Blue Blocking Glasses?

Ok, besides making you look like a dork, what do they really do?

Who knows really, does anyone really know how the human eyes and brain work in their entirety? I do not believe anyone does, otherwise we could construct these things.

We can only run tests and draw conclusions from those tests.

Blue blocking glasses is one of those things that is incredibly hard to test. It would require taking measurements over the course of 20+ years. Attempting to isolate all other variables. Very difficult.

So, everything I am going to talk about is philosophy. There are some study's but they can only provide a small amount of data.

The Data

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5854379/ This is a study showing blue light effects retina cells in mice.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734149/ This one shows our Circadian cycle is affected by blue light.

There was another study I read months ago where they took mice, one cage had incandescent light, the other had LEDs. The mice with the LEDs had increased loss of retina cells.

The Philosophy

There is something going on. That is clear, LEDs, or blue light, or both. Our eyes can be affected by these things. So, can our sleep (circadian) patterns.

So, what can we do? I, like 70% of you reading this, spend a LOT of time staring at the computer screen. 99% of the screens we use today are backlit with LEDs.

That is not optional, we need to. So, what are we going to do about it? Anything at all? I mean we all do it, should we just ignore it, put it in the category of "don't eat sugar" Yeah, we know it is bad but what are you going to do?

Solutions

There is more than 1 way to combat this. These are the ones I see:

  • Blue Blocking Glasses
  • Tape on screen filter
  • Software blue light filter
  • "Eye care" screens

Let's talk about all of them. (Spoiler, I am a fan of the glasses route)

Blue Blocking Glasses

Pros:

  • Easy to take on and off
  • Can be peeked over
  • Cheap
  • Make you look like a computer guru
  • block 99.9% of blue light

Cons:

  • Make you look like a dork
  • Glasses are annoying, get dirty, fall down.
  • Need to be cleaned

To me "they just work" yes, they are glasses, if you already wear readers then it might not be possible to find prescription blue blockers. I actually tried this for my father, they have clip on ones, oh boy do you look like a nerd with those on. They do work but he stopped wearing them because they were just too annoying.

I wear them every day, not 100% of the time. Some days I hardly wear them at all. It just depends, that is the nice thing about them. You can take them on and off very quickly.

The one's I have are USA made, and only $15. They are from UVEX. An authority on glasses, this specific model is just fantastic, for someone who never wears glasses I was able to just put them on and never feel soreness or discomfort of any kind.

Tape on screen filters:

Now I never even tried one of these. My mother had told me in the 90's they were all the rage. The only time I see tape on filters anymore are privacy filters. I would have a major problem with the use of them, so never even tried

Pros:

  • Nothing on your face
  • Protects your screen
  • Can be replaced cheaply
  • Work as well as glasses

Cons:

  • Not easily removed (the deal breaker for me)
  • Very hard to make look perfect
  • Lint behind the protector

Even though there are great pros to the screen filter, the cons are just too much.

Not being able to remove it on a moment's notice is a total deal breaker, I need to see colors, I am not going to rip a big piece of plastic off my screen 50 times a day.

Also, I know trying to get the thing to look perfect, cut to the perfect size, taped perfect, it is just not going to happen. It will bug me too much. Getting lint behind it that you cannot wipe off. No go for me.

Software Screen Filters

This is the easiest solution. Mac, windows, and Linux have free software available that will make the screen yellow to block out the blue light.

I just don't think they work. Displays are just filters in front of LEDs, if there is light coming through it all it is LED light, they can attempt to filter out all the blue but it just seems like it is not going to fully work.

Screens are not designed to do this.

Pros

  • Free
  • Can be implemented right now

Cons

  • Questionable effectiveness
  • More difficult to toggle than taking off glasses
  • Yet another piece of software you need to install/ configure on all your devices

If I was in some situation where glasses were just not an option then I would use this method. I actually use it on my phone every day. Yes, it is buggy and breaks things, and I am always wondering if it actually does anything.

Back to philosophy, it has to be better than nothing.

Eye care screens

Now this one is kind of new. I guess more and more people are thinking about their eyes and screens.

Pros:

  • No color shift
  • Always on

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Questionable effectiveness
  • Not portable

This is totally above my head. Monitors like the one I just bought have this technology. You would need to be a light engineer to understand if and how it works.

They just call it "eye care" it is on a lot of the newer Dell monitors.

I don't have much to say, it could be the end all superior solution to the problem. Or another marketing farse. I really have no idea.

Conclusion:

Like many things to do with the infinitely complicated machine called the human body, no one really knows. Do the solutions work? Is this even a problem?

All I know is the solution is not very expensive or difficult. So, if there is a chance it does something you are better safe than sorry.

I wear the above glasses every single day, on average 65% of the day. Sometimes when working with colors I need to just leave them off. Sometimes you just want to see the beautiful colors that are on the screen.

It just comforts me to know I am doing something. If I am buried in the terminal for hours then it just makes sense. I just need to see the text; it is not a problem.

It almost becomes like a ritual; it sets your mind into work mode. The brain does build associations, mine knows when the glasses are on it is time to work for an extended period of time.

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