10 blue light filters: How to prevent eye strain from computer


How to prevent eye strain from computer screens is a critical question for the more blue light sensitive. Science suggests that blue light emitted by computer screens (and other energy saving light sources) is a frequent cause of visual stress. Solution: a blue light filter. Yet, if you decide to get one, the options may be overwhelming. Most blue light filters tend to sell themselves as the solution to any blue light associated condition: eyestrain, insomnia, AMD, etc. Yet there are significant differences in how they filter blue light, and by how much. The inevitable result is confusion not only among users but also among eye care professionals. Below you may learn how to prevent eye strain and with which blue light filter.

Contents:

what are the symptoms of eye strain
are you more blue light sensitive
causes of eye strain
why computer light causes eye strain
how blue light filters help prevent eye strain
how to compare different blue light filters
should you always block 100% of blue light
the different options of blue light filters available online and their effectiveness
how can you know which blue light filter will help you prevent your eye strain

Related – blue light filters for AMD:

Macular degeneration glasses & blue blocking AMD products guide
Over-glasses vs. special glasses for macular degeneration
– Do I need special sunglasses for macular degeneration? (to be available soon)

 


Updated: October 20, 2017. This post was originally published on July 30, 2015, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a vision scientist nor a physician but a more computer glare and light-sensitive person. Hence, my interest in how to prevent eye strain with blue light filters. If you wish to add or discuss something below, please, do write about it in comments or send me a note for the benefit of other readers.

Disclosure: GLARminŸ earns a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use the links labeled (commission link) and purchase a product. Thanks for supporting GLARminŸ!


 

What are the symptoms of eye strain?

Scientists suggest the following: eyestrain, tired eyes, sore eyes, dry eyes, watery eyes, irritated eyes, contact lens problems, blurred vision, slowness of focus change, double vision, presbyopia, neck pain, back pain, and shoulder pain [Computer Vision Syndrome: A review (2015)].

But, if you don’t identify with any of the above and you spend considerable time with digital screens, you might also consider reviewing the terminology ordinary people use when searching for solutions to their eye strain. (In case you thought you were alone: there are 1-10 million computer eye strain related searches each month on Google alone).

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Are you more blue light sensitive

If you are not more sensitive to blue light you don’t need to worry about how to prevent eye strain caused by it.

Many people do not experience eye strain (or other issues) because of blue light and report no benefits of blue light filters. They dislike blue light filters because they distort color. Remember, you can’t block blue light and see it too. Moreover, apparently their acuity gets worse. Obviously, for these people the negative effects of blue light, if any, are not sufficiently important (see below what explains these differences).

If you are experiencing computer eye strain and you have already eliminated other possible causes, such as for example glare and reflections on your screen, you might be among the more blue light sensitive.

The simplest way to find out if you are more blue light sensitive might be with fire. If you find glare (contrast in brightness) disturbing, but you can stare into a flame – in otherwise complete darkness – without any pain, chances are you are more blue light sensitive. This is because light emitted by a normal flame from a candle, match, wood, emits almost no blue light (see spectral power distribution of a candle below).

Candle spectral power distribution

Then, there are a couple of slightly more sophisticated methods.

 

Use a free app to test blue light sensitivity

If you don’t know whether computer blue light could be causing your eye strain see: Are you sensitive to light … or just blue light? The guide explains how you can use f.lux, a free blue light filter app to test your blue light sensitivity. It’s easy!

 

Or a blue light filter test kit

You can also test your eyes’ sensitivity with a blue light filter Tester with 8 different blue light filters:

Blue light filter Tester S

This option will give you more information about your sensitivity and suggest the best suited blue light filter for it.

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What causes computer eye strain

Intense use of the eyes is the generic cause of eye strain – or asthenopia – in a person with normal vision. Activities that likely cause eye strain are extended periods of driving, reading, writing, sewing, … and of course, the use of digital screens. Secretaries, accountants, bookkeepers, draftsmen, are some obvious jobs with a greater risk of eye strain [Is all Asthenopia the Same? (2003)]. But as we are becoming increasingly digitized (at work and otherwise) the experience of computer eye strain is starting to affect everyone.

Moreover, digital screens bring about a host of new challenges for our eyes (see article: What causes computer vision syndrome).

 

How blue light causes computer eye strain

On average computer screens tend to emit blue light with much greater intensity than other, longer wavelengths of visible light. This is because the predominant color in most GUIs is white. To make it worse, white is often combined with blue.

Yet, blue light disturbs our sharp vision because of blue light scatter, chromatic aberration, and because the spot of our precision vision is not sensitive to blue light but to longer wavelengths (green and red).

And sharp vision is what we use for screen-based activities. Therefore, computer eye strain develops.

Unless our natural blue light filter – macular pigment – blocks enough blue light to prevent it.

Or we use external/artificial blue light filters.

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How to compare different blue light filters

The only way to compare blue light filters is based on their spectral transmission/transmittance. It describes uniquely a filter’s transmission properties by telling you what percentage of light passes through the filter for all different wavelengths.

