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Can You Get Blue Light Glasses with Transition Lenses?

A pair of blue light glasses sitting in front of its case

Lens Technology for Blue Light & Transitions

Many eyewear options are available to protect eye health and enhance vision. For example, sunglasses block UV rays, safety eyewear protects from workplace hazards, and sports eyewear can give players a competitive edge. But lens technology can also improve your vision indoors and protect your eyes from some lesser-known risks.

Many patients have heard of blue light glasses but may not know why blue light matters. You may also wonder if you have to limit your eyewear to one type of protection. But can you combine blue light glasses with transition lenses? Find out with 20/20 Vision Associates.

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is a light wavelength and part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Longer wavelengths, like microwaves or radio waves, are invisible. Shorter wavelengths have higher energy levels and are visible. Blue light is a type of visible light, right next to ultraviolet (UV) light on the electromagnetic spectrum.

Most people are familiar with the effects of ultraviolet rays. It’s why we practice sun safety, like sunscreen and sunglasses. Blue light waves are not as powerful as UV light, as the wavelengths are slightly longer. However, blue light can still affect our health.

Like UV rays, the sun is a significant source of blue light. Fortunately, nitrogen and oxygen particles in our atmosphere can deflect blue light, causing it to scatter. It’s why the sky looks blue.

Although most blue light from the sun is diluted enough to protect our health, there are other sources of blue light in our lives. Artificial sources are the most common types of exposure in our daily lives. Examples include

  • Computer screens
  • Digital devices (phones, tablets, etc.)
  • Fluorescent lights
  • CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs
  • LED lights
A pair of blue light glasses sitting on a table

The Good & Bad About Blue Light

Overexposure to blue light can be harmful, but blue light also has benefits. Controlling how much direct blue light you experience is crucial to ensuring the good outweighs the bad. 

The Good

While too much blue light poses risks, there are positives to some blue light exposure, including:

  • Aiding treatment for some skin conditions
  • Causing alertness (a feeling of wakefulness)
  • Boosting cognitive function and memory
  • Potentially improving seasonal depression

Blue light influences our circadian rhythms—telling us when it’s time to stay awake. In the time before alarm clocks, humans set their schedule by the sun. Blue light is why we feel awake and productive during the day and then sleepy after sundown. 

Times have changed, and the sun isn’t our primary source of blue light. Instead, our blue-light-emitting devices send signals to our brains saying it’s time to stay awake—even when it’s bedtime.

The good news is you can use blue light to reset your sleep patterns. Exposure to early morning blue light and limited exposure one hour before bedtime can help you adjust your schedule. Blue light therapy can also reduce the effects of jet lag, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and shift-work disorder.

The Bad

So blue light can trouble your sleep patterns, but can it have long-term health effects? The answer is complicated. Direct exposure to a significant source of blue light is dangerous, but many of our artificial sources are limited.

Unfortunately, our bodies are more vulnerable to blue light than UV radiation. The eye lens can effectively block nearly 100% UV light but can’t block blue light. So although some blue light has benefits, we experience prolonged exposure through artificial sources.

It is unclear how much harm blue light can cause, as it’s still being studied. However, since our eyes don’t effectively filter blue light, prolonged exposure can increase the risk of digital eye strain and retina damage, including macular degeneration.

Blue Light Glasses & Transition Lenses

Today’s lens technology has created many convenient eyewear options. For example, transition lenses combine prescription eyewear with UV protection. Rather than switching between your glasses and sunglasses when you go outside, the self-tinting lenses darken to block sunlight. 

Transition lens with a premium anti-reflective coating will give you blue light protection. 

Zeiss’ DuraVision Blue Protect combines blue light blocking technology with self-tinting lenses for 100% UV protection. The lenses conveniently provide complete outdoor protection and seamlessly switch for indoor protection against low levels of blue light, including digital devices.

There are also transition contact lenses with blue light filtering capabilities. With self-tinting and blue-light-blocking, patients can achieve comfortable vision and prevent UV or blue light damage.

Enhance Your Lenses

Keeping your eyes healthy starts with a visit to your optometrist. When you want more from your eyewear, we can provide insight into available technology. 20/20 Vision Associates is technology-driven because we want to provide our patients with the best possible eyewear and eye care for life, work, and play.

We can discuss your eyewear needs and recommend what coating might benefit your eyes. Our friendly team can introduce lens coatings customized for your vision needs, including blue light and UV protection. Contact us today for an appointment!

Written by Dr. Cheryl Everitt

Cheryl M. Everitt, OD, received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton, California in 1994. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Everitt takes a special interest in treating patients with a variety of difficult eye conditions, such as chronic headaches and migraines. Dr. Everitt has been a conference speaker on topics ranging from contact lenses to practice management to trigeminal dysphoria. She has also participated in a mobile eye clinic in Riverside, and medical missions to Mexico. Dr. Everitt is one of the original founders of 20/20 Vision Associates Optometry and has practiced for 25 years. She was an associate research scientist for 4 years prior to becoming an optometrist. She is also an active member of her church.
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