Lenses: Blue Light Filtering

So… Blue Light Filtering Lenses… What are they? How do they protect you? Do you “need” them? Do they even work?!

Let’s chat about what “Blue Light” is, first and foremost. Without getting too wrapped up in the science of Blue Light technology, Blue Light is a High-Energy Visible (HEV) Light with one of the shortest visible wavelengths viewable by the eye. The wavelength of Blue Light is between 380nm to ~500nm.

With that being said, Blue Light is not your enemy. Let’s think of it as a “Double Edged Sword”. While Blue Light coming from it’s most natural source (The Sun) is good for you, our many other artificial sources (Cell Phones, Tablets, Fluorescent Lighting, etc.) introduce an inundation of Blue Light to our eyes, more than we are equipped to handle. Exposure to too much Blue Light over a prolonged period of time can potentially lead to Macular Degeneration, Eye Fatigue and Decreased REM sleep, to name a few.

There are two main lens technologies that address our Blue Light Dilemma:

  • Indoor Blue Light Filtering
  • Outdoor Blue Light Filtering

Indoor Blue Light Filtering

Indoor Blue Light Filtering Lenses are simply lenses that are suitable for use when the wearer is not outdoors… as the name states. These lenses can be, but not limited to, Light Responsive (Photochromic)[I/O] Lenses, a Clear Blue Light Filtering Lens, and amber Blue Light Filtering Lens and Special Coatings that Filter/Block Blue Light.

All of these options would be suitable for indoor use and would not impede on the clarity of your vision indoors.

Outdoor Blue Light Filtering

The outdoor Blue Light Filtering options are basically all of the lenses that help protect your eyes from the sun and any outdoor HEV sources. These lenses can be, but aren’t limited to, Polarized Sun Lenses, Light Responsive Lenses (I/O) and Mirror/Flash Mirror Lenses to name a few.

The absolute best protection for your eyes outdoors is with a pair of Polarized Sunglasses. Polarization is not just the best Blue Light Filtering lens option for outdoor use, it also blocks out the “Blinding Glare” from the sun and reflective surfaces while keeping your eyes relaxed and protected. *Please don’t wear sunglasses at night while driving. Wearing sunglasses while driving at night can hinder your vision and prove to be quite hazardous.

So, do you NEED Blue Light Filtering Lenses (Indoors)?

The short answer is “No”, you don’t NEED the lenses, HOWEVER, the long answer would include all the benefits you’d be taking advantage of if you do use them. “You only get one set of eyes” a mentor of mine used to say. Why not take precautionary steps to keep them in great shape? The usage of Blue Light Filtering (indoor) Lenses would only benefit the user, with no discernible drawbacks.

Do you NEED Blue Light Filtering Lenses (Outdoor)?

The short answer is “Absolutely”, without a doubt. Polarized Sun Lenses are the best protection for your eyes while you’re outdoors, whether that be on the Water, Snow, Fields or any outdoor environment, Polarized Protection is always the best option for outdoor wear. Each Polarized lens color option has it’s benefits when worn. Consult your local Optical Shop or a trusted Licensed Optician to help you determine which Polarized lens option is best for your needs. “To look and see your best, a Licensed Optician is your vision expert”.

Lenses: Transitions (Light Responsive, Photochromic)

“Transition Lenses”.. “Photochromic”.. “The Lenses that change outside”.. “Those ones that change color when you go in the sun”..

All of these are super common ways that people generally describe “Transition/Photochromic – Light Responsive” lenses when they’re in the Optical. None of these customer descriptions are wrong, but I’ll give you some pointers on what to look for when selecting your new Light Responsive Lenses as well as some cool features that these lenses have!