Spectral transmission may be given in a table or plotted in a graph – spectrogram (click to see an example). A table normally has two columns. The first column contains wavelength data in nano meters (nm) with % transmission in the second column.

Often, only data for visible light wavelengths are shown, i.e. from ~380nm – ~750nm.

The image below explains how to read a spectrogram:

Blue light filter - how to interpret spectrograms
Spectral transmission curve describes what proportion of each light wavelength the filter lets through (% Transmission) and what proportion it blocks (100%-% Transmission).

Blue light filters should be compared across the entire visible spectrum, but particularly on the interval from 400-500nm, which are considered to be the blue light wavelengths. (If your problem is insomnia, you might have to go a bit higher – to about 550nm).

Put simply: filters with a lower curve from 400-500nm transmit less blue light, or the same thing said differently, block more blue light.

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Should you always block 100% of blue light?

No. Blue light is not bad.

Throughout evolution people were exposed to blue light emitted by the Sun. Our body needs and uses blue light’s oscillating intensity (high during the day and low or none at night) to regulate various biological and behavioral processes and function properly [Measuring and using light in the melanopsin age (2013)].

The photoreceptors principally responsible for this regulation are most sensitive to blue light. However, they are placed all over the retina except its center, where our sharp vision takes place. Therefore, on the one hand it is good and normal, that your eyes get full spectrum light from the Sun, including blue light.

On the other hand, #as shown above#blue-light-eyestrain#, our central vision must be shielded from blue light for maximum acuity and eye comfort. It is therefore unfortunate (for those with less effective macular pigment) that digital screens display images by emitting lots of blue light.

Hence, if your eye strain is really bad, you might consider blocking all blue light up to 500nm or even higher. However, if you do that during the day, you should also make sure you take brakes outside, to expose your eyes to all the benefits coming to us via sunlight.

However, even to carry out long lasting computer tasks, blocking 100% of blue light with artificial filters might be an overkill. Your macular pigment already filters some blue light, but you don’t know how much. Is your MPOD hi, low, somewhere in between, or irregular? Unfortunately having it measured is not an easily accessible option. But, you can get an idea with one of the methods suggested above, particularly with GLARminŸ Tester.

(In case you are reading this for reasons other than eye strain, there is a subtle difference between blue light-induced insomnia, migraines, AMD, etc. and eye strain. You can read about it in How to pick the best blue filter for your light sensitivity problem.)

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The 10 blue light filters to prevent eye strain

Below you may find a list of blue light filters divided into three sections: the natural solution, software, and physical blue light filters. As suggested #above#, the natural solution – our macular pigment – is superior, as long as its MPOD is high enough.

A good software blue light filtering solution may provide superior viewing comfort than a physical filter by preserving contrast better. A physical blue light filter always reduces contrast. It also produces internal and surface reflections of light, even when it includes an anti-reflective (AR) coating.

The downside of software solutions is that they can never reduce blue light emissions to 0, which physical filters can.

If you find the choices and the spectral transmission data information overwhelming consider reading first the post: How to pick the best blue filter for your light sensitivity problem.

The list below includes only blue light filters for which data about their spectral transmission is available because if not, you don’t really know what exactly you are getting. And, if you try a no-spectrogram filter and it doesn’t help you, you won’t know what to try next. Thus you miss an opportunity to learn something about your eyes. Moreover, you might simply conclude that blue light filters don’t work for you, which may or may not be true!?

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Macular pigment: our natural blue light filter

Macular pigment, its advantages, and interpersonal variability have been #suggested above#. For more info see Less light sensitivity, computer eye strain: BlueLight filtering diet.

The shape of macular pigment spectral transmission curve shows our natural blue light filter blocks blue light considerably between 430-490nm (maximum at ~460nm). This could be a good indication of where and by how much we need to block blue light with external filters, to prevent eye strain.

macular pigment as blue light filter spectrogram
This curve is for MPOD score at 0,5. MPOD score ranges from 0 (blocks least blue light) to 1 (highest blue blocking capacity). This means that for MPOD scores higher than 0,5 the curve would be lower than the one in the image, while for lower scores the curve would be higher. Source: fluxometer.

If supplementation appeals to you more than eating a bucket of green, leafy vegetables a day, see the article on best eye supplements containing all three macular pigment carotenoids – lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin. (If interested, see also a summary of my experience with macular pigment supplements).

Note that the effect is not immediate – supplementation might show results in 8-12 weeks, and your MPOD might plateau in 6-12 months.

Moreover, some people appear to be genetically pre-conditioned to lower MPOD or irregular macular pigment shape.


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Software blue light “filtering” solutions

Strictly speaking, software solutions do not filter blue light. Instead, they reduce screen’s blue light emissions by altering the colors displayed by your digital screen. In most cases, the reduction of blue light cannot be 100%, because the software is restricted by the limitations imposed by the hardware.

Color distortion depends on how much blue light you’ll want to take out. Colder colors – white, blue, green – are transformed into warmer, yellow-ish colors.

