What happened when I used so-called computer glasses for 6 months:

Are we all damaging our eyes by staring at computer and smartphone screens throughout the day? When you stop to think of how much time your eyes are focused on a screen each day you have got to wonder if there will be any longterm effects.

These screens give off a harsh blue light in order for the screens to be visible in a lighted room or outside and doctors have said that those blue wavelengths have an effect on our eyes and our brains.

“You’ve got the light rays coming out of whatever you’re looking at and the shorter waves seem to penetrate more,” said Optometrist Richard Orgain. “They can potentially cause more damage.”

In recent years manufacturers have begun making and marketing a certain type of eyeglasses designed to cut down on the harmful blue light.

Since I spend as much time as anyone in front of a computer screen I picked up an inexpensive pair of these amber colored glasses and have been using them for about six months. I have them on anytime I’m working on my desktop computer. The question people ask me is if I think they work to ease stress on my eyes. My answer: Yes. At least I think so.

“It’s blocking certain wavelengths more than others,” Dr. Orgain told me. “You’re wearing a softer wavelength that’s cutting out long and short wavelengths. It’s letting in more of the light in the middle wavelengths,” he said.

Recent studies have shown that the blue wavelengths can penetrate the lens, the cornea and the retina of our eyes and many doctors believe extended use may lead to early onset macular degeneration. Dr. Orgain told me there haven’t been any long term studies of the effects of computer screens on our eyes because people have been sitting in front of computer and smartphone screens for ten years at the longest. We won’t know for certain how the blue light affects us until today’s millennials are in their 60s and 70s.

Studies have shown that high energy blue-white light can make it difficult for people to fall asleep.

So how do these computer glasses work?

“That type of lens is letting in more of the natural light that your eye is more sensitive to,” said Orgain. “It’s not a difference in brightness, it’s what getting through to your eyes.”

Amber colored glasses are nothing groundbreaking or new. Back in the 90s, you may remember late night TV commercials for “Blue Blocker” sunglasses which claimed to block the harmful rays and reduce glare. The new computer glasses were marketed toward video gamers for several years before the average computer user discovered they helped reduce eye strain.

Dr. Orgain believes the blue light is just part of the reason people report getting dry and itchy eyes after hours of being on the computer.

“When you’re reading, when you’re on the computer like this, your brain shuts off the blink reflex,” he said. “This eye fatigue thing is more than just blue light, it’s the lack of blinking.”

Orgain urges anyone who’s spending long periods of staring at screens to remember 20-20-20. “It means every 20 minutes look at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.”

As far as the amber colored glasses are concerned, Orgain told me it will not hurt your eyes to use them. I’m glad to hear that. I don’t think I can go without them.

There are computer glasses at all price points.

I use these