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Computer Vision Syndrome & Blue Light

According to recent studies, 60% of people spend as much as 6 hours a day in front of a digital device whether it is a computer, tablet, smartphone or other gadgets.

These devices emit "blue light" or high-energy visible (HEV) light, which is a known cause of computer vision syndrome, sleep disruptions and other potential dangers to the eyes. Blue light radiation is naturally emitted from the sun, but also artificially from television screens, electronic devices, and fluorescent and LED lighting.

What is Blue Light?


Emitted from the sun, blue light is naturally occurring in the world around us. On the spectrum of visible light (light that humans can see), blue light has the highest energy and the shortest wavelength.

It is also sometimes known as blue-violet or violet light, which is where ultraviolet (UV) light rays that are just beyond our perception get their name. Much like ultraviolet light, blue light has both dangers and benefits to our health, particularly to our eyes.

What are the Potential Dangers of Blue Light?

Research is still being done to determine the long-term effects of blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light emission, however it is known is that blue light is a cause of computer vision syndrome (CVS) and sleep disruptions.

Eye Strain

The high energy and shorter wavelengths of blue or HEV light emit a less consistent flow of light, creating a glare or flickering that can cause eye strain. Because sharpness and visual contrast are affected by this, the eyes have to work harder to see clearly. After extended periods of time this can result in headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and mental and physical fatigue.

Sleep Disruptions

Natural blue light in the atmosphere is known to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm (which controls your sleep cycles), to boost your mood and level of alertness and to improve memory and cognitive function.

However, prolonged exposure to artificial sources of blue light has been shown to reverse these positive effects by disrupting the circadian rhythm. This affects sleep, and can cause an increased risk of depression. Studies show using a digital device before bedtime can negatively impact the amount and quality of your sleep.  

Macular Degeneration

Researchers at Harvard University have shown that over time, prolonged exposure to blue light can cause damage to the retina at the back of your eye, which may lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and possibly other serious health and vision problems. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss and low vision.

The Effects of Digital Eye Strain


Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience digital eye strain as a result of the growing use of computers and digital devices. Adults aged 18 to 34 report feeling eye strain at a higher rate (45%) than their older counterparts.

New research also suggests that overexposure to blue light, also referred to as high-energy visible or HEV light, may contribute to vision problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Implications are just now being studied, but the short-term impact of digital eye strain affects individuals on a daily basis. Eye care providers are noting a steady rise in the incidence of myopia as well, which research suggests could be correlated to the increase of screen time and near focusing.

Digital Natives/ Digital Addicts
  • 70% of millennials report symptoms of dry eye and digital eyes strain (vs 57% of baby boomers)
  • 50% of new contact lens wearers cease usage of lenses within the first 3 years 
  • Contact lens wearers are 4x more likely to experience dry eye disease 
  • 45% of prospective new contact lens wearers have blurred vision (potential sign of computer vision syndrome)
Battle Against the Blues

76% of eye care professionals report a recent increase in dry eye among 18-34-year-olds.

Why? 

Increased device use tops the list!

  • Blink rate is decreased by 40% when performing a visual task
  • Incomplete blinks are highly correlated with device use 

woman suffering eye strain 1280x480

Symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sore eyes
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Neck, shoulder or back pain

In addition to these symptoms, emerging research shows that blue light from digital devices causes sleep disturbances by interfering with the REM cycle of sleep.

As people move from their computer to their tablet to their phone, more and more of these symptoms are being seen, and in younger and younger people. Computer glasses offer a solution to reduce the strain on your eyes and your exposure to blue light radiation.

Eye care, man working with laptop in Citrus Heights, Gold River, Folsom, and Sacramento, California

How Computer Glasses Work

Computer glasses reduce eye strain by adjusting the focus slightly so that your eyes feel like they are focusing on something further away. They also have a tint to remove the glare and block blue light from entering into your eyes.

technology computer boy blue light

Children and Computer Glasses

Children are using digital devices more than ever and this trend will only continue as smartphones take over and tablet and computer-based learning increases. Their use extends well beyond the school day, as they use computers for homework and gaming and smartphones to text with their friends.

Computer glasses should be used for children proactively before eye strain begins to keep their eyes healthy longer and prevent nearsightedness.

Finding The Right Pair


There lots of options for computer glasses, even some that are designed for device users without a prescription or to wear with contact lenses.

When shopping for computer glasses we want to be sure you find the right pair. Ask us about your options! Here are some of the options available:

Single Vision Computer Glasses

Provide the optimum lens power and field of view for viewing your computer screen without straining or leaning in to reduce symptoms of CVS.

These are ideal for when the computer is at a fixed working distance and work well if the user needs to view multiple screens at the same working distance.

Office Lenses or Progressive Lenses

No-line multifocal eyewear that can be made to correct near, intermediate and some distance vision with a larger intermediate zone for computer vision if indicated.

Perfect for those with presbyopia which is the gradual loss of focusing ability that occurs naturally with age. Office lenses work like progressive lenses but provide a wider field of view for intermediate (1-3 m) viewing distance and near working distance (about 40 cm).

Blue-Blocking Lenses

Definitely recommended for this electronic age, blue-blocking lenses block blue light emitted from computer screens that are associated with glare, eye strain, and possible sleep disturbances.

Anti-glare and filtering coatings (treatments)

Eliminate reflections from the surfaces of your lens to reduce eye strain and discomfort from glare. Some coatings can also block blue light emitted from computer screens.

While all of these are good options for protecting your eyes, the 20/20/20 rule still applies – after every 20 minutes of near tasks, look at something beyond 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds…it’s a good time to stretch the rest of the body too.

Eye exams are important to test your focusing ability, and to ensure that both eyes are working and focusing at the same place. Many people do not have the same prescription in each eye.

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