Are Blue Light Glasses A Complete Waste Of Time?
Blue light is one of the many things that hits the headlines often, because it is both a symptom of the modernity and also a thing that is vaguely theorized to be potentially bad for you. We all love to hate something we invented only decades ago.
One of the newest healthcare fads is blocking blue light — yes, literally just light that is blue — and one of the faddiest ways to do this is using glasses. But recent headlines popping up around the globe have argued that actually these glasses are totally ineffective.
So let’s take a look at the data, and see whether there is much reason to stick odd-looking glasses on your face to protect from certain parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The idea that blue light is bad comes largely from the fact that it isn’t natural. In the natural world, the only blue light you get is from the sun, which puts out the entire gamut of colours. So if you see blue at a time when humans wouldn’t naturally get any in their eyeballs — say, at night, when the sun isn’t around — it’s unnatural and therefore problematic. There’s also a theory that blue light causes additional strain on your eyes, because you wouldn’t naturally get a lot of it if you were living cheerfully in the Paleolithic era.
This has led to a slew of products aimed at preventing you from getting blue light into the brain. They range from expensive phone screen overlays to simple settings changes on your devices that can stop them from emitting certain parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. But blue light can come from many things — such as your normal household lighting, and so one fad is to wear blue light blocking glasses.
The new study that’s making headlines is a review by the Cochrane Collaboration. I’ve talked about Cochrane before, but they are basically the gold-standard for the appraisal of evidence in medical interventions. If you want to know if something works, you go to the Cochrane Database of…