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Do Blue Light Glasses Help with Dry Eye?

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A young man in front of his computer taking off his glasses to rub his eyes due to dry eye.

Dealing with dry and burning eyes is never a pleasant experience. Dry eyes quickly lead to irritation and discomfort, and most people find themselves desperate for relief. This has led many to ask the question: Can blue light glasses help with dry eye?

While blue light glasses may make some activities more comfortable on your eyes, they don’t address the underlying cause of this condition. If you’re dealing with dry eyes, it’s crucial to visit an optometrist to discuss dry eye therapy.

What Is Dry Eye?

If you’ve ever noticed a gritty, burning, and stinging sensation in your eyes, as if they are dried out and inflamed, you are likely dealing with dry eye. This is a common condition that develops due to a problem with your tear film.

The tear film—made up of oils, mucus, and water—is responsible for protecting and hydrating the eye. In order to properly function, the eye requires a careful balance of all three of these  components. 

However, sometimes the eye either can’t produce enough tears, or the tears being produced aren’t capable of properly protecting the eye.

This issue is called dry eye. It occurs when tears evaporate too quickly or simply don’t function as they should, leaving the eye exposed to the outside air. It results in the eyes quickly becoming inflamed and irritated, leading to burning and stinging sensations.

Dry Eye Symptoms

Recognizing the signs of dry eye is the first step toward finding relief. Look for the following symptoms:

  • Stinging, burning, or scratchy sensations in your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness in the eyes
  • A feeling of having something in your eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches

If you’ve noticed any of these issues, it might be dry eye. But what causes this condition—and what can you do about it?

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is a short-wavelength and high-energy wave of light. For most of human history, blue light was primarily emitted by the sun. We’ve closely evolved to associate blue light exposure with daytime.

When you’re exposed to blue light, your body begins suppressing melatonin, the chemical that helps you fall and stay asleep. When the sun is out, your body tries to stay awake; when the sun sets, your body prepares for sleep. This is our natural response to blue light.

However, there’s a catch. Blue light is also emitted by digital screens, LED lights, cell phones, and more. In our digital age, we’re more exposed to blue light than ever, both during the daytime and in the evening.

Does Blue Light Cause Dry Eyes?

While blue light can have a significant effect on your body, it can’t directly cause dry eye to develop. However, it can make symptoms worse, which can be troublesome. 

When you’re constantly exposed to blue light, your body’s natural circadian rhythm can be disrupted. This may result in you going to sleep later, or having poorer-quality sleep.

In addition, when you spend too much time using devices that emit blue light, you tend to blink less. These factors can quickly lead to:

  • Increased eye strain and fatigue
  • Reduced quality of sleep, leading to overall tiredness
  • An exacerbation of existing dry eye symptoms
  • Discomfort when staring at screens for prolonged periods
  • A need to use artificial tears or other remedies more frequently

While blue light exposure can’t directly cause dry eye, the other symptoms that it causes often exacerbate the condition.

What Are Blue Light Glasses?

Fortunately, there’s a way to protect yourself from blue light’s negative effects: blue light glasses. 

These are a type of specialty eyewear designed to filter or block blue light before it even reaches the eyes, preventing the symptoms of constant blue light exposure. The ability of these glasses to protect your eyes from blue light make them a possible solution for reducing the irritating and uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye.

However, it’s important to note that while blue light glasses can make screen usage more comfortable, they can’t directly address the underlying cause of your dry eyes. That is, blue light glasses can’t cure a medical condition; instead, they simply make symptoms less irritating. 

If you’re dealing with dry eyes, it’s crucial to visit your optometrist to discuss dry eye therapy.

An optometrist examines a female patient's eyes to determine how to treat her dry eyes.

How to Treat Dry Eyes

If you’re experiencing the burning and stinging sensations associated with dry eyes, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Your optometrist may be able to help you find relief from your symptoms through specialized treatment.

Here at Pinnacle Eyecare, we recommend:

  • Medication, usually in the form of eye drops or over-the-counter artificial tears
  • Warm compresses designed to stimulate healthy tear production while simultaneously bringing you relief
  • Punctal plugs, tiny devices inserted into the tear ducts that prevent early tear drainage to maintain a balanced tear film

This way, you can easily find relief from your dry eyes and enjoy clear, comfortable vision once more.

Find Relief from Your Dry Eyes

At Pinnacle Eyecare, we know how irritating dry eyes can be. There’s no need to deal with this condition alone; our team can help! 

Book an appointment with our clinic today, and take the first step towards finding relief from dry eye. Your eyes will thank you!

Written by Dr. Nicholas King-Smith

Dr. Nicholas King-Smith was born and raised in Wooster, Ohio. He is a Northeast Ohio native and by default a sad (but proud) Browns fan. Dr. King-Smith obtained his Bachelor of Science from Xavier University in May 2010. He received his optometric degree at the Ohio State University College of Optometry in May 2014.

Dr. King-Smith has been practicing in and around the Columbus area for the last 6 years.

Pinnacle Eyecare opened in the fall of 2020 and now serves the Columbus community with quality eye care and optometric services. Dr. King-Smith envisioned a practice with a unique, modern environment, where all the latest frames and comprehensive eye care would be available in one setting.

During his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and their Bernese Mountain Dog. He loves traveling with his family, skiing, hiking, and cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

He is a member of the Ohio Optometric Association, the American Optometric Association, and the Epsilon Psi Epsilon professional fraternity.

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