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What to Know About Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Blue light blocking glasses has been a trending topic. These are glasses or lenses that are specially designed to block blue light that emits from LED or CFL lights, computer monitors, phones, TVs, and other digital screens. Blue light can come from almost any light source including the sun.

Our current lifestyles expose our eyes to more blue light for longer periods during the day. Where previously we may have only been exposed to blue light from the sun, many people now spend more hours in front of screens or under fluorescent lights throughout the day and after the sun has gone down. For some, this exposure can cause eye strain and physical discomfort.

Benefits of Blue Light

Blue light can boost our moods, help with memory and cognitive function, and make us more alert. Blue light is an important factor in regulating our circadian rhythm – the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. 

The growth and development of children’s eyes could be affected by not getting enough blue light from the sunlight. Some studies are showing that a deficiency in blue light exposure could contribute to the recent increase in myopia.

Blue Light and Damage to the Eyes

There is not currently enough evidence to suggest that blue light from digital screens will cause any harm. Intense blue light from sunlight can raise the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye diseases, the same level is not emitted from computers or other artificial blue light sources.

More studies are needed to understand if blue light from monitors causes optic damage but there is no harm in wearing blue light blocking lenses.

There is some concern that long-term exposure, the nearness of screens, and the length of time spent on them could affect eyes over time and lead to digital eye strain. People also tend to blink less while looking at screens causing the eyes to feel dry, irritated, or burn.

Discuss any concerns you have with your eye health with your local optometrist. Factors such as age, eye conditions, length of exposure, and general eye health can play a role in your decision to use blue light blocking lenses. Your primary eye care doctor will be able to help you make an informed decision.

What is known, is that too much blue light exposure at night can disrupt the circadian rhythm. This can lead to problems with sleep which affects your overall health. 

Digital Eye Strain

A survey from the American Optometric Society found that most adults, 58%, experience some form of digital eye strain. The study conducted in 2015 noted the average U.S. worker spends about seven hours a day on the computer at work or home. A more recent survey showed that at the end of 2019, U.S. adults were spending almost 12 hours in front of a screen. The increased screen time may create digital eye strain for some individuals. It may also make symptoms of digital eye strain worse.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Individuals can experience digital eye strain differently. Common symptoms can include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Tearing or watery eyes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Neck strain

How to Ease Digital Eye Strain

There are steps you can take to reduce digital eye strain:

  • Take breaks from screens often
  • Increase the contrast on your screen
  • Use artificial tears
  • Try to minimize glare
  • Blink frequently.

Choosing Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Although science hasn’t been able to verify that blue light causes eye diseases, many people who’ve tried a pair of blue light blocking glasses have found them to be effective at improving sleep and reducing eye strain. They can protect your eyes from artificial blue light. 

We use Zeiss lenses at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses offering superior technology. Blue light blocking technology is incorporated into the lenses themselves as opposed to just using coatings that provide up to 50% less reflection. Together this can help to reduce digital eye strain and eye fatigue.

Zeiss lenses can fit into any frames. Our Albuquerque clinic has some great eyeglass frames from Etnia Barcelona, Modo, Eco, Ovvo, and more for you to choose from. Our experts can help you choose the perfect frames and lenses for your vision needs and lifestyle.

It is also important to protect the eyes from the sun. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses when outside. We also carry sunglasses and can help you find the best pair for you.

If you have concerns about eye strain or about the amount of time you spend looking at screens, book an appointment and discuss blue light blocking lenses with an optometrist at our Albuquerque clinic. 

How You Can Help Your Child Excel in School This Year

The start of a new school year can be overwhelming, even for the most confident children. That’s why parents are doing whatever they can to help their children successfully transition to the next academic grade. Below, we share our top tips for parents, so they can ensure that their child’s vision is a tool for success in school.

1.   Balance Indoor and Outdoor Time

Outdoor play offers numerous benefits, but many children aren’t getting enough of it. Most children spend much of their time indoors, whether in a classroom, at home, or in after-school activities.

Kids who regularly play outdoors have improved motor skills, feel more independent, and practice important social skills.

But the main benefit of “outdoor time” that eye doctors like to focus on is the lower incidence of myopia (where distant objects appear blurry). Numerous studies published in journals like Ophthalmic Research and Review Of Optometry have shown that children who spend 1.5-2.5 hours per day outdoors during the daytime have a reduced risk of becoming myopic or, if they have myopia, it progresses at a slower pace.

