Computer vs. Blue Light Filter Glasses: What's The Difference?
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
Computer glasses, blue light filter glasses, anti-strain glasses.... there are so many different names and advertisements out there that it's nearly impossible to know what is what. In this article i'll tell you the difference between computer and blue light filter glasses so you can get only what you need.
Let's start with Blue Light Filter glasses:
Per their name, these glasses are supposed to do one specific thing really well; filter out blue light. Though they are often marketed as "computer glasses", and technically they are not falsely advertising because they are intended for use in front of a digital device like a smartphone, tablet or computer monitor, they are lacking certain features that true computer glasses have.
Blue light filter glasses are usually available at extremely low price points (Though there are some pricey options), they come with an anti-blue light coating (Not the same as anti-glare coating) and the lenses usually have an amber tint.
A few blue light filter brands:
J+S Vision: https://amzn.to/2J9k9yM
Blue Shark Optics: https://frstre.com/go/?a=30741-19a2de&s=241121-84370a&tap_s=241121-84370a
This is just a small list of brands you can find online. There are many more blue light filter eyewear makers than there are true computer eyewear makers. You'll see why as you continue reading.
Now let's look at true computer glasses:
Though it may seem like a new thing, computer glasses have been around for a very long time. You see, where blue light filtering glasses have a primary purpose of filtering out blue light, computer glasses have a primary purpose of reducing digital eye strain (DES).
Please read my article on Digital Eye Strain Here for a comprehensive breakdown of what's also known as Computer Vision Syndrome.
Tired eyes, blurry vision, double vision, headaches and dry eyes are all symptoms of Digital Eye Strain and blue light alone has very little to do with causing this.
Computer glasses have coating as features that help reduce DES and though they can feature option that filter blue light, it is not focused on this.
Computer glasses primary features:
Decentered Pupillary Distance
Anti-Glare coatings are needed to reduce the build up of reflections on the front surface of the lens. Reflections can be distracting and annoying. Last thing you want is to solve one problem but create another. Make sure you have an anti-glare coating.
Note: Blue light filtering glasses have a coating that is called "anti-glare" but it has a strong bluish hue to it and i've found those colored reflections to be bothersome. Everyone has a different tolerance level but I don't like my anti-glare to be blue, purple or pink; i prefer the Zeiss Pure Coat or the Crizal Avance coatings.
Slight Magnification is something that Gunnar Optics made popular. They use it to help our Ciliary Muscles to relax while focusing on things that are within arms length (20-24')
You need the slight magnification in order to decenter the pupillary distance. This is accomplished by taking a person's normal PD (the distance between pupils) and reducing it by about 3-4 mm. If you are buying "non-prescription" versions from companies like Gunnar or Felix Gray then they are using an estimated average PD to decenter the lenses.
Our eyes naturally converge when we look at things in an intermediate to near focal length and this can be quite tiring on our eye muscles when we keep them there for hours at a time. By decentering the lenses our eyes are getting some help to stay in that converged position.
Watch our Gunnar eyewear review here:
Keep in mind that you can have the best of both if you like. Gunnar Optics in particular gives you many options to choose from. They have lenses with different BPF % so you can get computer glasses that also filter out as much blue light as you want.
Blue light glasses and computer glasses can be the same but they can also be quite different. Price isn't always a guide but most glasses that simply filter blue light can be found for as little as $12 and as high as $100 and up.
Computer glasses are not commonly found under $50. The average price for Gunnar and Felix Gray glasses is $80-$100. The price is more because the lenses cost more to manufacture and the frames they are mounted in are also higher quality.
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