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:
And, yes, the Tester also works over prescription glasses!
– 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)
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!
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
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!
You’ll know if a blue light filter works for you if you test it.
And so do top vision scientists: “We still know too little to make predictions” [Measuring and using light in the melanopsin age. (2014)].
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).
Blue light filter testing works for any condition:
– computer eye strain
– dry eyes
– eye strain from office lighting
– 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
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.
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.
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.
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:
And, if you wear prescription glasses – No problem:
The distance between the temples is 150mm = 5 29⁄32 inches. Temple length is adjustable.
The 8 Tester kit Filters
We selected 5 Tester blue light Filters were selected based on:
- spectral sensitivity of our photoreceptors for sharp vision: peaks at ~530nm (M-cones) and ~560nm (L-cones) (click on hyperlinked text to view spectrograms)
- spectral sensitivity of the photoreceptors responsible for sleep regulation (ipRGCs) – high sensitivity 480nm +/-50nm
- blue blocking properties of macular pigment – maximum near 460nm (important because of widespread deficiency)
- LED spectral power distribution – high peak in the blue region – near 450nm (most computer screens use LED technology)
- fluorescent light spectral power distribution – local peaks of blue light near 405nm, 435nm, and 490nm
The remaining 3 Filters are similar in their spectral transmission to three popular brands of blue blockers:
- Gunnar – computer glasses
- Axon Optics, TheraSpecs – fluorescent light protection & migraine relief (with the FL-41 tint).
This is how the Filters look like:
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 4: matches 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.
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).
If you find either effect annoying, you should try weaker blue light Filters (block less blue light but reduce brightness and distort color less).
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.
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.
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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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
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.
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.
Ps: If you found GLARminŸ Tester useful, please consider LIKING, REBLOGGING, and/or SHARING it below.