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Does My Kid Need Blue Light Glasses?

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A boy is wearing blue light-blocking glasses while using a computer laptop during his online class.

With screen time on the rise, many people are struggling with digital eye strain. This is an increasingly prevalent problem for children as well, with many schools adopting online learning, and laptops and phones used for entertainment. One of the most prominent problems with more screen time is our increased exposure to blue light — a hue that directly affects our circadian rhythm.

Many people are turning to new methods designed to reduce the effect of blue light on their eyes, such as blue light glasses. Blue light glasses are a recent development in the eye care industry that naturally filter out blue light from external sources and reduce the strain on your eyes.

Blue light glasses are by no means necessary for a child to safely use digital devices. While they can help your child feel less fatigued after an extended period of time looking at a screen, they are not a permanent solution for every eye problem caused by devices.

The best way you can reduce the risk of long-term vision problems for your child is always to consult with an eye care professional.

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is a hue in the light spectrum that, for most of our existence, has been primarily produced by the sun. Our eyes naturally tell the difference between intense blue light and the softer red-orange glow at the end of the day. 

When the light around you that your eyes perceive is primarily blue, your body naturally is more alert, responsive, and focused. When the light shifts to softer colours, your body begins to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone) to prepare for resting.

However, blue light is also produced by most digital screens and devices. Due to the rise of digital device usage in the past few years, many people have begun to notice the effects it has on their eyes and circadian rhythm. It has even led to the rise of something known as computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain.

However, digital eye strain is caused by many different factors — blue light exposure is not the only cause of this.

A female child is covering her tired eyes after using her tablet pc for a long period of time.

What Do Blue Light Glasses Do?

Blue light glasses are designed to reduce the amount of blue light that enters your eye. The lenses are treated with a coating that filters out the specific wavelength of light that affects your sleep cycle. 

While they are not a guarantee for stopping strain on your eyes, many people find that they reduce irritation in their eyes while still allowing them to see clearly what is on the screen. It’s important to note that they do not completely stop any visual issues caused by blue light; rather, they help reduce the immediate effects by filtering out the wavelengths that can cause eye irritation.

They are available with both prescription and non-prescription lenses.

How Can I Reduce Eye Strain for My Child?

There are many ways you can reduce eye strain for your child, including:

  • Reducing screen time. Turning off devices 2 or 3 hours before bed can help your child avoid the effect blue light has on their sleep cycles
  • Have your child follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, have them look at something roughly 20 feet away for 20 seconds to help keep their eyes from becoming strained.
  • Turn on night mode for your devices in the evenings. Most modern devices have a built-in night mode that applies a yellow-amber filter to the screen. This makes the screen easier on your eyes and reduces the output of blue light from the device.
  • Place a physical blue light filter on your devices. On their own, they do not stop blue light from severely affecting your eyes, but they can help reduce strain and fatigue. 
  • Keep good posture. Many children often hold digital devices closer to their faces than adults, which can lead to significant eye strain. By keeping devices at arm’s reach, the amount of strain on their eyes will be reduced.

At the end of the day, the decision to buy blue light glasses for your child is up to you. While some studies have shown that they can have a positive effect on your child’s eyes, they are not a solution to every problem caused by extended screen usage. 

Taking Care of Your Child’s Vision

If your child is experiencing vision problems or eye irritation due to their use of digital devices, reach out to the team at Chestermere Optometry and we can help. Contact us to book an appointment today to learn more about the effects of blue light on your child’s eyes, and whether blue light glasses are a good option.

Written by Jennifer Sanchez

Dr. Jennifer Sanchez was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary and Doctor of Optometry Degree, with honours, at Southern California College of Optometry. Dr. Sanchez worked alongside optometrists at American Veteran Affairs Hospitals and Indian Health Services and practiced co-management with ophthalmologists specializing in refractive and cataract surgery through a clinical externship.

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