This post might help you if have central serous retinopathy (CSR), sometimes also referred to as central serous choroidopathy (CSC). Because of CSR Sam (the name has been changed) had severe problems with light sensitivity to computer screens and fluorescent lights (but not other sources of light). He found relief in filtering blue light.
If you also suffer from central serous retinopathy and have issues with glare do drop a comment below, for the benefit of others who are also struggling with CSR related light sensitivity. Let us know what has and what hasn’t worked for you!
Disclaimer: My interest in blue blockers comes from my problems with light sensitivity (photophobia), discomfort glare, and computer eye strain.
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Here is what Sam’s message:
I am an engineer who has had an eye disease called central serous retinopathy for 1.5 years. I also now have photophobia as a result of the retina damage, which has ended my career and put my family in financial hardship. I am no longer able to tolerate more than ~10 minutes of exposure to computer screens or fluorescent lights (almost all workplaces have one or both). I spent over a year going to many doctors and testing many different solutions (Crizal, Gunnar (commission link), cycloplegic prescription, sunglasses, projectors, f.lux, artificial tears, etc) with no improvement in the eye pain.
But then I found your blog randomly about 1 month ago and decided to test the UVEX SCT orange glasses based upon your review and tests. Immediately I could tell these glasses make a very significant difference in my eye pain and I wanted to thank you for literally changing my life! I am currently increasing my screen time to see if I could get back to work full time (perhaps in an environment with mostly natural light).
Because the safety glasses are very uncomfortable, I cut out individual lenses from the glasses and installed them in regular reading glasses, which is a major improvement. After reviewing your spectrograms, it appears to me like the SCT Orange lenses are the best for complete elimination of the majority of the blue light spectrum. Since I don’t care about the perception of color, I wanted to ask if you know of any lenses that provide even more filtering, say up to 600nm?
Again, thank you for your commitment to this topic – I have learned a lot about blue light filters from your blog.
Kind regards, Sam
Should it prove useful to you as well, here is the information I sent him in my reply:
Sam, check out these options:
Carbonshades claim their glasses filter near 100% up to 570nm – it seems reasonable given the red tint of their lenses – quite expensive, though (you can find more available options in the post on Best Blue Blockers).
LowBlueLights are similar to UVEX SCT Orange. They filter near 100% of light up to about 540nm, but offer a few more frames styles.
BPI – this is a tint manufacturer – in the brochure of their therapeutic tints see BPI Monochrome 600nm – it blocks all light up to 600nm – what I don’t know if they sell them retail – maybe you can call them and inquire (I’d love to know what you find out!)
NoIR Medical – offers many tints, they have the spectrograms but not readily available on their website (explain them your problem and ask them to recommend you a tint and send you a spectrogram – you can view the ones they sent me in the above mentioned post on best blue blockers). It seems that their tint 4% Red, #93 might be a candidate for you, but it is hard to tell without seeing the spectrograms.
In our subsequent correspondence Sam provided some more detail about his CSR related light sensitivity, his symptoms of central serous retinopathy, lens tints he’d tried with no improvement, and information about an additional vendor of glasses with near 0% light transmission nearly up to 600nm:
Note: I have tested the Axon FL-41 tint (commission link) with no improvement.
I have no problem at all in sunlight, but I also have no problem with incandescent lights. For sure screens and fluorescent lights are a problem. A smart phone does not bother me too much, but I suspect this is due to the fact that the screens are relatively small. Also, watching television (which I almost never do) is a problem but noticeably less compared to a computer screen. I have a relatively new laptop.
Regarding the actual symptoms, for me I do not have headaches, it’s a dull pain (similar to the sensation of a sinus infection) surrounding the orbit of my left eye (this one had retina damage from CSR). It usually gets triggered in a short time but can take several days to fully relax, so it’s quite difficult to tolerate continuously. If I let it get really bad my left eye will get red and dry as well.
I discovered another company that I thought may be of interest to you (you probably know them but just in case):
SomniLight. They claim to filter all light up to 600nm. They provide a spectrograph in the images of the glasses. I will probably order a set for testing as they are more affordable and offer a return policy.
Here is the spectrogram of SomniLight Migraine Relief Glasses.
Sam told me he ordered a pair, because he still feels some pain with the UVEX SCT Orange glasses (commission link). You may expect an update on how the SomniLight lenses work.
Additional information that may be useful to finding ways to mitigate CSR associated light sensitivity:
- Best blue blocking glasses in style and light filter specs
- Best anti-glare screen protector: Glare free computer lighting
Sam just sent me an update (December 2016) on his recently received SomniLight glasses with the lenses that have filter light up to 600nm.
I’ve been testing the SomniLight glasses and have no major results to share – all I can say is that so much of the spectrum is filtered out that things appear more like black and white with a red tint. Greatly reduced perception of color.
Hence, in Sam’s case filtering longer wavelengths doesn’t seem to produce desired reduction in the eye strain caused by CSR. This means that the problem are only wavelengths up to about 550nm, namely, blue light. (550nm is the cutoff for the SCT Orange glasses (commission link) Sam had been using before purchaing SomniLight glasses).
The question remains: Could the cutoff be lower? For example 500nm or even 480nm.
If Sam (or anyone out there with CSR) trys out such glasses, please lets me know to share it with the rest.
Another update by Sam – great news! (February, 2017):
Many thanks to Sam who’s been kind enough to share his story for the benefit of others who might have a similar condition!!!!
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