How to choose well anti-blue light glasses, fit-overs/flip-ups, or screen protector? Many of you ask this excellent question. Yet, the only way to know whether any given blue blocker will really work for you has been to try it … which is often not easy. Now you can use GLARminŸ Tester to guide you through your blue light filter shopping process.
GLARminŸ Tester is very simple to use (also over prescription glasses):
– purchase GLARminŸ Tester via PayPal ($20US worldwide shipping included)
– wear it using different blue light filters (it comes with 8 of them)
– when you find the one that works best for you, consult this table to identify and purchase a similar product (glasses, fit-overs, flip-ups, screen protectors).
But, if you want to know everything about GLARminŸ Tester, read on.
– The current state of research and experience on blue light filter effects
– How to find a suitable blue blocker, the old way
– GLARminŸ Tester – description of the product
– Recommended filter testing approach
– TABLE: Finding a best matching blue blocker to buy
– Care & use instructions
I just received the testers. Within 20 minutes, it is very 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 am an engineer, so I did a bit internet research, I get your test kit, from Slovenia no less, and I get immediate relief. I should get a refund from the doctors and send it to you!
Thank you very much!
Vendors often try to convince us that their blue light filter is the answer to blue light induced problems. Many use the bad blue light vs. good blue light argument, which is not rooted in research nor experience, but rather in their desire to sell more to uninformed buyers by oversimplifying.
Everyone willing to read more than one report (or sales ad) on the effects of blue light, quickly realizes, that 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 statement is as true today as it was in 2014 when it was posted by an optician on a forum for eyecare professionals.
Yet, don’t be surprised by this ambiguity. Both science and experience confirm that it is impossible to know apriori which blue light filter (if any) will work for a specific person. We still know too little to make predictions say top vision scientists researching the complex non-visual (biological and behavioral) responses to (blue) light [Measuring and using light in the melanopsin age. (2014)]. Therefore, the experience of many makes sense: you need to try a blue blocker to know whether its spectral transmission characteristics will work for you – see here, here, and here).
Note also, that the way our brain processes light inputs may be quite unique. Paradoxically, some people experience improved visual comfort with filters that transmit blue light and block other wavelengths instead! Therefore, if you don’t find relief with blue light filters, you may still hope to find your solution elsewhere.
How can you know which blue light filter will work for you?
Even when you’ve invested time in studying how blue light affects people, the task of choosing the right blue light filter is overwhelming. There are so many different blue blockers available in the market, many different problems associated with blue light, more or less aggressive lighting setups, and many different responses of different people to similar light stimuli. It is, therefore reasonable to expect that when choosing a blue light filter (without testing it), one is likely to make a mistake.
Hence, this important advice: Make sure you check vendor’s return policy before ordering a blue blocker.
Until now you could test blue light filters in two ways:
- buy it, see how it affects you, keep or return
- find an eye doctor’s office, either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, or a local blindness/low vision agency that will let you try a range of blue light filters (different lenses of varying tints, contrast, color balance, and transmission). Note that the first impression may not be indicative of the final effect of using a blue light filter, so plan on trying each filter at least for 10-15 minutes.
Both options have important downsides: The first may be a long and stressful process, particularly when you need a solution badly and fast. As for the second alternative, not everyone lives conveniently close to agents that provide this service.
Another downside of this process is that many of the filters you might try don’t come equipped with spectral transmittance data. This means that you cannot know what spectral transmission profile works for you. Subsequently, the next time you want to buy a blue light filter, you either have to order the exact same filter, from the same manufacturer, or go through the above-described testing process again.
The purpose of GLARminŸ Tester is to solve these inconveniences. It allows you to find out before buying glasses, fit-overs, clip-ons, or a screen protector if its spectral transmission properties are adequate for your eyes or not. Best of all, you’ll know it no matter what your blue light associated 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, distance vision, contrast sensitivity, etc… [Diagnosis, Pathophysiology and Treatment of Photophobia (2016), The Visual Effects of Intraocular Colored Filters (2012)].
GLARminŸ Tester is eyewear with a set of interchangeable blue light filters with different spectral transmission properties. Another important component of the Tester is a tabular overview of most commercially available blue light filters with known spectral transmission. The table should help you match a GLARminŸ Tester Filter with similar commercial blue blockers (or compare/match the blue blocker you are currently using with other, similar blue light filters).
GLARminŸ Tester frame was designed to block out most of the unwanted, unfiltered light, and fit small, large heads and even over prescription glasses.
GLARminŸ fits over prescription glasses (temple length may be adjusted).
The 8 blue light Filters
GLARminŸ Tester takes advantage of the fact that two blue light filters with comparable spectral transmission properties produce a similar response to equivalent lighting conditions.
