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Do Sunglasses Block Blue Light?

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Close-up of woman with blue light reflected on her glasses from a screen.

Blue light is getting a lot of attention nowadays, so you may wonder if your sunglasses will block it. The answer isn’t a simple one because it varies. Sunglasses may block blue light if designed that way, but ultraviolet (UV) radiation is typically one of the primary things sunglasses protect our eyes from.

But just because your sunglasses may not protect your eyes from blue light doesn’t make them any less important. Blue light may not be the main thing your eyes need protection from when it comes to being outside in the sun. UV radiation exposure may increase your risk of developing eye conditions, like glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), later in life. 

The Good & Bad About Blue Light

Blue light is the shortest wavelength and highest energy visible light on the electromagnetic spectrum. It is a bit of a mixed bag regarding our current knowledge of its effect on our bodies and eyes.

The Good

Blue light serves an important function in regulating our body’s internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. Exposure to blue light during the day signals our body to stay alert, enhancing our mood, memory, and cognitive performance. This is particularly important for those who work night shifts or experience seasonal depression, as it can help alleviate these symptoms. 

The Bad

Have you ever heard the saying too much of a good thing isn’t always good? The good thing about blue light is how it can help regulate our internal clock, but it can also be the not-so-good thing about this light wavelength.

It can disrupt our circadian rhythms if we’re exposed to it at the wrong time of day, such as late at night when our bodies should be winding down for sleep. This can lead to poor sleep quality, affecting our mood and cognitive function the next day.

Blue Light & Our Eyes

There’s a lot of talk online these days about blue light being linked to things like cataracts or AMD. The truth is there’s just not enough evidence to support these claims. One thing to consider is that the technology we use daily typically isn’t going to emit enough blue light to affect our overall eye health negatively. But it could lead to a disrupted sleep schedule, which can have a snowball of negative effects on our eyes.

Do Sunglasses Block Blue Light?

Whether or not your sunglasses block blue light ultimately depends on the type of sunglasses. Many sunglasses protect against UV radiation, but not all block blue light. Only sunglasses designed for blue light protection can effectively block this potentially harmful light.

These sunglasses have a special coating or filter that can block out blue light wavelengths, making them an excellent option for those who find that blue light negatively affects their sleep cycles and lives.

Importance & Types of Sunglasses

Just because blue light from your cell phone or tablet isn’t necessarily going to cause damage or long-term problems doesn’t mean we can forget about the sunshine. As lovely as it is to soak up those golden rays, we should consider the importance of protecting ourselves from the sun.

UV Protection

UV-protection sunglasses are one of your best bets for protecting your eyes from the sun’s harsh rays. These glasses have special lenses that block out harmful UV light from the sun. Too much exposure to UV light can cause problems like cataracts, macular degeneration, and even skin cancer around the eyelids. But with UV-protection sunglasses, you’re reducing these risks significantly. 

Task-Specific Sunglasses

When you’re out and about, task-specific sunglasses like impact-resistant or polarized ones can be game changers. Impact-resistant sunglasses are typically made of materials that won’t shatter on impact, keeping your eyes safe from potential harm. Polarized sunglasses have a special coating on the lens that eliminates certain light wavelengths to cut down on glare. They’re especially good in highly reflective environments like on the water or snow.

Prescription Sunglasses

Prescription sunglasses could be a great option for anyone who spends time outside and those who need glasses for clear vision. You can wear stylish sunglasses to complete your look and protect your eyes instead of messing around with clip-ons or skipping sunglasses entirely.

A woman in an optometry clinic shaking hands with her male optometrist.

Find a Pair of Sunglasses that Fit Your Style

Sunglasses should be a thoughtful purchase. You want to consider which coatings or lenses you want, such as polarization, blue light filtering, impact-resistant, and anti-glare. Your lifestyle and vision needs will typically dictate which of these coatings you may want to consider. You’ll also want to consider whether you want your sunglasses lenses made with a prescription. If so, you may need an updated prescription. Give us a call at Southwood Eyecare today. Our team is happy to check on your current prescription and book you a new exam if needed.

Written by Dr. Shmyla Chaudhery

Dr. Shmyla Chaudhery was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Manitoba and later completed the Doctor of Optometry program at Illinois College of Optometry graduating with Magna Cum Laude honours. Dr. Chaudhery is also a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society and the Tomb and Key Honor Fraternity. She has experience with pediatric eye exams, ocular disease, specialty contact lenses, and vision therapy. During her spare time, she enjoys playing badminton and spending time with her husband and kids.
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