Do you need blue light glasses? Optometrist says there’s no proof they work

MADISON, Wis. — With many kids learning virtually and parents working from home, many of us are staring at our screens a lot. Sometimes that can result in headaches or feelings of eye strain.

We’ve all seen the commercials for blue light lenses, claiming they can protect your eyes from your bright phone or computer screen. But do they actually work?

SSM Health optometrist Dr. Nathaniel Harkins said blue light is part of natural light. It’s the wavelength that shows up as a blue color when it’s reflected back to us.

He said visible light — such as blue light — isn’t very dangerous for our eyes. The light we should be worried about is UV light.

“The amount of light that really gets into our eyes and our visual system from indoor lighting sources like a computer or a phone or even your desk lamp is really, really low compared to what we get when we just go outside,” said Harkins.

He said while blue light doesn’t damage our eyes, some studies show looking at your phone or the tv before bed can make it harder to fall asleep.

While Harkins said there isn’t enough good evidence to show that blue light lenses are helpful, he said some of his patients do report feeling less headaches. Even though there’s no scientific proof that they work, Harkins said blue light glasses are not harmful.

If your child is experiencing headaches or blurry vision when looking at screens, Harkins said using blue light lenses to block only about 10% of the light their eyes see probably won’t fix the problem. He recommends taking them for an eye exam.