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The 6 Very Best Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses

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If you’ve ever suffered from dry, irritated eyes after a long day of staring at your computer, you may have been tempted to purchase a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. Blue light is found in nearly every light source, including the sun, and excessive exposure can harm your vision.

But will filtering out blue light help with the digital eye strain that comes from extended time in front of a screen? Rahul Khurana, an ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, says that digital eye strain and the negative effects of blue light on your eyes are two separate concerns. “We keep on thinking about blue light from our computers and smartphones, but the reality is that we get more exposure to blue light from the sun.” Essentially, it’s not the blue light that’s making your eyes feel bad after a day of staring at the computer. It’s staring at a screen for hours without breaks. That’s why Khurana doesn’t recommend any special eyewear for daily computer use. “Ultimately, I’m not really sure how it’s going to help with digital eye strain, which is what’s bothering people,” he says, explaining that the eye strain most people experience isn’t necessarily digital. It can occur “whenever you focus on anything — from reading a book, looking at a screen, or watching TV.” It can be alleviated by shifting your eyes every 20 minutes or so to something that’s 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds, he says. If that doesn’t help, Khurana recommends artificial tears to help lubricate dry eyes. In the end, he says you don’t need to wear blue-light-blocking glasses during the day.

On the other hand, Chris Moore, a training manager at MOSCOT, says that blue-light-blocking glasses have other benefits — such as helping prolong the onset of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that can be worsened by excessive exposure to blue light. The science is still a little iffy on that, but Moore says it’s still a good preventative measure: “I consider it sunblock for your eyeballs.”

Even if you’re wary that blue-light-blocking glasses are really able to reduce eye strain or age-related issues, they can still be useful if you stare at your phone right before bed, as blue light from screens can disrupt natural sleep patterns. Our bodies associate blue light with daytime, so exposure to it when you’re trying to go to bed “pushes our internal clocks later, so that it’s harder to fall asleep and harder to wake up in the morning,” says Cathy Goldstein, associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center.

In a perfect world, you’d start to avoid blue light from screens four hours before going to bed. But if you can’t tear yourself away from Instagram or the dreaded doomscroll before turning in, blue-light-blocking glasses can help. To find the most effective and stylish options, we scoured the internet and spoke with eye doctors and eyewear experts about what they recommend.

What we’re looking for

Blue-light-blocking capability

All light is measured in nanometers (nm), and blue-light wavelengths that can have the most impact on your melatonin levels (and thus affect your sleep) range from 400 to 500 nm, though blue-light wavelengths start at 200 nm. Blue-light-blocking glasses work by reflecting those wavelengths away from the lenses to stop them from reaching your eyes. (Note that, despite emitting blue light, most consumer tech is not harmful and there is no scientific evidence that digital devices can damage your eyes.)

Many blue-light-blocking glasses have an orange or yellow tint that is supposed to absorb the blue light while allowing other light to pass through. Generally, the darker the lenses on a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses, the more blue light is blocked. While there are clear or less obviously tinted blue-light-blocking lenses, they won’t filter as much blue light as darker options. Moore suggests avoiding glasses with an orange or yellow hue if you’re working with visuals like video or photo editing, illustrating, or graphic design.

Anti-glare coating

Blue-light-blocking glasses may have anti-glare coating, which decreases the amount of light reflecting from your glasses to further reduce eye strain and make them more comfortable to use. This is especially handy during video calls when people are going to be looking at you for long periods of time, as that light gets reflected right back at your screen and can make your eyes look weird when on camera.

Frame material

There are different frame materials to choose from including wire, plastic, and acetate — depending on how stylish you want to get. If you don’t already wear prescription or reading glasses, any pair of blue-light-blocking glasses will be easy to pick up and use. But if you already have glasses, you’ll want to look for either a prescription pair, reading glasses with blue-light-blocking capabilities, or something that will clip on or fit over the top of your existing glasses.

Prescription compatibility

While you don’t need a prescription to get a pair of these glasses, some blue-light-blocking lenses and frames work with prescription lenses, so you won’t have to deal with having two pairs.

Best overall blue-light-blocking glasses

Blue-light-blocking capability: Orange-tinted lenses that block 98 percent of blue light | Anti-glare coating: None | Frame material: Plastic | Prescription compatible: No 

If you don’t mind a pair of glasses that look like a pair of science-lab goggles , go for Uvex. “They’re usually less than $10, and these have been used in studies,” says Goldstein. “It’s shown that when you use these, the light doesn’t suppress your melatonin, so the glasses can improve sleep.” They’re not as nice-looking as some of the other blue-light-filtering glasses out there, but since the best time to use them is right before bed (and not at the office), there’s no reason to be embarrassed. The Uvex glasses come in a pack of three, so you can keep them in multiple places or have a spare on hand if you lose or break one.

