Hi there. I recently purchased my subscription glasses. I was charged $90 for a film which coats the lens, which apparently does ‘something’ ie lessens the impact of screen blue light. I thought it was expensive. I’m wondering - is there a standard that this film is supposed to be compliant with? I have no idea if I’ve been sold a gimmick or evidenced product. Cheers,
Welcome to the forum @siv.
I could not find an Australian standard for blue light blocking glasses but virtually all optometry companies offer them.
While neither a test nor necessarily authoritative, this article might be helpful to understand what you were sold. It is not a gimmick but whether it will help you personally, only you can tell.
Thanks very much. The linked article certainly sheds some ‘light’ on my question. I do find it concerning that there is no regulation of the blue light film coatings. With increasing screen time and blue light exposure, one would hope that the efficacy of these films are evidenced. Particularly for children who this article suggests are particularly vulnerable to blue light. I would hate to be spending alot of money on and wearing my glasses with the film coating, thinking my sight is protected, when they might not be, if it’s not been studied thoroughly. I would like to see a test to measure their efficacy. Can Choice do that?
I have moved your topic into ‘Request a Test’ accordingly, but this one might be outside their expertise. This coating does not seem to be referenced in the eyeglasses buyer guide so as a minimum maybe they can include it in a future update and/or work with a collaborating institution.
It’s interesting to note that there are regular adds for “miracle” blue lense glasses in cheap magazines and the RACQ motoring mag. “Victims”, oops, happy customers claim all sorts of benefits, some plausible, others dubious. One claim that they improve night vision for driving may need to be revisited if the CNET article is referenced.
“Most are meant to be worn during the day while working in front of a computer, and at night to prevent the blue light from screens from keeping us awake.”
Is it all a giant scam when it comes to driving, and is it even legal when driving? Some purchasers appear to claim they no longer need to wear their prescription glasses when choosing the universal and fashionable blue lenses available online. Also note they are much cheaper when you take up the buy 3 at once offer. Are our local Optometrists simply riding off the back of a different part of the same wave. Consumer misinformation?
Our latest copy of the RACQ members advertising mail out is already off to recycling. If anyone would like to add an image of similar marketing for these products it might bring some more comment.
There is some science around blue light and vision. But is it being misused to promote products that add little real benefit to our lives?
P.S. Being a product advertised in the RACQ members mag may answer one question.
A quick scan of article in Google Scholar seems to show that orange lenses (the blue light reducing glasses) seems to help with eye strain and to help re-regulate cicadian rhythms (eg ameliorate the screens’ emitted light keeping teenagers awake at night). So not a gimmick for those things, but they are not a cure-all.
I would think that at this stage, we are too early in the research to have any sort of standard.
I wonder if it helps stop mental stimulation. I find a thinking or processing brain more of an issue than light colour…making sleep more difficult if it occurs immediately before hitting the sack.
I think the process is that the brain is fooled into thinking it is still daylight as we see lots of blue light from the sun. The body then stays in day mode rather than sleep mode.
I suppose if you stimulate the brain sufficiently on top of this, then there is little chance of getting to sleep.
The reverse of this is used to combat jet lag, where exposure to blue light by being outside can re-adjust the person’s circadian rhythms to the ambient time zone.
Thanks. A test would be great.
Hi there. mark_m Thanks for your response. It raises two issues from what I understand. 1) Is there evidence that blue light coating on prescription glasses reduce the impact of blue light computer screen exposure? 2) If the blue light coating is being heavily promoted as a panacea to screen exposure, how do we know we are buying what we hope for, if there is no standard? People are spending a lot of money on the coating. Possibly being ripped off. If so, there ought to be some regulation. How?
I find it better to stay awake and not to fall asleep in front of the computer, which I have done when I used to work in front of a screen from sunset to sunrise.
If the purpose is just to reduce blue light from phone or computer screens, why not just use the screen’s blue light reducing colour scheme? (I’ve been using it for years) It’s built into the Win10 OS and also the Android OS on my phone. I imagine other OSs have similar.
From NRMA’s Open Road. Keep in mind that there are many adverts for dodgy products in this mag, and even more so in the inserted dodgy advertising brochures.
My prescription glasses came from Kevin Paisley. But there was no documentation or information regarding the type or quality of the blue light coating.
There are reports that standard polarising sunglasses are effective in blocking blue light, whilst the same can’t be said for all standard sunglasses as some may and some may not.
Maybe a cheaper option is to buy some polarising sunglasses …as it would be cheaper…I wonder if polarised prescription lenses would be cheaper than the ‘blue tint filter’ applied to the lenses.
And, I wonder if standard prescription lenses block out blue light without a filter applied…are the filters necessary?
It also appears that wearing special glasses when using devices are not needed…American Academy of Ophthalmology
Based in this, I don’t think I would agree to pay for a special blue light filter to be added to a lens…it might be like the gold plated warranties some stores try to sell even though they have no real benefit.