Apart from the science behind Photochromic Lenses, these lenses are generally really cool with quite a few user features that many customers weren’t aware of. What are a few basic features of these cool lenses, you say? Well, glad you asked…

  • This lens option generally comes in multiple color options! Some of the most common options are Grey, Brown and Green. Consult your local optical shop or a trusted Licensed Optician for more details on color options.
  • Light Responsive Lenses have a built-in Blue Light Filter! Since these lenses are activated by intense levels of UV (unseen Blue Light), there is an unintended, but super useful benefit to having them! The Blue Light from your digital devices, fluorescent lighting and other sources aren’t intense enough to activate the lenses, but the lenses will act as a Blue Light Barrier while you wear them.
  • There are “Polarized” Transition Options! That’s right, there are options for the lenses to become polarized (Sun Lenses!) once fully activated by the sun. Consult your local optical shop or a trusted Licensed Optician for details about this lens option.
  • There are Transition Lenses options that allow the lenses to change while you’re in the car.
  • You can combine a multitude of options with Light Responsive Lens technology such as: Progressive Lenses (Multifocal), BiFocals, Hi-Index Lenses, Anti-Reflective Coatings, Flash Mirrors, and much more.

There are many options to fit many different needs. Although Light Responsive Lenses offer many benefits, there are a few drawbacks. What are these drawbacks, you say? Let’s explore…

  • Although the lenses get to their maximum darkness in a matter of seconds, they generally take several minutes to return to their original clarity. Depending on the brand of Light Responsive lenses used, you may experience faster transition times than others. Consult your local optical shop or a trusted Licensed Optician for more details about transition times.
  • Some lens options aren’t completely clear indoors. Although this may not be such a big deal for some folks, others find the slight tint a bit a bit troubling while wearing the lenses indoors.
  • All Photochromic Lenses are not created equal! Be sure to consult your local optical shop and/or a trusted Licensed Optician when considering Photochromic options to ensure you get the product you anticipate. Ask for the options that you want and allow the professionals to recommend the products that are available to satisfy your requests.

It is important to note that “Transitions”, while being a lens type, is also a BRAND of lenses. The fact that there is a brand named after the lens technology could make purchasing these types of lenses a little tricky. The brand “Transitions” has developed a lot of very helpful and innovative technology for Photochromic Lenses and some would consider them to be in the top tier of Light Responsive lens technology. There are a few different brands to choose from and it’s valuable to understand which brand your Optical Shop and/or Licensed Optician is supplying you with.

It’s important to remember, “To look and see your best, a Licensed Optician is your vision expert”.

Sunglasses: Polarized vs. Non Polarized

“Polarized.. Non Polarized… What’s the big difference?!”

What are “Polarized” Lenses? Why do I need them? What’s the difference if my lenses aren’t “Polarized”?

These are very common question with a surprisingly simple answer. So, lets address each one of the questions individually.

What are “Polarized” Lenses? – Polarized Lenses are typically Sunglass Lenses that block out “Blinding Glare” from different light sources. So, basically, while wearing Polarized Lenses you should experience better visual comfort because of less strain on your eyes from outside glare. Polarized Lenses can be considered an “Anti-Reflective” in sunglass form.

Why do I need them? – In our everyday life, an inundation of outdoor light & glare can destroy our eyes without the proper protection. 25-50% of all automotive accidents are caused by distracted drivers. “Blinding Glare” is a big factor and can impair your vision for a short period of time. Depending on your age, that short period of time varies and the effects can last for quite a few moments. This is not the best thing to experience as you’re moving along the roadways in your vehicle. Polarized Lenses help eliminate that Blinding Glare.

What’s the difference if my lenses aren’t Polarized? – In the event that your lenses aren’t Polarized, it’s not the worst thing. There are instances where Non-Polarized Lenses are beneficial. For example, many Pilots aren’t able to wear Polarized Lenses because of the instrumentation polarization in their Flight Decks. Many consumers aren’t comfortable wearing Polarized Lenses because of the instrumentation polarization in their vehicles. In these cases, we recommend Non-Polarized Lenses with UV Filtering and/or Tinted Lenses with UV Filtering. Although these options aren’t quite as effective as Polarization, they still offer some protection from outside glare and the effects of UV rays on our eyes. There are a few additional options that may benefit your specific needs. Consult your Local Optician to discuss what may work best for you.