 

Blue light filter apps

Preserving contrast is a very important feature/advantage of a blue light filtering app because low contrast reduces readability thus causing computer eye strain.

There are two different approaches used by blue light filtering apps: Color transform approach is superior because the alternative, transparent overlay, reduces contrast far more.

You may easily recognize which approach an app is using by looking at what it does to black. Color transform leaves it unchanged because black has the lowest possible blue light content. Overlay approach, on the other hand, makes black look lighter (usually yellowish or reddish) thus reducing the contrast between black and other colors unnecessarily.

There are two blue light filter apps that use color transform approach:
f.lux – free; designed principally to help with blue light induced insomnia; for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPhone/iPad and Android
Iris (commission link) – freemium; designed to prevent computer eye strain and insomnia; for Windows, Mac, and Linux (Iris for Android uses transparent overlay approach due to system’s limitations).

Essentially they both do the same thing – i.e. reduce the amount of blue light emitted by your screen. Therefore they may both be used for both eye strain and insomnia. However, there are some differences such that if your principal goal is to avoid computer eye strain you might find Iris more suitable. In terms of preventing insomnia they are very similar (for a full review see Best blue light filter apps for visual comfort: Iris & f.lux).

Spectral power distribution (SPD) of screen emissions at different f.lux settings are available at fluxometer.com. SPDs in the case of Iris are similar for the same CCT settings.

For example reductions in blue light emissions running f.lux/Iris are:
– 70-80% (varies from screen to screen) when running at 2700K CCT (correlated color temperature)
– 94-98% when running at 1200K
See spectrograms below – click to enlarge – the first is with f.lux off, i.e. 6500K, second at 2700K, and third at 1200K)

Blue light filter app efficiency NO FLux Spectrographic analysis Blue light filter app efficiency FLux at 2700K Spectrographic analysis Blue light filter app efficiency FLux at 1200K Spectrographic analysis

As set by default, f.lux will run at 6500K during the day (no blue light reduction) and closer to 2700K at night. That might be fine if your problem is insomnia. To prevent eye strain, it is preferable to set f.lux/Iris to a lower CCT setting day and night.


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DIY blue light filter app: Change screen colors

Changing text and especially background color is a free and easy DIY version of a (color transform) blue light filter app. Changing background and text color is a good option if you mostly read of the screen, edit text or work with spreadsheets.

The advantage is that you can select any color you want and control the contrast level.

Disadvantage: Not everything will appear as one would like to – particularly some buttons on web pages might be hidden or text on them invisible.

Depending on your background/text color choice and digital screen model it may “filter” up to 75-95% of blue light as compared to black text on white background (estimates based on LEDMuseum and f.luxometer data).

You may find detailed instructions on how to change background color and text color in:
Windows 7, Adobe Acrobat, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc…
Windows 10

Choosing background color well is key to reducing blue light emissions of your digital screen; see Least likely colors to cause computer eye strain.


 

Bluelight filter app & color change

You can combine the two approaches, thus filtering blue light with the app and also being able to choose the colors your screen displays. Remember that the app will distort your colors, so if you care a lot about the exact colors displayed, you should set the app to the desired setting first and carry out color changes with the app running.


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Physical blue light filters

As commented, a major drawback to physical blue light filters is that they always reduce contrast, however, this doesn’t seem to bother everyone. Contrast reduction is significantly lower with filters/lenses that have an Anti-Reflective (AR) coating.

Blue light filtering capacity of physical filters depends principally on filter’s tint color and its darkness (in some cases blue blocking coating or certain materials within the lens). The most common blue light filtering tints are yellow (amber), orange and red:
Red tinted filters may block all light except red, so blue will be blocked entirely. Subsequently their overall, visual light transmission is the lowest and color distortion the greatest.
– Filters tinted yellow tend to block the least blue light, but provide greatest visual light transmission and lowest color distortion.
Amber/orange filters are somewhere in between.
(If interested, play with different filter tints to see how their color affects spectral transmission here or here).

Also, it is wise you check return policy before ordering a blue light filter you haven’t used yet. You can’t really know if it will work until you try it. Also, use this table compare filters based on transmission of blue light.

 

Blue blockers – computer glasses

There are tons on the market. However you’ll see your choices greatly reduced if you need prescription (Rx), or anti-reflective (AR) coating, or care about the style of computer glasses frames. If on top of that you care about spectral transmission (as you should) you may be left with just handful or, sadly, in the worst case, no choices.

All this info has been pulled together in this article on computer glasses with known filter specs (spectrograms included) – in the image below you might recognize some of the featured brands (links to online stores that sell them are provided, where available).

Best blue blocking computer glasses


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Glasses with FL-41 blue light filtering tint

Some people find relief from blue light filters with very particular spectral transmission characteristics. FL-41 tint was originally designed to reduce eye strain from fluorescent lights. Later it was also found to help many people with migraines and some Benign Essential Blepharospasm symptoms [Diagnosis, Pathophysiology, and Treatment of Photophobia (2016)].