Hi Siv, Blue light coatings sold by major optical lens manufacturers are often slightly different in the cut off wavelength of blue light being blocked, but all products sold by major manufacturers do what they are claimed to (from what I have seen). There would be a number of reasons for this perhaps including interpretation of research data, proprietary information, manufacturing limitations, and aesthetics. The blue light filter is not a stand alone product and is incorporated into an antireflective coating, or multicoat. This coating also protects from UV400 penetrating the lens, limits reflections from both front and back surfaces, makes the lens clearer to look at and through, may help with reflections and glare from lights at night in particular and offers superior scratch resistance to standard scratch protection. How effective are they? Good question… current info suggests that there is not likely to be any eye health benefit to wearing them, but they may help with eye fatigue from excessive screen use and help our bodies maintain good sleep rhythms. It is also important to remember that our bodies need blue light exposure during the day, so they probably should be a part time or indoor proposition. I’m not convinced they are beneficial to all wearers, but neither are they likely to be harmful. At the end of the day, as with anything, make the best decision you can for your needs and ask lots of questions! (Disclosure - I have worked in the industry, but have no financial interest in lens companies)
I am an optometrist, so I’m very aware of blue light from both a retail and health point of view.
There are two main areas that are considered when discussing “blue-block” glasses. The health effects, and the vision effects. And it’s not a product that I recommend to everyone.
A basic points it’s worth noting, only a portion of the blue light is blocked/absorbed.
I’ll cover the health first. Obviously UV light is damaging to the eyes for a number of reasons, we’re all aware of that. And blue/purple visible light is the closest to this. These colours have a shorter wavelength and therefore carry more energy. The higher the energy, the more likely that damage will occur. There have been specific studies done that demonstrate this damage to areas of the eye like the lens and retina when exposed to blue light.
I’m my opinion, this blue/purple light does have the potential to cause damage, but the overall risk seems to be minimal. And our main source of blue light exposure is sunlight, not screens. For susceptable people, or those with a family history of disease, it would be of benefit. And $30-80 is a reasonable fee to pay for a coating that does this.
The second issue is visual comfort. Most of us spend more time on a screen than we’d like to. And this had a big impact on our eyes and visual comfort (digital eye syndrome, for anyone that’s interested). By filtering out a small portion of the blue light, the overall comfort is improved. For people who suffer with eyestrain, headache, migraine, or work in challenging visual environments (eg night shift nurses) this can provide a lot of relief.
So overall, I recommend this to some, but certainly not every patient I see. It isn’t a scam. But I believe it’s benefits may be overstated in some cases. There is plenty of research being conducted in this area and hopefully we will continue to understand blue light’s effect in more detail.
I hope that’s helpful
Hi Mark, A blue light filter or coating is safe and legal for driving, but many of the yellow or orange coloured lenses block too much light to be safe and are not recommended for driving at night.
Is it more correct to say that the road rules are silent on this point?
For those who know the adverts ‘Should have gone to SpecSavers’
Will blue light filters and blocking lenses make a difference?
Many claims have been made about the benefits of blue light filters and blocking lenses. In October 2018 The College of Optometrists (UK) said “ there is no strong evidence that blue-blocking spectacle lenses will improve visual performance, alleviate the symptoms of eye fatigue or visual discomfort, improve sleep quality or conserve macula health ” .
The best advice re any type of glasses to be used for driving may come after an eye test from a conscientious optometrist, which ever chain they belong to.
It would seem high risk to rely on any source of anecdotal marketing hyperbole.
It appears a personal choice to add a blue coating to prescription glasses, of little real benefit other than to the optometrists bottom line.
I wear prescription sunnies in the day time and clear lenses at night when driving. Having tried several different versions of coloured night driving glasses;
The only thing that provided any real improvement to night vision was having my eyes checked every year and glasses updated to ensure the prescription always matched the changes in my eyes.
Using prescription glasses that are no longer matched to our eyes, or not wearing corrective glasses when your eyesight is nor perfect will always cause eye strain. Too many of us refuse to accept our eyes are no longer perfect and refuse to wear glasses, or want to pay for the personality upgrade?
Hi Mark, Again you raise many good points. There are no road rules surrounding blue light coatings. The reason yellow or orange coloured glasses are not recommended for driving is that they block a large percentage of visible light, which is hazardous at night. Blue blocking coatings do not. The very recently released position of RANZCO (Australia’s ophthalmology college) is that there is no evidence blue light exposure will cause damage to eye health, but that exposure, particularly in the evenings, can disrupt circadian rhythms by a significant amount of time as it affects the bodies production of melatonin. There is no firm evidence that it helps with eyestrain or tired eyes, but I have found it to make a marked difference to visual comfort for some people. I am yet to find a way to readily identify this group. I hope that continued investigation into this topic may help to shed some light. It is a personal choice whether to add a blue light coating to specs and it should always be an informed choice. The additional cost of a blue light coating over and above a regular multicoat is likely to be relatively minimal, in the order of $20 to $50 As for the company you mentioned, I would like to know if they actually have access to this product. I suspect it simply doesn’t suit their business model, but that is a whole other point of discussion. Having seen the difference it can make to visual comfort, I will continue to recommend it to the right group of people. I guess I am also mindful of the fact that we still don’t know the long term effects of excessive screen-based blue light exposure, particularly that of our kids at night. If it does link to sleep problems, could it also therefore eventually be linked to other health problems related to this. We have so much still to learn.
Is this something you do as part of a business?