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Can blue light-blocking glasses help you sleep?

There is popular belief, although not scientifically proven yet, that blue-light blocking eye-glasses could help ease eye discomfort while providing for better quality sleep.

The end of the day brings serene images of purple dusk and starry skies. Above all, there is the wish for restful sleep. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth’s words, “Sleep, that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care…”

Anyhow, in contemporary times, sleep is tightly knitted into the concept of “blue light.”

For instance, during daytime, the sun gives out natural blue light along with many benefits like boosting alertness, enhancing memory and a good mood, and enabling cognitive function. However, continuous and concentrated blue light late into the evening could ruffle the waking and sleeping cycles, presenting problems in falling asleep at night, leading to restless sleep and fatigue during day.

This has become a troubling issue during the Covid and post-Covid eras, with many people engaged in remote work, and working late hours at the computer or on the smartphone. Besides, according to medical recommendations, people need to reduce screen time during two or three hours prior to getting into bed. They need to also get their eyes away from the screen many times during this period. Doctors further recommend the use of blue light glasses that are designed to block most of the blue light from electronic devices.  

Therefore, in recent times, researchers sought to discover how blue light affects sleep. They found, that during daytime hours, blue-enriched light, especially from the sun, is advantageous as it helps synchronize the human body clock to a 24-hour day, with a regular light-and-dark cycle essential to get deep sleep.

This being so, although some blue light wavelengths boost alertness during the day, such stimulation can disturb sleep patterns in the night. Therefore, watching TV, or browsing the Internet on the laptop or smartphone just before going to sleep, stimulates cells containing melanopsin, giving the brain the mistaken signal, it is still daytime. This creates difficulty in falling asleep and acquiring sound sleep.

Yet, when researchers tried to uncover if blue-blocking eyeglass lenses, which are currently marketed to customers as having the ability to ease eye strain and discomfort when using electronic appliances, to boost sleep and to protect eyes from chemical irritation, they were unable to find strong evidence to support these claims.

Moreover, in 12 major population-based studies done to see if there was a connection between light exposure and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), 10 of the studies did not indicate a positive relationship between the two.

Besides, in 2015, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) was critical of an optical retailer’s advertisement on blue-light filtering eyeglass lenses that claimed the eye glasses are able to “filter out harmful blue light.” ASA said the claim amounted to misleading advertising “in the absence of adequate substantiation” that connected exposure to blue-light and harm to the retina.

Despite this scientific dilemma, Millennials and Gen Zers have their own perspective on what makes for convenient living, and they are making their views felt in the market by providing options for producers of consumer products. For instance, Facebook is partnering with the Italian eyewear conglomerate Luxottica, which is also the biggest company in the eyewear industry, to produce augmented-reality (AR) Ray Ban glasses, which could one day replace smartphones. These smart glasses, internally known as “Orion,” are planned for release to the market by 2023, 2024 or latest by 2025.

With Millennials and Gen Zers completely adapted to online buying, the future of marketing is inevitably trending online, bringing to attention the relevance of Designer Optics, considered one of the largest online marketplaces for prescription sunglasses and eyeglasses.

Moreover, Aron Ekstein, CEO of Designer Optics, says, the company, which was launched in Brooklyn, New York, in 2011, is focused on offering customers “the best of both worlds” through “designer eyewear at the lowest possible prices.” He says, “From Gucci to Prada, Tom Ford and more, we have a huge variety of frames – all at prices that just about anyone can afford.”

Ekstein, an eye-glasses expert, says, “At Designer Optics, we cut and edge all of the lenses for our frames in our state-of-the-art, cutting-edge lab.” He draws attention to the Briot eMotion Edging System, which he describes as “an all-in-one finishing lab, with a specialized space-saving design.” This equipment, fitted with 3D mapping technology and a multi-axis tracing system, focuses on “edging, drilling holes for frames, grooving, bevels, and polishing.”

With the generation of shoppers today having unique quality requirements for eyeglasses, Ekstein focuses on popular demand for anti-reflective lenses that provide a clearer vision, reduce glare and eye strain while preventing dry eyes. He gives useful insight into the Crizal anti-reflective coating options that Designer Optics provide. They are Crizal Easy UV, Crizal Alize, Crizal Avance, Crizal Sapphire 360 UV, and Crizal Prevencia, all accompanied by an authenticating certificate from Essilor International, a French-based international ophthalmic optics company.

None of this was ad hoc, or chance creations. Ekstein speaks of the research that Designer Optics initially conducted to understand what customers seek in eyewear. Their research pointed to three things customers look for in the eyewear of their choice – a high-quality, fashionable and affordable product. Ekstein says Designer Optics is committed to providing all three qualities in their products.

As it appears, players in the eyewear industry are trying their best to give customers what they seek, by employing relevant technology that will ease eye strain and fatigue, and which will also help enhance restful sleep which the human body critically needs.

As Homer said in the Odyssey, “There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”