100 100 95 70 40 15 ReadingGlassesETC
f.lux at 2300K * bluelight app 100 95 95 80 70 15 f.lux
NoIR #58 58% Yellow Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs 100 95 95 30 10 10 NoIR
f.lux at 2700K * bluelight app 100 90 85 70 60 15 f.lux
Mojo BluBlock Day Amber Melanin Glasses (also Prescription) 95 90 80 60 40 25 ReadingGlassesETC
UVEX Amber Glasses, Fit-overs 100 85 75 20 10 10 Amazon
f.lux at 3400K * bluelight app 100 80 75 55 45 15 f.lux
Below closer to Tester Filter 4; above to Tester Filter 3. / Wavelengths: 400 425 450 480 520 570 (nanometers)
Mojo BluBlock Sun Brown 40 Rx Glasses 80 75 80 80 70 40 ReadingGlassesETC
TheraSpecs FL-41 indoor lens Migraine relief/anti-fluorescent Rx Glasses 55 60 80 80 80 45 TheraSpecs, Amazon
Filter 4 (TheraSpecs-like) Test kit 65 70 65 75 75 40 GLARminY
Below closer to Tester Filter 5; above to Tester Filter 4. / Wavelengths: 400 425 450 480 520 570 (nanometers)
Filter 5 (GUNNAR-like) Test kit 75 60 65 55 35 20 GLARminY
Mojo BluBlock Day Brown 20 Glasses (also Prescription) 70 60 65 65 50 25 ReadingGlassesETC
Reticare – screen filter Screen protector 60 65 65 50 30 20 RetiCare, Amazon
f.lux at 4100K * bluelight app 95 70 60 50 35 15 f.lux
Gunnar Glasses (also Prescription) 100 70 55 25 15 5 Gunnar, Amazon
Spektrum ProSPEK-50 Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups 100 80 45 20 10 5 Spektrum, Amazon
Below closer to Tester Filter 6; above to Tester Filter 5. / Wavelengths: 400 425 450 480 520 570 (nanometers)
Axon FL-41 indoor lens Migraine relief/anti-fluorescent Rx Glasses 100 50 40 45 50 40 Axon, Amazon
Filter 6 (AXON-like) Test kit 40 35 40 45 45 30 GLARminY
Below closer to Tester Filter 7; above to Tester Filter 6. / Wavelengths: 400 425 450 480 520 570 (nanometers)
EYES PC Glasses (0, +1, +2 power), Clip-Ons 100 60 35 25 15 10 Amazon
f.lux at 5000K * bluelight app 95 40 35 25 20 15 f.lux
PYEPYD ** Screen protector 100 40 30 n/a n/a n/a PYEPYD, Amazon
BluTech Glasses 100 50 25 20 20 15 n/a
J+S Vision Glasses 100 35 25 15 10 5 Amazon
EYES PC Screen protector 100 30 25 25 25 20 Amazon
JINS Screen Glasses 100 100 20 10 5 5 JINS, Amazon
Filter 7 – Cutoff: 400nm Test kit 100 40 20 20 15 15 GLARminY
Gamma Ray: yellow/amber tint Glasses 95 50 20 15 5 0 Amazon
Nikon – SeeCoat Blue Premium Glasses 95 35 15 10 n/a n/a n/a
RetinaShield Screen protector 95 25 15 10 10 10 Tech Armor, Amazon
OcuShield Screen protector 30 15 15 15 15 20 OcuShield
EyeFatigue Glasses 20 15 15 10 5 10 EyeFatigue
PFO Global – iBlu Coat Glasses 95 15 10 10 10 5 n/a
Zeiss – DuraVision BlueProtect Glasses 35 15 10 5 0 0 n/a
Zeiss – DuraVision DriveSafe Glasses 35 15 10 5 0 0 n/a
RetinaGuard Screen protector 95 30 10 10 n/a n/a RetinaGuard, Amazon
SleepShield Screen protector 95 25 10 5 5 5 Amazon
Essilor – Crizal Prevencia Glasses 95 25 10 5 0 0 n/a
Zenni – Beyond UV Glasses (also prescription) 100 50 5 5 5 5 Zenni
Essilor – Smart Blue Filter Glasses 15 35 5 5 n/a n/a n/a
iLLumiShield Screen protector 40 10 5 5 0 0 iLLumiShield, Amazon
* Blue blocking rates at selected wavelengths estimated from before to after spectral power reduction, not from spectral transmission data.

** Spectral transmission data from vendor’s website


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GLARminŸ Tester care & use instructions

Size. Out-of-the-“box” the Tester:

  • loosely fits a child’s heads (e.g. a 6-year-old)
  • tightly fits a larger, adult head, (as wraparounds) — minimizes unfiltered light from the sides.

To increase temples’ length cut carefully as shown below. Use the marks to guide you.

Bluelight filter test kit - adjusting temple length

 

Filter cleaning:
Take a Filter carefully out of the frame to avoid damages to the frame.

Don’t use anything rough or abrasive to clean the filters. They are made of transparent polyester coated with a tint. The coating gives the Filter its unique spectral properties. It is important not to damage it mechanically or chemically.

Don’t use solvents such as acetone or ethanol!

Use a water-based cleaning solution to clean a Filter (for example regular liquid soap).

Rinse under clean running water.

To dry a Filter, soak the water drops with and a gentle, lint-free cleaning cloth (microfiber cloth), or a gentle facial tissue (Kleenex).

 

Perspiring & liquids. Sweat or other liquids applied to the cardstock frame will deteriorate it. Refrain from using GLARminŸ Tester when sweating and keep it away from liquids.


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