These are among the more expensive blue light blocking glasses. The vendors themselves admit that while they work great for some people, they don’t produce desired effects with others, or produce negative side effects, for example nausea. Testing the tints with the blue filter Tester before ordering FL-41 glasses might save you time and money (particularly if you need prescription glasses).

 

Axon Optics FL-41 glasses and contacts

Disclosure: I’ve tested a pair of glasses with indoor tint, courtesy of Axon Optics: The glasses are very high quality. For me other blue light filters appear more suitable, which, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try FL-41 tint. I don’t suffer from Migraines nor Blepharospasm, and there is much praise by happy customers out there.

Axon indoor tint spectral transmission properties available here (similar to GLARminŸ Tester Filter 6).

– blue light filtered: ~50% (indoor lens)
– visual light transmission: ~60% (indoor lens), ~20% (outdoors lens)
– UV absorption: 100%

Sources: Axon Optics (private communication), f.luxometer

You may purchase Axon Optics FL-41 glasses, fit-overs, and soft contact lenses from Axon Optics (commission link):
several frame models available including wraparounds with a removable inner gasket which contours to the exact shape of your face to keep any unwanted light out
– you can also send in your own frame and have regular or prescription Rx FL-41 tint lenses fitted.



 

TheraSpecs FL-41 glasses

Along with Axon Optics (above), TheraSpecs is another vendor that offers quality FL-41 tint on their migraine relief and fluorescent light sensitivity eyeglasses [Diagnosis, Pathophysiology, and Treatment of Photophobia (2016)].

TheraSpecs Indoor Lens spectrogram available here – similar to GLARminŸ Tester Filter 4

– blue light filtered: ~70% (indoor lens)
– visible light transmission: ~43% (indoor lens)
– UV absorption: 100%

You can buy TheraSpecs’ many frame designs including fit-over glasses from Amazon (commission link) or directly from TheraSpecs online shop



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Blue blocking screen filters

There are many screen protectors claiming impressive blue blocking properties. However, meaningful spectral transmission characteristics are available only for a handful of them.

Data on all screen filters has been collected as long as they provide some minimal spectral transmittance data. Where available spectrograms are included (see brands included in the image below).

Best blue light screen filters Reduced

The above mentioned article also explains how you can make your own, DIY screen filter for under $10: huge selection of filters and known spectral transmittance for all!


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Fit-overs and Clip-on Flip-ups that filter blue light

For those who wear prescription glasses it sometimes makes sense to use blue blockers that fit over prescriptions.

Axon (commission link) and TheraSpecs fit-overs with their FL-41 tint were already mentioned above.

Uvex fitovers with amber or orange lens are an inexpensive (under $10) option:

Uvex Fit-Overs Blue light filter Amber Orange lens

UVEX Amber lens spectrogram:
– blue light filtered ~ 55%
visible light transmission: 90%
– UV absorption >= 99.9%

UVEX SCT-Orange lens spectrogram:
– blue light filtered >= 98%
visible light transmission: 45%
– UV absorption >= 99.9%

Source: Uvex

You may buy Uvex Amber or Orange fit-overs from Amazon (commission link).



 

Cocoons fit-overs with yellow (lemon) or orange lens (available in various designs and sizes):

Yellow (lemon) lens:
blue light filtered 40% (100% up to 470nm) – source: Cocoons
visible light transmission: 86%
– UV absorption: 100%

Orange lens:
blue light filtered 100% up to 520nm
visible light transmission: 34%
– UV absorption: 100%

You may buy yellow or orange Cocoons fitovers from Cocoons.


 

NoIR might have the greatest selection of blue blocking tints. It also has several fit-over frames.

NoIR just updated their site and it is truly great. Each lens tint comes with a spectrogram and all the different frames available for that tint. Exemplary!

You may shop their blue blocking Fit-overs and Clip-on Flip-ups at NoIR online store.


 

Cocoons SideKick clip-on flip ups with yellow or orange lens:

Cocoons SideKicks clip-on yellow orange lens blue light filter

Yellow (lemon) lens:
blue light filtered 40% (100% up to 470nm) – source: Cocoons
visible light transmission: 86%
– UV absorption: 100%

Orange lens:
blue light filtered 100% up to 520nm
visible light transmission: 34%
– UV absorption: 100%

You may buy Cocoons SideKick clip-on flip ups in three sizes (M, L, XL) from from Cocoons.


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How can you know which blue light filter will work for you

Having reviewed the all the options above, you might feel overwhelmed. Over the last two years many people wrote to me asking more or less: so which one will work for me? Unfortunately, nobody can tell you that. You have to try and see what works for you.

To help find the answer that question more quickly and inexpensively, I recently made available GLARminŸ Tester, a blue light filter test kit, to help you find the optimal blue light filter for your eyes. It has:
– 8 blue light filters with different spectral transmission characteristics
a comprehensive table of all marketed blue light filters (with available spectrograms). They are ordered from blocking more blue light to less and grouped based on spectral transmission similarity to the 8 Tester Filters

The Tester can be worn over prescriptions.

