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”.

All of these different lens options! What’s the big difference?! Do I even need any of it?

Great questions! And, the short answer is “Yes”. The not-so-short and usually correct answer is “Yes AND No”. Allow us to explain…

So, let’s talk about lens additions.. There are so many to choose from, but let’s try to narrow it down to some of the most common and most popular items that your local Eyeglass Store or Licensed Optician may offer you.

Just to name a few options:

  • Anti-Reflective Coating
  • Blue Light Filtering (Clear or Traditional)
  • Transitions (Light Responsive)
  • Polarized
  • Mirror Coating
  • Tinted
  • UV Treatment
  • Scratch Resistance

Anti-Reflective Coating: This option is often times called “Anti-Glare” or “Non-Glare” coating. This is beneficial for everyday use and generally gives you the best visual experience. This option cuts out, roughly, 90%+ of outside glare and reflection perceived by your eyes. If you choose nothing else, this is a great option to take advantage of.

Blue Light Filtering: This option has become increasingly popular over the last few years and is beneficial to most people. Basically, there is an increasing number of sources that emit Blue Light that may be harmful to our eyes. A few of the biggest sources of Blue Light are the Sun, your Mobile Devices and Fluorescent Lighting. This option is definitely worth considering when getting a new pair of lenses.

Transitions (Light Responsive): There are quite a few Light Responsive options in terms of Colors, Brands and how they serve you. Some of the more popular options for color changes are True Grey, Brown and G-15 (Green/Grey), although there are many more color options available. Depending on your needs, there are options that become Polarized Sun Lenses when they get dark, options that activate behind the windshield of your car and then there is the traditional option that changes only in direct UV contact. Light Responsive Lenses also Filter Blue Light, as an added benefit.

Polarized & Mirror Coating: Polarized Lenses are generally used in sunglasses to block out Blinding Glare from reflective sources and surfaces. The Mirror Coating is an added protectant for blocking glare while adding a very cool aesthetic to your lenses. Mirrored Lenses are literally what the name implies, Lenses with a Mirror Coating on the front side.

Tinted Lenses: Tinted Lenses are not as popular of an option as polarized lenses, but there are still some very cool and necessary applications. The lenses are more customizable, in terms of color and/or shade; gradient or solid. It’s not always the best option, but sometimes it’s the right one for you.

UV Treatment & Scratch Resistance: UV Protection and Scratch Resistance are some of the most common options and generally are standard items already included in your lenses. There are times where they are an option and if you are ever faced with the “option” to either take it or leave it, please take it. UV Protection helps protect your eyes from Ultraviolet rays that cause many different eye illnesses, such as Cataracts, Retinal Damage and other avoidable issues. Scratch Resistance is just as the name suggests, it helps the lens resist scratches during normal use. Please remember, your lenses will be Scratch RESISTANT, not Scratch PROOF.

Many of the options can be mixed and matched for your individual needs. For instance, you can have a Blue Filtering Lens with Anti-Reflective Coating, Scratch Resistance and UV Treatment. All things are beneficial for your eyes and most likely will satisfy your visual needs. The mixing and matching of the options is largely the reason why “Yes AND No” is the answer to the question. ‘Yes” because they’re all beneficial to you in many ways and “No” because you don’t necessarily “need” all of the options at once.

We recommend finding a Licensed Optician or Eyewear Professional that you trust, determining the options available to you and taking advantage of the ones that best serve your needs. Do a bit of research, ask a lot of questions and make the decision that you feel best serves your needs and budget.

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.