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Verify: Do blue light-blocking glasses protect your eyes?

Posts across social media tout the benefits of blue light-blocking glasses for eye protection. But what do experts say?

ATLANTA — You may reach for your phone first thing in the morning only for it to be the last item you set aside at night. In fact about a quarter of American adults say they are 'almost constantly' online, according to Pew Research Center.

The price of all that screen time? Tired eyes. According to social media, relief is only a pair of glasses away. Or is it?


Our team turned to Dr. Xiao Qin Lu, comprehensive ophthalmologist at Emory Eye Center to verify.

"I think people are getting more uncomfortable because they use these devices so long and they're nervous," Dr. Lu said. "Could it be the blue light, and can I wear a pair of these glasses and my discomfort will go away."

The blue light-blocking glasses are supposed to protect and ease eye strain. but Dr. Lu says there's a disconnect in that idea as digital eye strain and blue light are two different issues.

"The American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend blue light filtering glasses," she said.

While a study released this summer set off alarm bells on the potential of blue light to be dangerous long term, the Academy disputed the findings.

A report from the organization says the headlines are unfounded based on the research and the glasses are not needed. In fact, blue light is not only present in screens. The blue light is also found in fluorescent lights as well as sunlight.

Yet, Dr. Ku says digital eye strain is a real issue patients are struggling with so she recommends the 20/20/20 rule for patients: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

It's a recommendation reinforced by the Academy's physicians.

Dr. Lu acknowledges that a potential benefit for the filtering glasses could come into play at bedtime as blue light has been shown to interfere with the circadian rhythm, the wake sleep cycle of the brain.

However, many cell phones and digital devices already have a nighttime setting that serves the same purpose.

We can VERIFY that according to experts, blue light-blocking glasses are not needed to protect your eyes from digital eyestrain or blue light.

Do you have a claim you'd like our VERIFY team to look into? Email us at verify@11alive.com.


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