Blue light filter Tester S

 

Ps: If you found this post 10 blue light filters to relieve computer eye strain, help sleep better, etc. useful, please consider LIKING, REBLOGGING, and/or SHARING it below.

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52 thoughts on “10 blue light filters: How to prevent eye strain from computer

    1. Carol, hi and thanks for your comment!

      If blocking blue light is your concern, than safety glasses are not any more special than the glasses you point to. The BIG difference is in spectral transmission data. The reason they are featured above is because the vendor (or a third party in some cases) discloses the spectrogram.

      This website only features products with known spectral transmission. This is very important, because not all glasses that appear to have the same tint block the same proportions of blue light. So if you want to know what works for you, you need to see the spectrogram.

      It is possible (but you’d be very lucky) to find a tint that works on your first try. Then you would learn that that specific tint, from that specific brand works for you. As long as you can continue buying that same tint from the same vendor you should be fine (unless they change the supplier, or the supplier changes the tint a little bit, or your sensitivity shifts).

      If you are not lucky in your first order, then you’d have wasted your time (if you cannot return the item, also money), because you would only learn that that specific tint doesn’t work for you without knowing what spectral transmission properties the tint has. So your (potentially/likely wrong) conclusion might be: blue blockers don’t work. If you’d still be willing to try another pair, you wouldn’t know how that new pair differs from the one you’ve already tried…

      To solve this kind of issues you can try this Tester kit. I also encourage you to read the article, as it explains in greater detail what I’ve tried to summarize above.

      I hope that helps?

  1. I found out about TechShield Blue through Vision Service Plan’s newsletter and got it on my most recent pair of computer glasses (it was covered by my VSP insurance! Yay!). It’s like INSTANT RELIEF when I put them on and look at the screen at work!! I use Night Shift on my iPhone, but my vision still gets blurry when I’ve looked at my phone for a long period of time. I need to just put the darned thing down!

    1. Hi, Terri. Great comment – it looks as though for some people even lenses that filter relatively low amounts of blue light (spectrogram below) work agains eye strain – that is great news! The difficult question remains: how can you know without trying what will work for you!? Thanks and best.

      TechShield Blue Spectral Transmittance

  2. This information is fantastic. I’ve suffered from chronic migraine for over 10 years and have found that blue light is a major trigger. You’ve clearly done a lot of research and your website should help countless people. I’m baffled as to why the scientific community doesn’t give more attention to this problem. The increase in blue light exposure due to LED light sources (found in TV’s, computers, and interior lighting) could have dramatic long term consequences for people’s well being and eye health. Yet there seems to be practically no research into this area. Thanks for doing your part to get the message out there.

    1. Hi I also suffer from migraines on a regular basis because I am working on a screen all day. Any suggestions on which filters to try first ? Regards, DErek

  3. Thank you. I found your article to be very helpful in my understanding of blue light and how the different filters work. Thanks again.

  4. Thankyou for your write up. I found the % of blue light blocked with the colored glasses useful. Ive known about blue light for a while, after having many leds in my living environment, come day time I was as blind as a bat in feeling like Im in “vertaul reality: of life, until a national news paper ran a story on blue light. Now Ive made homemade filters using phospher from flourescent tubes {mixed with clear coat} and sprayed onto sanded clear plastic overs. It works. Im using windscreen tinter on my computer, but their clear it needs to be amber or yellow to block blue light. Currently looking for a solution for iphone7 screen. Im disgusted that industry hasnt done squat about blue light as it hammers my eyes. Last year {2016} I noticed new Acer computers stated “blue light filtered” so it says iphone are a bunch of corner cutting for profit making rackitairs. As one of your commentaitors mentioned, cars with these LED headlights are a menice. Its obviously really a “government problem” and were in a {s-l-o-w-l-y post} ‘cowboy age’ regarding LEDS.

    1. Guru Yodha, thanks for your comment. Indeed, blue light filtering apps can only reduce blue light emissions as far as digital video display technology will let them. Once you put blue blocking glasses on you realize there was still quite a bit of blue light left (see this review for more).

  5. It’s the winter months that hurt my eyes. All the cars with their LED head lights and recently my worked changed to all LED lights. At least they bought flicker free lights but they emit high levels of blue and I am still trying to find blue filter glasses that work. Also my city is switching all the street lights to LED right now. My computer screen at home I switched it to a CRT and am using the IRIS software on it. I find it better if I am doing reading on the computer to use grey scale. I overclocked the refresh rate to 120 which is a big relief on the eyes. 60 hertz refresh rate on a CRT is death:) Life is hard but thanks to all you research on the subject of blue light it might be tolerable. I especially like your research on the diet because I have been eating things that are good for your eyes for years but never the right combination like you have listed. I always found there isn’t a lot of research on this subject and doctor’s are no help. Thanks again!

  6. Thanks for this article. I am looking for an Android app and Windows PC app, and I’m confused by the fact that the only f.lux Android app I see in the play store says “preview, root-only.” Is there no mainstream version of the app for Android? I want an app that uses color transform, as you suggest.

