Blue light blocking glasses - do they really work?

If you've been shopping around for glasses, you may have noticed a new trend popping up on store shelves: blue light blocking glasses. They're designed to block blue light from electronic devices and screens, but do you really need them? Doctor's aren't too sure.

When food and culture writer Elizabeth Escobedo gets to work, she needs her desktop, her tablet and her smartphone.

"I write about tea and travel," she said. "Researching a topic for either a talk I'm going to give or an article I'm going to write could end up being four to six hours a day."

That's a lot of screen time and a lot of something else Escobedo is concerned about - blue light.

"It's something that my eye doctor brought up years ago," she said.

This concern has sparked a new industry of blue light glasses and screen protectors. But is blue light harmful to our eyes?

"Screens happen to be blue, and people have come up with this concern about blue light, but when you think about it, there's blue light everywhere around you," Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Alison Babiuch said.

Babiuch said blue 'color' is the product of a wavelength and how our eyes perceive it. And like any other color light, blue light is absorbed into the eye, but there's no research to show that exposure is harmful to our eyes. And there are currently no scientific studies to suggest screen time can impact a child's vision, but Babiuch said moderation is best.

"We're not recommending getting a screen or a certain kind of glasses to protect your eyes from something that may not be doing any good," she said. "But we also don't know by blocking blue light from the eyes, whether that could potentially create a different kind of problem."

Doctors point out there's research that says too much blue light before bedtime can interfere with sleep for children and adults, so there's a benefit to limiting screen use before bedtime.

And now Escobedo can rest easier knowing blue light may not be something that will affect her vision.

"That makes me happy," she said, "One more worry to cross off my list of things to worry about"
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