The importance of good light hygiene cannot be overemphasized. In our blogs that reviewed light hygiene tips, we mentioned that one of the key protective measures is to wear blue light blocking glasses. But understanding which type to wear and when these should be worn, can be overwhelming as there are many products on the market and many misconceptions about blue light blocking glasses. Quality selection in glasses is also key so as to ensure that you are not unintentionally doing more harm than good by wearing a potentially inferior product. Made To Thrive has researched the top blue light blocking glasses on the market and in sharing the results of these insights, we hope to enable you to make informed decisions in managing your light hygiene.
BLUBlox is our preferred blue light blocking glasses partner. Founder of BLUBlox, Andy Mant, is a leader in blue light blocking technology and is passionate about helping people improve health and well being through the provision of his product which is based in sound research and experimentation.
In demystifying the 3 types and optimal application of blue light glasses available, Andy first explains the conceptual definitions of blue light glasses.
- Blue Blockers: These are generally clear-lensed glasses that block 100% blue light from passing through the lens (400-495nm)
- Blue/Green Blockers: These are orange/ red-lensed glasses that block all blue light and some green light from passing through the lens (400-550nm)
- Blue Reducers: These are generally amber-lensed glasses that reduce specific wavelengths of light across the blue spectrum of between 400-450nm
What, how and why
Ancestral patterns of light exposure provided humans with optimal body clock rhythms which ebbed and flowed according to natural light from the sun. If we think back to how it must have been for our primal forefathers, they would wake and the first light to hit their eyes would be from sunlight, ideally as the sun was rising. The sun is a full spectrum source of light and the blue and green light components are the short wavelength, high energy concentrated light that when it hits your eyes, sends message to your suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) informing the body that it is entering a wakeful period. As it does this, cortisol levels rise to give the body energy to tackle the day. This process sets in place the conditions required later in the day for optimal Melatonin secretion (sleep hormone) and as the sun gradually sets, cortisol levels decrease to prepare your body for restful rejuvenation and sleep during the darkness of the night. It is thus evident that blue and green light is essential to human health when administered from the correct natural source (the sun) and when received during day light hours. Without this, our body clocks would not be entrained optimally and our sleep and health would suffer. Our endocrine (hormonal) system would be out of whack which is detrimental to health and wellness.
Unfortunately, many of our modern day lifestyle patterns mean that we often do not see the sun rise and our bodies are under intense artificial lighting during most of our biological day (think about waking first thing in the morning and the automation with which we flip the bathroom light switch on, working in an office under fluorescent lighting for 8+ hours, staring at a computer/ mobile device for much of this time and illuminating our homes well past sun set). This upsets our natural body clock rhythms and is no good for mitochondrial health and well-being.
So whilst blue light exposure to natural light sources is necessary and beneficial to us, the challenge comes in with the intensity of the specific frequencies that so called ‘junk light’ from LED and fluorescent lights emit. The primary area of concern is the 450nm wavelengths in the blue light region as this intensity far exceeds the capability that the human eye can manage. The blue light from the sun is balanced with red and orange spectrum light which has restorative frequencies. LED light and back-lit digital devices are not countered with these light frequencies at present and so are experienced by the body as excessive in their intensity. Our bodies react to this with migraines, headaches, dry eyes, anxiety and disturbances in sleep due to the impact on your circadian rhythm.
Blue Reducer Glasses (yellow or amber lenses)
This is where a good blue reducer will come in. We do not need to block blue and green post 450nm as these are not the wavelengths causing the issues. The issue is caused by the aggressive spike at 450nm. A good blue reducer for day time use will tackle the problem areas of the blue spectrum and block most blue at 450nm and below. Zero blue during the day is also not good so make sure you get outside in the morning and on your lunch break to counter this.
Light at the 450nm point is damaging to the retinas as this wavelength penetrates the eye all the way to the back of the retina, unlike the other wavelength in the blue/green spectrum. Post 450nm during the day is beneficial to the eyes as it provides protection to the eyes and helps cognitive and memory functions. It has also been shown to stimulate the retinal ganglion cells which are photosensitive, stimulates papillary reflexes and controls your body clock.
When choosing your daytime blue reducers make sure you ask what wavelengths of blue light is reduced. If the highest areas are not in the 450nm or below banding then they will not be as effective as ones that do target to reduce these wavelengths. Also, make sure the frequencies above 450nm are left alone to ensure optimisation during your day time use. BLUblox range of blue reducers block exactly the frequencies that spike in LED digital technology and fluorescent lights emit, leaving blue light between 451 – 495nm in tact for optimal health and wellness.
Clear lenses are best for daytime use as they specifically target the 400nm – 495nm and below spectrum of blue leaving the other beneficial wavelengths alone. Clear lenses are specifically beneficial for daytime digital device use. Orange or red lenses during the day will be potentially damaging to your health and body clock so it’s advisable to steer clear of these lens colours during the daylight hours.
It is also worth noting if you work outside, that daytime blue reducers are unnecessary and can actually be detrimental to your health.
BLUblox has clear computer glasses that help reduce the nasty spike in blue light and a day time blue blocker which blocks all blue light between 400-495nm.
Our biological night time is the time between sunset and bed time. This is the best and most common time for use of blue blocking glasses because studies have shown blue light between 400 – 495nm suppresses melatonin production which is needed to maintain healthy circadian rhythm, preparing our bodies for night time sleep.
We need to ensure that if we are exposed to LED lighting after dark we protect our eyes across not only the 450nm spike of blue but the entire blue spectrum. Some blue light blockers on the market only block blue light to 480nm which renders them a useless health tool. These blue blockers should be approached with caution as they still allow blue light in and as we have shown the entire blue spectrum suppresses melatonin secretion which impacts sleep and circadian rhythms.
However… Blue/Green Blockers
It has been shown that frequencies as high as 550nm can also suppress melatonin. The front end of the green spectrum can still be classified as high energy and short wavelength light. As we know, short wavelength and high energy light impacts melatonin production and sleep. Therefore we may have to block some green for optimal circadian health.
Blue/Green Blockers are characterised by a red lens typically built up through layering from orange-amber-red to allow for complete blocking from 400-550nm, making them the most optimal blue/green blockers based on the available science.
Someone who would benefit from blue/green blockers would be anyone who is exposed to artificial light after dark. Basically everyone!
Another application will be for people who struggle to get to sleep. When experimenting with blue and blue/green blockers some poeple fall asleep much quicker with the red lens glasses over amber lenses and report much better quality sleep.
Further to the above it appears that anyone would find huge benefits using BLUblox Sleep+ range. Insomniacs specifically, would also benefit from the extra strength of these lenses to assist in improving their dire sleep situations. Significant advancements in sleep quality have also been reported with BLUblox clients who have Multiple Sclerosis or who are recovering from a stroke. The therapeutic tint used in the Sleep+ is beneficial in reducing glare and lux of light that stroke sufferers are highly sensitive to. Those who suffer from migraines, depression and anxiety would also benefit from the extra short wavelength light blocking capabilities of blue/green blockers for similar reason stated above.
Finally, someone looking for “optimal” based on the current science would prefer BLUblox Sleep+ blue/green blockers. Based on the available science they are the most optimal blue and green light blocking lens on the market. Amber lens glasses are old news and won’t help you achieve optimal sleep and optimal health and wellness.
These glasses should only ever been worn during your biological night, 2-5 hours before bed or longer if staying up late. Try these glasses- you’ll struggle to stay awake for long after wearing the Sleep+ glasses!
So, in summary, make sure you are wearing the right blue blockers! Visit BLUblox and remember that Made To Thrive clients receive a 15% discount on all orders when entering the promo code SteveStavs on checkout!