    One other little thing: I think you mean “sewing,” not “sowing.” 🙂

    1. Jacobdan, thanks for your comment.

      Sadly I don’t have good news as far as using color transform on your Android.

      Here is a recent reply of the creator of Iris (similar as f.lux but more focused on eye strain than insomnia):

      The transform is better solution, but there is no way to make it on Android without Jailbreak.

      So Iris ships with the transparent overlay option for Android users :(:.

      PS. Thanks for correcting me on the other little thing – you are right I did men “sewing”.

  7. I have just one question, wasn’t able to find the answer so far – Does adding warmer overlay (Like Twillight app does) have same effect as filtering/removing blue light? If I have 3000K LEDs in my bedroom, the color would be warm white, but they will still emite light from the blue spectrum.

    1. Nikola, hi. Thanks for your comment!

      A software solution cannot remove all blue light. A physical filter can get much closer to blocking it 100%.
      From practice: I just recently tried a pair of blue blockers (see review here). I normally work with orange text on black background + f.lux set at 2700K (daytime). As I put the glasses on I was amazed to see how much blue light a black screen still emits.
      Spectrograms: check out fluxometer.com. There you can see how screen’s spectral power distribution varies depending on f.lux settings (f.lux has the same functionality as Twilight).

      Another important consideration (particularly is you suffer from computer eye strain) is loss of contrast that blue light reducing apps produce. See some numbers comparing f.lux and twilight.
      In this sense I can’t but recommend color transform (not overlay) approach: f.lux or change background/text color.

      I hope you find this helpful.

    1. Summer, hi! Thanks for bringing up Beyond UV.

      Yes, I’ve heard of Zenni Optical’s (commission link) Beyond UV lenses and considered them for the post on best blue blocking glasses. Unfortunately there was no information on spectral transmission properties of their blue bocking lenses to be found on their site (have I missed it?). I also wrote to them but received no reply.

      I assume Glarminy readers like to know what they are buying. As you can see here, even clear lenses could be considered and advertized as blue light filtering lenses, but that is probably not what you want to buy if you have a blue light related problem or you want to prevent having one.

      I hope this was helpful? Best 🙂

    1. Max, hi. The best solution might be one with a Rosco filter described above in the post. It is much cheaper than the referred product and in terms of blue light filtering you’ll know what you are getting.

      With respect to the product linked in your comment, I’d be cautious because the statement:

      This type of sales talk specifically designed to filter up to 99.99% of harmful blue-light and UV (380nm ~ 480nm) from light sources in working and living environment;
      could mean:
      – blocks 99.99% of light up to 380nm
      – the transmission curve goes up sharply past 380nm to let through most light in the 440 – 520 nm range (high sensitivity of melanopsin, i.e. affects sleep)

      I am not saying that this is the case with the TV Anti-blue light filter you linked to, but if it is, than you’d be wasting your money.

      Also, in the image the screen looks clear. While it is very difficult to get true colors that reflect reality in such an image, you should know that it is impossible to have any significant blue light absorption without color distortion.

      I hope this helps?

  8. Thanks very much for sharing this comprehensive article on blue light impact. I once heard that the distance of watching TV can’t cause eye problem, it’s the time. The longer you watch TV, the blue light emitted from the TV screen can hurt eyes. That’s the same as using computer, iPhone, or other digital device. (It’s not my point. Just want to say the close work can’t really cause eye strain, it’s the time you spend in front of your digital device.)

    I am an editor who need to spend more than 8 hours a day in front of computer. Also, I’m addicted to my iPhone on bed. So…. there is indeed a problem of my eyes. I got to know a lot of blue light hazard and also tried every possible way to block the harmful blue light when working and playing, indoor and outdoor. Just want to share my ways;
    1. On computer, download and install F.lux and wear a pair of blue light blocking glasses in conjunction. It’s T’aime Optics(http://www.taimeopt.com/), which can block 97% of blue light. Sometimes I choose to turn off F.lux because it can distort color perception and decrease brightness.
    2. On iPhone: turn on “Night Shift”. Yeah, maybe you can add this part to your article. Night Shift is the new function on iOS device, which has been designed to block blue light.
    3. I often try me best to shorten the time on iPhone or iPad before sleep time. Especially, don’t play with them in a black surroundings.
    4. Don’t turn on the LED light in the middle of night. Try to open the lamp or hallway light. Please note LED light is a part of blue light source.

    Sum up, the best way to minimize blue light is get away from these digital devices. If not, shorten the time and get the best protector.

  9. You should check out Axon Optics.They have a patented custom tint that is for blue light filtering and migraine relief. The tint is kind of a rose color, which I find much nicer than the amber alternatives. They can do custom glasses with or without rx.

  10. Thanks for the excellent article. I’ve noticed that in addition to f.lux software for the PC, there are apps now that filter blue light on your smartphone. Which is more effective: using a software to reduce the blue light or using the Roscolux color filters?

