Most of your patients will know about the dangerous effects of UV rays on the eyes and skin, but do they know how the blue light emitted from their phones and computers may cause long-term eye damage? Although transition lenses and polarized sunglasses have surged in popularity, blue light filtering lenses are relatively new to the market.
Exposure to blue light is nearly inescapable due to our dependence on technology for work, connection with friends and family, and entertainment. Therefore, lenses that help protect retinas from the harmful effects are sure to become more widespread this year. Read on to find out why your optometric practice should carry blue light filtering lenses and glasses to get ahead of the curve.
Are Blue Light Lenses the 2018 Eyecare Trend?
When our vision habits change, so should eyecare technology. If your patients are full-time students, work in the technology industry, or sit in front of a computer for around 9 hours a day, you've probably already seen the adverse effects of blue light. Some exposure to blue light can be useful in increasing alertness and preventing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), so it's not necessary to block it out completely.
Although the most common complaints are digital eye strain, dry eyes, and headaches, blue light can also keep patients up at night and deteriorate their retina cells. Because macular degeneration can lead to permanent vision loss, doctors do recommend that parents limit their children's use of technology screens while they're developing. However, your adult patients rely on blue light screens to lead a productive and fulfilled life, so what can you suggest?
What are some solutions?
First, always encourage your patients to give their eyes a break from screens every hour or so. There are also many web browser extensions (such as f.lux) that can change their computer screens to soft, warm light. This function is similar to "night mode" on most smartphones. Night mode is especially useful if patients like to scroll through their phones before they sleep, because blue light can keep the brain active and awake.
A host of new glasses and contact lenses have been developed to filter blue light while still blocking UVA/UVB rays. The computer glasses also work for people who don't need a prescription, so be sure to suggest them to all your patients. Some products you probably already stock in your dispensary can also help patients who don't want to buy special lenses to look at their screens. We've listed a few products below to get you started.
- Lenscrafters' Blue IQ glasses
- Computer Glasses
- Many online retailers are already capitalizing on this market, so it's definitely worth looking into.
- Anti-reflective coating
- Light-adaptive lenses
As a trusted OD, you'll know which solution is best suited for your patients based on age, lifestyle, and budget. You can educate your patients either during an exam or through pamphlets in your waiting area. If you stock the glasses needed to protect their eyes, you should be well-prepared for any blue light-related issues.
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