Sending your kids outside to play every day will help their vision, overall health, and contribute to academic success. 

2.   Encourage Your Child To Take Frequent Breaks

Once the new school year begins, students are often busy with daily homework, reading assignments, and visually demanding recreational activities like video games.

While all of these activities are important, they shouldn’t be done without periodic breathers. 

Eye strain is a real concern for the many students who spend hours in front of a book or screen and can put a damper on their grades.

Minimally, have your child follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes they should focus for 20 seconds on an object that’s at least 20 feet away.

Even better, encourage slightly longer breaks for a snack in the sun, or a quick walk around the block to allow their eyes to focus on more distant objects.

3.   Have Their Eyes Examined by an Optometrist

Whether or not your child wears glasses, yearly eye exams will help ensure healthy visual development.

It’s no surprise that children who don’t see well perform at a lower level than their peers. In some cases, young children aren’t even aware that their vision has changed, or they may not be able to verbally express it.

At our practice, our eye exams go far beyond the standard vision screenings offered in school. We thoroughly check your child’s eye health and several visual skills, including visual acuity, focusing, tracking and teaming.

If your child has myopia we will discuss if they are a candidate for myopia management. Myopia management treatments can slow or stop myopia in children and teens and doing so will minimize their risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life.

4.   Filter Out Blue Light

Now, more than ever, children’s eyes are focusing on screens of all shapes and sizes. While science hasn’t yet confirmed the damaging effects of blue light on a child’s eyes, one thing is certain: blue light exposure (especially in the evening) can lead to reduced sleep quality.

Good-quality sleep is crucial for cognitive and physical development, which is why many parents purchase blue light glasses or utilize blue light filters such as screens and software on devices. Blue light also contributes to digital eye strain, leading to symptoms like eye pain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes.  If your child uses a tablet, smartphone, or computer before bedtime, speak with us about whether blue light glasses or lens coatings can help.

Give your child the tools they need to succeed! To schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam, visit Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses or see a list of all providers at Treehouse Eyes today.

How To Avoid Eye Fatigue

How to keep your eyes and your kids’ eyes from eye fatigue in a time of immense increased computer screen usage can be challenging. Nowadays, it seems like a significant amount of our daily life is spent in front of computer screens either for work, school or entertainment. Unfortunately, eye fatigue can result in eye irritation (dry eye), headaches, blurred vision, disrupted sleep, and even pain or strain in the neck, shoulders, or back.

Here are three things you can do to avoid eye fatigue:

The 20/20/20 Rule

At Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses we advise our patients that every 20 minutes, they should take 20 seconds to look 20 feet away. Since eye fatigue or eye strain is the result of spending too much time focusing on a single task, by looking away more frequently, you allow the little muscle in your eyes to get a break and relax. This can protect the eyes from fatigue and distance blur at the end of the day.

Blue Light Blockers

Computers, tablets, and other mobile devices with screens emit blue light. Blue light blockers can help with eye fatigue, sleep patterns, and potentially protect your eyes long term from the constant computer light reaching the back of your eye. Basically, you protect your eyes in the same way you do when you wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.

The blue light emitted by digital devices can affect sleep patterns because it reduces our ability to produce melatonin, also referred to as the sleep hormone. This is a hormone made by the pineal gland in the brain, which is sometimes also called our  “third eye.” Melatonin levels in our blood are higher at night in order to promote sleep and control our circadian rhythm. Lenses with blue light filters can help block the blue light and assist our body in maintaining normal production of melatonin, in addition to reducing eye fatigue/strain and headaches.  

Remembering to blink is a very simple but effective piece of advice. Whenever we focus, especially when we are using computers, reading, or concentrating, we stare. When we stare we don’t blink and often when we do blink, we do a half blink. When our eyelids close all the way down the mechanical force of the eyelids touching helps release oils from the meibomian glands that surround our upper and lower eyelids. The oil keeps tears from evaporating and prevents our eyes from drying out. When we don’t blink routinely, these glands start to atrophy causing long-term atrophy to meibomian glands (meibomian gland dysfunction).

If you’d like more information about eye fatigue or eye strain, contact us online or schedule an appointment with Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses.