Ashley Graham tries out blue light glasses, but what are they?

Do blue light-blocking glasses work? (Getty Images)
Do blue light-blocking glasses work? (Getty Images)

Ashley Graham has shared a photo of herself wearing a pair of blue light blocking glasses she’s trying out.

Posting an image of herself in the clear rimmed square frames to Instagram, the model, 33, explained in the accompanying caption that she’d decided to give the glasses a go.

“Blue blockers, I’m tryn em out,” she wrote.

Many of Graham’s followers commented on the post saying they have also been using blue light blockers while looking at screens, with some declaring them a “game changer”.

“My blue light glasses have been a life saver this year with the transition to work from home,” one person wrote.

“They work,” another agreed. “Reduce headaches from screen staring all day.”

“These are a game changer,” yet another fan commented.

Read more: Rochelle Humes admits parenting guilt over not spotting daughter's sight problem

What are blue light glasses?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, many of us have found our screen time has increased as we turn to technology to keep in touch with our colleagues, friends and family during lockdowns.

But, concerned about the impact increased levels of blue light from screens could be having on our eyes, many people have been turning to glasses that aim to filter out blue light.

Online searches around blue light topics have increased significantly in the last year, according to research from Ambr Eyewear. With worldwide searches of blue light glasses, like those that Ashley Graham is currently trialling, rocketing 207% between September 2019 and August 2020.

Blue light, also called blue-ray light, is a specific kind of light with a short wavelength.

This type of light is emitted from your computer screen, your mobile phone and many other devices that have screens. It is also a part of natural daylight.

Scientists are still working to understand what blue light can do to your eyes over time.

There is some evidence that use of digital devices which emit visible blue light in the evening, may affect the circadian cycle, and lead to delayed sleep, according to the Association of Optometrists (AOP).

“This may be because visible blue light is linked to suppression of the hormone melatonin which makes us feel sleepy,” explains Dr Ian Beasley, optometrist and head of education at the AOP.

“However, there is currently no evidence to suggest that visible blue light has any effect on the development of eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or glaucoma.

“Exposure to blue light occurs on a daily basis from a range of sources, including natural daylight and digital devices,

“Reassuringly, the level of blue‐light exposure from digital devices is significantly less than levels of blue light from natural daylight.

“But specially designed coatings can be incorporated into spectacle lenses to help filter out blue light.”

Read more: Two children require medical attention after hand sanitiser caused severe eye injuries

(Getty Images)
Blue light exposure can impact sleep. (Getty Images)

Do blue light glasses work?

According to Dr Beasley coatings that filter out blue light may improve visual comfort for some people, and could help mitigate the impact of visible blue light on sleep.

“It should also be noted that visible blue light filter coatings typically only block around 20% of visible blue light,” he adds.

But Dr Beasley says there are a range of other factors also linked to disrupted sleep patterns.

“Excessive time spent in using near vision, for example reading, is sometimes associated with eye-strain and headaches,” he adds.

Watch: Blue light glasses could improve sleep and productivity.

Read more: What is 'mask eye' and how can you prevent it?

As to whether blue light blocking glasses or lenses are going to be part of prescription glasses going forward, Dr Beasley says further research is required to determine if blue light filters are of benefit.

So while the definitive verdict is still out on whether blue light glasses are able to substantially reduce exposure to blue light and the associated symptoms of exposure, taking breaks from your screens can help keep your eyes in good shape.

(Getty Images)
Will blue light filters be part of glasses prescriptions? (Getty Images)

Tips for reducing blue light exposure

For people who are worried about screen use and consequently blue light exposure the AOP advises:

  • Using screens close to bedtime may contribute to poorer sleep, so turning off any digital devices up to an hour before sleeping can help aid sleep.

  • Using night settings, if your device has them, can aid sleep by decreasing the amount of visible blue light emitted by the screen during night time hours

  • To avoid eye strain people should adhere to the 20/20/20 rule - every 20 minutes, look away from your screen at something at least 20 metres away for 20 seconds.

  • Have a sight test every two years, or more often if your optometrist recommends it.

Watch: Is lockdown contributing to poorer eyesight?

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