    1. Colin, thanks for your kind words.

      If it is a good app (that uses color transform approach, as f.lux does) I’d recommend it. See this for more info on the advantages of transform vs overlay approach. It mostly has to do with loss of contrast.

      If your choice is between an app with an overlay approach and roscolux, than the latter is probably more certain in terms of blue light reduction.

      1. Hi Uros,
        In regard to Roscolux colour filters, what specifically should I get? I’ve gone to the Rosco site and a bit confused? Do you have or know a good weblink that I can review to see exactly what I need to buy?

        I’ll be looking to add the filters to my laptop, iphone and ipads.

        Thank you!

        PS – what about TVs, we have 2 in the house so would be good to consider those also if they are a problem.
        Thanks again!

        Cheers,
        Fernando

      2. Fernando, hi and thanks for your comments. The LowBlueLights site is a good start and might be your best solution if what you are trying to do is to fight insomnia.

        I’ve recently put up a post on best blue blocking screen filters including their spectrograms and use recommendations.

        Roscolux is a DIY option – it is a lot cheaper, but you have to do some work (just measuring, cutting with scissors, and taping the filter onto the screens). The above mentioned post has links to where you can purchase Roscolux products and also suggestions as to which color (spectral filtering characteristics) to get given the problem (insomnia, eye strain, AMD, etc…) you want to solve.

        You might also look at blue blocking glasses here.

        I hope this answers your questions. If not, let me know. 🙂 Uroš

  11. Great information here by Uros, thank you very much. He has given me permission to comment on this amazing post.

    I am an Optometrist and the founder of Ocushield, a blue light screen filter developed by myself and a team of eye care professionals. We are also a great alternative reducing blue light without making the image of the device very orange. We keep image clarity very clear while still reducing harmful blue light up to 35%. Happy for anyone to get in touch regarding our product and technology.

  12. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing the idea of using the roscolux film sheet to put on the iPad screen to block blue light. I was about to spend $40 on a blue light blocking shield but after reading your info, I went to a film store and paid $8 for enough to cover my iPad, iPhone and laptop screens. Thanks so much. I’m glad I came across your website.

  13. Excellent article!

    I thought that I would add our blue block offerings to your list. For the last 2 years we have been offering custom crafted reading glasses with a choice of blue block tints or blue block anti-reflective coating. We are the #1 site on the internet for blue block readers.

    The frames are all optical quality and the lenses (which are included in the price) are thin aspheric polycarbonate. There are hundreds of frame styles to choose from ranging in price from $39 up. Blue block tint is $20 and blue block AR is $25.

    You can get zero power up to +4.00 in either eye and we offer prescription single vision lenses too!

    1. Steve, thanks for this comment!

      For the sake of consistency, could you also provide some reference to:
      blue light filtering efficiency,
      – overall light transmission, and
      – UV absorption
      of your blue light filtering tints and anti-reflective coating?

      Please, also include links to this information on your website or (even better) an independant one.

      1. From Steve at http://www.ReadingGlassesEtc.com.

        Both our blue block AR and blue block tinted lenses are aspheric polycarbonate with UV400.
        Mojo BluBlock AR reflects off blue light to 470nm allowing good blue light through. (~20% blue light blocked). They are scratch resistant and have a premium hydrophobic coating.

        Mojo BluBlock Amber Tint at a 15% tint depth, filters blue light to 550nm. Because the lenses are custom tinted, you can select tint depths from 15% to 60% depending on your personal light sensitivity and whether you wear them at night or outside during the day.

        Mojo BluBlock lenses are private label, supplied for us by a Colts Certified lab in California.

        We have more here about blue light and Mojo BluBlock and outside resources-

        and here specifically about Mojo BluBlock AR

        And FYI, this very informative article from Review of Optometry about blue light, good vs. bad and its connection to AMD.

  14. After reading from your site that computer blue light cause retina damage I conclude that you are incompetent and dont read further. All symptom you describe its not caused by blue light but rather near work you get far more blue light from sunshine day than from electronic device.
    Most of information here is from frauds who sells they products so must create problem which they resolve.
    Typical statment from them: Who’s going to need the most protection? Those who have high exposure to white LED or fluorescent light bulbs in offi ces and homes, frequent users of LED computer monitors, tablets, or smart phones” another misinformation “At issue, however, is the fact that the standard radiance level of most monitors(or phone display) is very low. Most monitors emitlight at around 10 cd/m2. Ambient illumination is usually about 10–20 cd/m2. In other words, you would get about as much exposure staring at a blue wall, which reflects short-wave light into your eye, as you would by staring at a blue (light-emitting) monitor.”” http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2012/424965/
    Many optometrist who study this issue dont agree,
    “A fundamental weakness of the phototoxicity-AMD hypothesis is its lack of epidemiologic confirmation despite over 20 years of careful investigation. While two large population-based studies did find an association between environmental light exposure and AMD, five other large population-based and four case-control studies failed to support this relationship. If there were a strong association between environmental light exposure and AMD, these large epidemiologic studies should have provided conclusive evidence. Additionally, AMD prevalence is not correlated with latitude as one might expect if environmental light exposure were a significant risk factor for AMD.”
    http://www.myvisiontest.com/newsarchive.php?id=705
    http://theidos.com/myths-about-uv.aspx
    There is no confirm danger about exposure from sun or bulbs (which have higher intensity than regular screen.)