GLARminŸ Tester Filters were selected based on the properties of human vision and spectral power distribution of common light sources that frequently cause problems (click hyperlinked text below to view spectrograms):
– spectral sensitivities of our photoreceptors for sharp vision: M (or Green) and L (or Red) cones – peak sensitivities near 530nm and 560nm respectively
– spectral sensitivity of our photoreceptors responsible for sleep regulation (ipRGCs) – high sensitivity 480nm +/-50nm
– blue blocking properties of our natural blue light filter, macular pigment – minimum transmittance around 460nm; This is very important because many of us have a deficient Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD)
– LED spectral power distribution – high peak in the blue region – near 450nm (most modern computer screens are LED backlit)
– fluorescent light spectral power distribution – local peaks of blue light near 405nm, 435nm, and 490nm
Moreover, three filters were selected to resemble the three popular brands of blue blockers: Gunnar computer glasses and fluorescent light protection & migraine relief glasses with the FL-41 tint from Axon Optics and TheraSpecs.
Spectral characteristics of the Filters
GLARminŸ Tester Filters are ordered from blocking more to less blue light (to view spectral transmission graphs click below):
– Filter 0: filters/blocks most light up to 580nm: longer wavelength light should not affect sleep hormone production.
– Filter 1: blocks near 100% of light up to about 525nm: this cutoff is comfortably above what is usually considered blue light (400-500nm). It is also comfortably above our eye’s peak sensitivity for sleep hormone regulation (near 480nm). In many people, such a filter blocks enough blue light to improve their sleep.
– Filter 2: cutoff at 490nm which is just above peak sensitivity of sleep regulation and comfortably above peak absorption of macular pigment and high blue light emissions of digital screens and energy saving (LED, fluorescent) lamps. Filter 2 features high transmittance at peak sensitivity wavelengths for sharp vision (530, 560nm).
– Filter 3: cutoff at 460nm – blocks all light up to the peak absorption wavelength of macular pigment (460nm); it also blocks all light near the power peak of LED lamps and digital screens (450nm). Filter 3 lets through plenty of light for sharp vision photoreceptors (peaking at 530, 560nm).
– Filter 4: a best match for spectral transmission characteristics of TheraSpecs migraine relief indoors FL-41 lens.
– Filter 5: mimics reasonably the spectral transmission curve of Gunnar blue blocking computer glasses with Amber tint.
– Filter 6: imitates reasonably spectral transmission properties of Axon Optics migraine relief indoors FL-41 lens.
– Filter 7: cutoff at 400nm; above 80% transmission by 440nm. It is a clear filter that does not distort color. Remember that computer screens emit lots of blue light in the 440-460nm range where this filter blocks hardly any. In spectral transmittance profile, Filter 7 is similar to those blue blockers that don’t distort color (see table).
Note that spectral transmission properties of GLARminŸ Tester Filters are similar (but not identical) to the eyewear and screen protectors available in the market. The matches are as close as specified in the table – in most cases close enough to help you choose the filter that will produce the same response in assisting you with your problem. At the very least, the tester should point you towards the most suitable product for your eyes.
How to test your blue light sensitivity: The recommended approach
Change the trial Filters easily: take one out of the frame and insert another through the opening on the upper side of the frame.
You can test different GLARminŸ Tester Filters randomly, however by following the below-described method, you are more likely to find your favorite Filter faster.
Your first task is to figure out if blue light is, indeed, causing your problem. Next, you may want to find out what is the minimum amount of blue light you need to block to achieve the desired improvement. Once you know which GLARminŸ Tester Filter works for you, you can look up the corresponding, commercially available, blue light filters and order the one you like best.
Start with Filter 1. GLARminŸ Tester comes with Filter 1 inserted in the frame. Since Filter 1 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). If, however, Filter 1 feels helpful, but too dark, your eyes may be more comfortable with a weaker Filter (higher number).
Insomnia. For most Filter 1 should be effective against blue light induced insomnia. However, if after several days of wearing Filter 1, for 2-3 hours before bedtime, you don’t notice any improvement in your sleep pattern, you might consider trying Filter 0, which blocks all the wavelengths that affect sleep hormone production.
Note that fixing sleeping disorders may be a slow process, so be patient. Also, blue light is not the only cause of insomnia, so make sure you’ve also eliminated other possible causes.
If Filter 1 helped you improve your condition you can go ahead and purchase one of the products with a similar spectral transmission (see table).
However, to absorb all blue light, Filter 1 has a strong orange tint to it, and because it blocks all blue light it distorts color considerably.
Although color distortion is to be expected – you can’t block blue light and see it too – you might want to find out if you can decrease the proportion of blue light filtered without reducing the positive response produced by Filter 1. In practice, that means that the filter won’t distort color as much and its tint will be more discreet.
Reducing the proportion of blue light blocked:
Replace the last Filter tested with the next (one number higher) Filter. Use it for a few days to see how you feel:
- If it feels as good or better than the previous Filter, repeat the above instruction.
- If it feels worse you should purchase a blue light filter (glasses, fit-overs, screen protector) with spectral properties similar to the previous Filter.
Note also that to achieve the same visual comfort, different filters may be required depending on the harshness (level of blue light content) of light: the more blue light content, the stronger blue blocker.
Filter 7. If by following the above procedure you get to Filter 7 and feel comfortable with it, you may not need blue blockers. The next level down in the blue blocking capacity would be a normal, non-blue blocking, clear lens/filter).