Best clear-lens blue-light-blocking glasses

Blue-light-blocking capability: Virtually clear lenses that block 50 percent of blue light | Anti-glare coating: Yes | Frame material: Plastic | Prescription compatible: Yes

If you’d prefer more subtle-looking blue-light-blocking glasses, there are quite a few companies making versions with nearly transparent lenses and stylish frames. This pair comes from Felix Gray — a brand that helped popularize the idea of wearing blue-light-blocking glasses at the office (despite the science that says it’s not necessary to wear them during the day). Felix Gray says that these “daytime” glasses filter more than 50 percent of the blue-light spectrum and protect your eyes from other damaging ultraviolet rays (though they don’t offer the same protection as sunglasses would against those rays). They have anti-glare coating to reduce eye strain and are available with prescription lenses or as reading glasses. If you don’t like the Jemison design, there are several more to choose from — including round-frame, metal-frame, and even low-bridge-fit styles.

Best blue-light-blocking glasses with tinted lenses

Blue-light-blocking capability: Lightly tinted yellow lenses that block 62 percent of blue light | Anti-glare coating: Yes | Frame material: Wire | Prescription compatible: Yes

If you want a pair specifically for nighttime, Felix Gray makes blue-light-filtering glasses in many of the same styles as its clear “daytime” glasses except with tinted “amber” lenses that filter a higher percentage of blue light. The glasses are intended to let you scroll through your social-media feed to your heart’s content without blue light affecting your sleep. While the clear glasses block 50 percent of all blue light, the tinted glasses block 62 percent. The tinted lenses specifically target the range of blue light that impacts melatonin, which is why they’re recommended for use before sleep. Strategist editor Maxine Builder tested the Hamiltons and said the amber lenses didn’t bother her. “It doesn’t seem like a major difference on paper, but the lenses of the amber glasses have a noticeably stronger yellow tint,” she says. “The overall effect when you put them on isn’t too distorting. Everything just looks a little less bright — like someone dialed down the lights.” The glasses have anti-glare coating and are available with nonprescription, prescription, or reading lenses.

Best blue-light-blocking reading glasses

Blue-light-blocking capability: Clear lenses that block nearly 90 percent of blue light | Anti-glare coating: None | Frame material: Plastic | Prescription compatible : No

Look Optic is a direct-to-consumer brand that makes handsome reading glasses (the design team is made up of Oliver Peoples alumni). It offers blue-light protection in some of its most popular styles — either with magnification or without. These particular frames come in six colors, and you can choose a magnification between +0.0 and +3.0. If these frames don’t match your particular style, Look Optic has fifteen other similarly priced styles.

Best clip-on blue-light-blocking glasses

Blue-light-blocking capability: Yellow- or orange-tinted lenses that block from 87 to 99 percent of blue light | Anti-glare coating: Yes | Frame material: Metal clip | Prescription compatible: No

If you already wear prescription glasses, you might be interested in blue-light-blocking clip-ons, like this pair, that attach to your existing frames. The yellow shuts out 87 percent of blue light. The orange blocks 99 percent. One enthusiastic Amazon reviewer reports that they “fit securely onto my night glasses without having an obnoxious or clunky nose guard that I’ve seen in other competitive brands” and do “a great job staying in place on my frames.” Another reviewer reports experiencing significantly less eye strain while watching TV or using a computer and says the glasses allow them to sleep better at night.

Best blue-light-blocking glasses for kids

Blue-light-blocking capability: Yellow-tinted lenses that block 50 percent of blue light | Anti-glare coating: Yes | Frame material: Plastic | Prescription compatible: Yes 

If you’re worried about screens affecting your kid’s sleep schedule, blue-light-blocking glasses are made for children’s faces too. They can help kids with the same side effects of screen time that many adults experience — namely, poor sleep and migraines. This pair from Felix Gray comes in two sizes — small (ages 4 to 8) and large (ages 9 to 13) — and four colors.

As with blue-light-blocking glasses for adults, those designed for kids won’t solve issues related to eye strain. “If you’re looking at a book for five hours a day, you’re going to have a lot of eye strain, and there’s no blue light coming from that,” says Milan Ranka, an ophthalmologist at Pediatric Ophthalmic Consultants in New York City. A better way for kids to relieve eye strain, according to Ranka, is to follow the same guidance given to adults. “For every 20 minutes you’re doing something, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds,” says Ranka. “I tell my 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old patients to look out the window every 15 to 20 minutes. Look for a tree and blink your eyes a few times.”

Our experts

• Maxine Builder, Strategist editor
Cathy Goldstein, associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center
Rahul Khurana, ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Milan Ranka, ophthalmologist at Pediatric Ophthalmic Consultants
Chris Moore, training manager at Moscot NYC

Additional reporting by Maxine Builder and Jordan Bowman

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The 6 Very Best Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses