Photo by Sophia Weis
Along with the change from the physical to online learning landscape, some students have likewise changed their school supply necessities. Online class meetings call for hours of computer screen time, raising questions on the effects of blue light, a high energy visible light emitted from digital screens, on optical health. As a result, some students have bought blue light blocking glasses in order to counteract this digital light.
According to an article in Harvard Health Publishing, prolonged exposure to blue light, especially before bed, can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. While blue light in other studies has been attributed to boosting alertness and mood during the day time, blue light conversely “can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin” at night due to its shorter wavelength and higher energy profile than most traditional light sources. However, most digital eye strain and fatigue reports are rather attributed to staring at a screen for too long with minimal blinking and being exposed to bright light before bed as opposed to the actual effects of blue light itself. Nevertheless, students explain the experiences they’ve had while using blue light blocking glasses during this online environment.
“I wanted to get the blue light glasses knowing that I was going to spend so much time online and be staring at a screen for almost half the day, so I thought that it would be a good move in order to keep my eyesight strong,” senior Sofia Charvel said. “Prior to having blue light glasses I was having a lot of headaches and it was hard to keep my eyes open, so the blue light glasses have really helped stop all that.”
Charvel, who uses prescription glasses, mailed her glasses to a company that incorporated a permanent blue light blocking feature. Charvel wears these glasses anytime she is online, whether it be for class meetings or while doing homework, as well as when she is on her phone for leisure purposes. Charvel reported that she did not see a different effect on the actual visibility through her prescription glasses once the blue light feature was incorporated.
“I definitely recommend getting blue light glasses, especially since we’re all in this online learning environment,” Charvel said. “It’s better to have them than to have your eyesight worsen. It helps prevent any possible negative side effects.”
Similarly, senior Isabela Vega encountered a positive experience with blue light glasses from Amazon. Vega uses her glasses occasionally during class, but mostly while doing homework online.
“I was getting headaches and my eyes were getting watery and blurry from staring at the screen for too long,” Vega said. “I feel like I’m in a better mood because I don’t have as many headaches and my eyes aren’t getting strained.”
On the other hand, some students did not find the blue light glasses as a significant relief to recurring eye strain problems. Senior Sabrina Sanchez bought these glasses after hearing others talk about them, and decided to give them a try for herself.
“I didn’t really find them that useful, but I think it’s because I got them early enough so that the effects of the screen hadn’t really affected me yet,” Sanchez said. “So in a way, using the glasses early on could’ve been one of the reasons why my eyes didn’t feel that tired from looking at the screen all day. Some of my other friends have remarked that the glasses have really helped them, and I have definitely seen more people wanting to buy blue light glasses.”