From a GLARminŸ Tester Filter to a similar, commercially available, blue blocker
The table below positions each of the eight GLARminŸ Tester Filters in the context of similar commercially available filters for which spectral transmission data is known.
The filters are ordered by how much blue light they block/filter. At the top there are filters that block more blue light, further down the list less and less blue light is blocked. (In the ordering of the filters, the blue blocking rate at 450nm is weighted most because it is the wavelength of peak emission of digital screens and LED bulbs. It is also close to the peak absorption of macular pigment).
Tester Filters are bolded to be found more easily. The more distant a commercial filter from a Tester Filter, the more different its spectral properties. Those above a GLARminŸ Tester Filter block more blue light (as specified), those below it block less.
For ease of comparison, blue blocking rates at six different wavelengths are provided for each filter. Background red is more intense when the proportion of light blocked at given wavelength is higher:
|100 – 75 %||70 – 50 %||45 – 25 %||20 – 0 %|
Blue light reduction rates of f.lux at different color temperature settings are also included in the table.
Disclosure: some of the links below (principally to Amazon) are commission links: If you use them to go to a vendor’s site, and purchase a product, I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for helping sustain GLARminY!
|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||Filter Tester||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, MaxiAids, 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, Amazon|
|NoIR #553 52% Red/Orange||Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs||100||100||100||100||100||70||NoIR, MaxiAids, Amazon|
|Filter 1 – cutoff: 525nm||Filter Tester||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 #(4)60 49% Orange||Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs||100||100||100||100||100||20||NoIR, MaxiAids, 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, MaxiAids, 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|
|NoIR #533 35% Amber/Orange||Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs||100||90||95||95||90||70||NoIR, MaxiAids, Amazon|
|Mojo BluBlock Sun Brown 60||Glasses (also Prescription)||90||90||95||95||90||60||ReadingGlassesETC|
|NoIR #(4)68 52% Light Orange||Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs||100||90||90||95||90||10||NoIR, MaxiAids, Amazon|
|Below closer to Tester Filter 2; above to Tester Filter 1. / Wavelengths:||400||425||450||480||520||570||(nanometers)|
|LowBlueLights – screen filter||Screen protector||100||100||100||100||70||15||LowBlueLights|
|Filter 2 – cutoff: 490nm||Filter Tester||100||100||100||100||25||15||GLARminY|
|Mojo BluBlock Therapy Orange||Rx Glasses||100||100||100||95||85||30||ReadingGlassesETC|
|T’aime 97% lens *||Glasses||100||100||100||75||20||10||T’aime, Amazon|
|NoIR #(4)65 70% Yellow||Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs||100||90||95||85||30||10||NoIR, MaxiAids, Amazon|
|T’aime 95% lens *||Glasses||100||95||90||75||30||10||T’aime|
|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, Amazon|
|Spektrum Elite – 99% blue light blocking||Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups||100||100||100||80||15||10||Spektrum, Amazon|
|Filter 3 – cutoff: 460nm||Filter Tester||100||100||100||80||15||10||GLARminY|
|NoIR #(4)50 54% Yellow||Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups, Fit-Overs||100||100||100||70||10||10||NoIR, MaxiAids, 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 #(4)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)||Filter Tester||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)|
|T’aime 85% lens *||Glasses||100||60||70||20||10||10||T’aime|
|Filter 5 (GUNNAR-like)||Filter Tester||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|
|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)||Filter Tester||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|
|Spektrum Pro /50% blue light blocking||Glasses, Clip-ons, Flip-ups||100||60||35||25||15||5||Spektrum, 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||Filter Tester||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 – BlueProtect||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.
** Sprectral transmission data from vendor’s website
GLARminŸ Tester care & use instructions
Size. The good news for those who normally wear glasses is that GLARminŸ Tester fits over normally-sized reading/prescription glasses. In case you want to make sure it will fit over yours: the distance between the temples is 150mm = 5 29⁄32 inches. So if your frame is not wider, you can use the Tester.
The out-of-the-“box” frame size:
- loosely fits smaller heads (e.g. a 7-year-old; see the above image)
- tightly fits a larger, adult head, (as wraparounds), which minimizes the possibility of unfiltered ambient light) reaching your eyes (see below).
Adjusting temple size. It is advisable you try GLARminŸ Tester before adjusting its size. If you need longer temples, increase their length carefully with scissors, as shown below. To guide you in cutting, use the indicating cuts.
How to clean filters: To clean a Filter, first take it carefully out of the frame to avoid any damages to the cardstock frame.
Filters are made of transparent polyester with a tinted surface coating. The coating is what gives the Filter its unique spectral properties. It is, therefore, important not to damage it either mechanically (by using rough cloth) or chemically. The coating may be affected by solvents such as acetone or ethanol!
Use water-based cleaning solution. Use a gentle, lint-free cleaning cloth (microfiber cloth), or a gentle facial tissue (Kleenex). For example, you can use most water diluted liquid soaps to clean the Filters. Rinse under running water. Dry with facial tissue.
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: Pick your blue block eyewear or screen filter best-informed useful, please consider LIKING, REBLOGGING, and/or SHARING it below.