    1. DariusMD, thanks for bringing this up!

      Your comment is focused on the effects of blue light on AMD. This post’s focus is on the effects of computer blue light on computer eye strain and to a lesser extent also on sleep. I once mention other potential hazards (including retina damage) but in relation to emerging research to warn the reader. Moreover, the article restates elsewhere that the blue light related research is in the early stages suggesting the inconclusiveness of the results, which (according to my reading) your comment confirms.

      I realize that many people don’t have blue light related problems with eye strain or sleep. I hope they never will. This post is not for them.

      Blue light caused computer eye strain and sleep disorder are two problems I have. Using some of the blue light filters mentioned above has immensly improved the quality of my life. It has (among other things) enabled me to continue to work (with a computer). I realize I am not much of a sample, but this article is about helping people who might be having the same problems, not so much about science, i.e. it is about unique individuals. Statistics based medical science is great. It has helped a great majority of people – one, two, perhaps even three standard deviations from the mean (68%, 95% or 99.7% of all people respectively). This article is about those few of us who in this specific problem fall farther away from the mean. Even if we are just 0.3% of the population. Or even less! Thank God for the Internet!

      I really liked a recent comment on this subject by Dani, who has DSPD (Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder) and has struggled to find a solution. Here is how he summs up the experience of many of us who somehow don’t fit within the boundaries of statistics governed science:

      The lens colors are typically created by pigments and dyes in sunglasses and whatnot. There are a million different ways to make the same color since our eyes only detect a few colors and our brain makes the rest from those. Regular glasses or goggles may or may not work. If a lot of other people say it works, it may work for you. The wavelength we are most sensitive to is the average. You may fall at one end of the spectrum and find what works for most people doesn’t work for you.

      1. The problem is that in such studies they exposed naked retina cells to high intense blue light so its not suprise its cause damage to them. “This post’s focus is on the effects of computer blue light on computer eye strain and to a lesser extent also on sleep” yes but problem here is that eye strain is caused by close work not blue light because like I sad you get more blue light starring at blue wall than computer screen. About sleep no one will be say anything because all knoww that blue light at night supress melatonin nothing here magical. ” Using some of the blue light filters mentioned above has immensly improved the quality of my life. It has (among other things) enabled me to continue to work (with a computer). I” I work as a toxicologist and one probably most important thing I learn is that placebo effect is powerfull tool. “This article is about those few of us who in this specific problem fall farther away from the mean. Even if we are just 0.3% of the population. Or even less! Thank God for the Internet!” yes I understand you but they should filter they eyes mostly all time as blue light is greater for example outdoor but there is also melatonin problem if they will block blue light they will get problem with this hormone balance in the greater way as using computer at night. P.S I also use f.lux to block blues at night.

      2. DariusMD, your comment above is very good. Thanks. I took some time to reflect on it before answering:

        “problem here is that eye strain is caused by close work not blue light because like I sad you get more blue light starring at blue wall than computer screen”

        The biggest eye-strain problem I have is with driving, far greater than with computer work. You’ll agree that most of the time one spends looking at a distance, i.e. it is not “close work”. The road is not like your example of a “blue wall”, but a shade of gray, which means it reflects all colors evenly (also blue). If I put my orange glasses on it is much, much better. Far better than, for example, when using gray polarized sunglasses (which cut glare but let through full spectrum of light, also blue, unlike my orange glasses).

        I don’t have this problem in nature, though (where I live it is mostly green – it absorbs some blue light).

        “Placebo effect” I can’t argue this one. It could be. I am not sure how to test it.

        Thanks also for the very relevant warning about the “melatonin problem” if blocking blue light during the day. (I do try to avoid wearing my orange glasses, except in the evenings, and when driving, which is just too strenuous if I don’t.

  15. Thank you for your comment on the PC Sunscreen software. A couple of comments:
    We do not publish absorption graphs for the software because the spectral distribution of light emitted by different monitors varies hugely and therefore such graphs are really meaningless. Instead we give the user complete control of the “virtual filter” which is superimposed on the normal screen colours. The software also allows you to set the preferred colour for the filter during the day to accommodate the 20% of users who read more fluently when the background colour is other than white. PC Suncreen also allows you to set up to three different filters on three monitors if using an extended desktop. Inevitably, filtering the emitted wavelengths does “distort” the colours and has some effect on contrast. However, because the size of the virtual filter can be adjusted, colour palettes and other colour critical objects can be placed outside the filter. Furthermore, with careful selection of the filter, the impact on contrast is minimal.
    We provided a Screen Tinter free of charge for many years but such programs do attract a considerable number of calls and emails and in our view it is better to charge a nominal fee to cover this support that to provide no support.
    Prof David Thomson

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