Computer Glasses vs. Software: Which Is Better For Blue Light Protection?
Updated: Jul 10, 2019
In an era where blue light awareness has never been higher, I often get asked what the best option is to reduce blue light exposure and the best way to protect your eyes. Should you use blue light blocking glasses or are software options the best way to go? Truth is there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
First, let's take a look at each products individual features, then we'll compare them to each other to see what might be the ideal choice for you.
In this arena we'll be comparing:
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
In today's market, the average consumer has been lead to believe that all blue light blocking glasses are "computer glasses". This is simply not correct. Computer glasses, as they are defined by an eye care professional, should have, at the very least, a slight magnification in the lenses. This magnification (or whichever power your eye doctor may prescribe you) is essential to reducing eye strain and fatigue.
Our eyes naturally come together a bit when we focus on something up close and keeping our eyes in this position can cause our eye muscles to fatigue, making it harder to keep focused. The power in the lens provides some much needed assistance by helping keep your eyes in that converged position.
Computer glasses can also block harmful blue light, though this isn't the main purpose of computer glasses. The priority here is to reduce eye strain and fatigue using power in the lenses. These days, most people that purchase computer glasses are also looking to block blue light,and so, it is quite common for computer glasses to come with some sort of blue light filter.
Computer glasses such as those made by Felix Gray, offer computer glasses with or without magnification in the lenses. (Visit Felix Gray Online)
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Blue light blocking glasses due just as they say; they block blue light. There are so many options available these days that it can be quite overwhelming. Truth is though, they all do the same basic thing. They come at different price points and in different styles but in the end they don't do much more than just block out blue light.
For some people this is just fine. Others can't tolerate the power found in computer glasses so they stay with non-powered blue light blockers. Most, unfortunately, have gone this route because they don't know the difference and have been following the guide of product manufacturers telling them this will solve all their Digital Eye Strain (DES) problems. Since DES has more to do with tired eye muscles and not blue light exposure, I'd have to say most companies are misleading consumers.
Blue light glasses do have a purpose though. Exposing yourself to blue light during late evening hours, especially the hour before you go to sleep, can limit the amount of Melatonin that your brain releases into your body, and thus, making it harder to fall asleep.
For more information on Melatonin and how blue light influences it's release, please watch this video:
In other words, I'm not against blue light glasses, I would just like to see manufacturers do a better job of telling consumers how their products really work instead of just making bold, misleading statements.
Blue light blocking glasses such as those made by Prospek can help prevent sleep disorders and headaches caused by over exposure to digital devices. (Visit Prospek Online)
When talking about software options, there are many choices to consider. Your tablet or smartphone most likely already has a "night mode" built in but if it doesn't you can easily download an app to control the amount of blue light being emitted from your screen.
Perhaps the most popular choice at the moment is a free software called f.lux (Visit f.lux online). F.lux allows you to not only turn down the amount of blue light on your screen, it actually takes your geographical location and automatically adjusts the color balance on your screen according to the time of day.
For example, you need little to no blue light filtering during morning or late afternoon hours, but as the sun begins to go down and our mind and body prepare for the resting period, it is essential to cut back on blue light exposure. So, f.lux takes this into account and gradually cuts back on the blue light as the day progresses. If for some reason this method doesn't work for you, there is still an option to control the filtration process manually.
Unlike built-in "night mode" options which are found on devices like the Apple iPhone, f.lux allows you to control exactly how much blue light, and even the specific range of the spectrum, is getting filtered. Night Mode on your phone, at the time this article is being written, does not allow you to control the specific amount of blue light being filtered.
Best Choice For You
Now that we know what each product has to offer, let's ask the question: What is the best choice for you?
If you simply want to cut down on blue light exposure during the late evening hours then software could be all you need. You can turn it on when you need it and you don't have to carry a set of glasses around with you. The limitation with software is that it's not helping with reducing strain on your eye muscles. On the contrary, I found that the sepia color tone made my eyes feel like I had to work harder to focus because of the reduced contrast on my display. (This may not be an issue for everyone.)
Blue light blocking glasses could be the better way to go if you want better contrast while still protecting your eyes. Advancements in blue light filtration has advanced over the past 2 years and the lenses are now practically clear. The limitation here is you have to carry the glasses around with you and you are not in control of the amount of blue light getting filtered. You also must remember that basic blue light glasses, much like software, is not going to reduce eye muscle strain and fatigue.
Computer Glasses, if you purchase them with power in the lenses, are technically the only option that has an element that should reduce eye muscle strain and fatigue. You can find computer glasses with varying blue light protection (BPF) options, giving you plenty of customization choices. The most common complaint with computer glasses is regarding the magnification in the lens. If you have 20/20 vision (or something close) then you may be aware of the power in the lens and it's possible that you won't tolerate it.
The good news is there is something for everyone and there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to blue light protection. Hopefully this guide provided you with the information you need to make the best decision for your digital lifestyle.
Thank you for reading.