The Blue Light Phenomenon

Hey all!

New blog here for you ladies and gents that has some good information which I have definitely referenced before. It continues to be a major topic of conversation in the exam room though so I know ya’ll are thinking about it!


You know, the stuff that all the Kardashians and every other “social media influencer” have posted about on their feeds. This trend has some staying power! As I have said in previous posts I do not believe that this should be a real concern for most people, at least not in the way you are probably thinking about it.

I’m going to break this topic down the exact way I do with patients in the exam room on a daily basis. We can divide this topic into Science… and NOT SCIENCE. I consider myself a scientist and as such I approach every situation with a fair amount of skepticism. I think our world would be better if a lot more people had the same approach. 

{Steps down from soapbox}


This is a very real possibility with excessive blue light exposure in the wrong times of the day. This is the part of the blue light exposure phenomenon that is based in science and is very well researched and well established. 

Excuse my science for a moment… the area of the ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM that our brains perceive as blue light is right in the middle of the range that includes radio waves on one end and gamma waves (high energy cancer killing waves) on the other. By the way, color does not actually exist and is just a tool our brain has developed to evaluate our environments but that is a talk for another day.

That small section of the EM spectrum which we call blue light has an interesting relationship with humans. These waves are picked up by our eyes and brain and trigger an “off” response from the pineal gland at the base of the brain. What is being turned off is the release of a hormone called MELATONIN which you may have heard before. Melatonin helps us sleep.

If you think about this in the context of historical humans, you may think of a man or woman sleeping in a field and they wake up and see the bright blue sky above them. That blue light hits their eyes and brain and BAM! That person is awake and alert as the melatonin is cut off because it is time to start the day. No time to be sleepy, they have things to do!

SO! If you are preventing the release of melatonin by staring at a little blue light emitting device in your hand well into the evening, you are delaying the sleep promoting effects of melatonin has on your body and brain! The lack of this hormone coursing through your veins keeps you awake and alert, even when you don’t want to be after putting the device down. 

Another side note: sleep is very, very important. There are more and more studies every month that come out confirming the connection sleep has with many of our common ailments and diseases. Get to bed people!

Ok, so we’ve established how blue light can impact your life in a way you likely did not know before. Now, do you need a pair of blue light blocking lenses to prevent the sleep disruption? Probably not. Most devices you have likely have some blue light reducing feature built in. Apple products call it NIGHT SHIFT and there is a program for PCs called F.LUX and I’m sure there are many more options. I think these features are enough to reduce the potentially disruptive component of chronic, ill-timed blue light exposure. 


Can you think of a commercial or advertisement that triggered a fear response from you? If you don’t buy this thing or buy this service this really bad thing is going to happen to you! Marketing that elicits fear can be some of the strongest forms of advertising. Glasses or lens companies that sell blue light blocking glasses are operating on this fear based marketing scheme by using the term “harmful.” Their use of the term is often very vague without any supporting data. Are they referring to the blue light as harmful because its potential to disrupt your sleep? Maybe… but they use that vague overarching term to convince you that if you don’t buy these lenses something bad will happen to you.


There is nothing conclusive in the research that suggests we are all going to be in trouble in 30 years from all of these blue light emitting devices. In fact, far from it. There may be some fringe study out there that put some mouse retinal cells in a a petri dish and blasted them with massive amounts of blue light. Hey, what do you know? They died. If such a study does exist, guess who put up the cash for the research study? Likely the companies making these blue light blocking lenses. I always make the comparison of how Coca-Cola funds all sorts of research that says sugar is ok for us. Yikes. 


With all the being said I do believe there is a place and purpose for computer glasses. Not all “computer glasses” are created equal though. I prescribe glasses for people to use on the computer all the time but they do not have anything to do with blue light reduction. I have found that many people benefit from just a small amount of relaxation power in the lenses in addition to a good quality antireflective coating. The combination of reducing the overall workload on the eyes and lessening the electronic glow that comes from a device with the anti-glare coating can be very helpful. This tends to be something that I do to help alleviate symptoms for certain patients as opposed to a general recommendation for everyone. If you think you have computer related symptoms let’s get you an appointment and take a look at those eyes.

 Put down the blue blockers, toggle on that night shift (sun-rise to sun-set btw), and try to get some consistent, good quality sleep.

As always, if you’d like to talk more or have specific concerns shoot me an email at or call up the office to make an appointment. 

Have a great weekend, ya’ll!


Grant Goble