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New solutions for new times – blue light blocking glasses

Alexandru-Eduard Nica

Alexandru-Eduard Nica, Journalist
@uxconnections

Technological progress brings certain challenges for our health and wellbeing, but also potential solutions. In this case, blue light blocking glasses, a gadget for ameliorating side effects of artificial light. But can these glasses really protect us from the stimuli of a digital era?

Humans are adaptable beings, definitely, and history has lots of evidence that can back up this statement. Even if we look at everyday life, we can see how people can adapt to new situations. Nowadays, we change or job, our relationship, our home, maybe even our city or country more often than before. We learn how to deal with all these new experiences because, structurally, we have the capability to adapt, from a psychological perspective. Whether adaptability is a good trait or we should be more stable, this is another discussion and I will leave it for psychologists, philosophers or theologians. 

At the same time, from a physical or physiological perspective, we try to be less affected by climate change or to get used to a rapid technological progress, and to some extent we are successful. However, our health is not inexhaustible, whether we like it or not, so change can also harm our physical condition if we don’t care about the way in which we adapt to it. If we don’t dress according to the weather, we might catch a cold. If we spend all day in front of our desk, at the computer, our health will surely suffer, at least on a long term.

Let’s take now a relevant example which brings us to the point. What’s one of the things that we have in mind when we think about technology? Screens and artificial light, right? Digital information is mostly delivered through screens, which are a source of artificial light. Now, there is a problem with that: if we expose our eyes too much to screens or office lighting, they might get damaged, eventually, by the UV radiations and by the blue light. 

Why? Because if these types of visual stimuli don’t come from a natural source, they can be potentially harmful. Even if there isn’t a general consensus on potential eye damage, as some clinicians disagree with it, a certain discomfort can still appear, described as the Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain.

Nevertheless, there are other certain negative effects of excessive exposure to artificial light that everyone agrees with, such as headaches, neck pains, dry eyes and sleep problems. And nobody wants to stay up late or have a poor-quality sleep.

That’s why there is enough room for solutions. One of them – blue light blocking glasses. This gadget became more popular over the last few years, as it can block artificial light and enhance melatonin levels in our body, which means that by wearing them, we can fall asleep faster and sleep better.

However, like with most products which are announced as innovations, there are some debates about blue light blocking glasses as well. At the moment, there is no scientific consensus about their advantages either, yet there have been several experiments meant to bring more light on this subject. Accordingly, the findings indicate an overall improvement in visual comfort and quality of sleep for people who wear blue light blocking glasses. Which, by the way, are more orange rather than blue, but this is just a matter of design.

In the meantime, we should also keep in mind that a product doesn’t replace a healthy life, the same as food supplements are not substitutes for a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, let’s try to surround ourselves with more natural light (if and when possible) and spend more time outside. While at work, there is a useful exercise that we can try as well – the 20/20/20.

As for the blue light blocking glasses, what would be the best way to convince yourself about their true utility? Well, try them out, especially if you have a desk job or if you spend significant time around phones, tablets, laptops and so on. It seems to be a promising innovation. A possible way for technology to make up to us for its side effects.

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