Are blue light glasses really necessary for gaming?

Trendy or Benificial?

Here I am back in 2018 wearing a pair of Gunnar glasses on one of my hilarious attempts of streaming on Twitch. I thought at the time if I wore these glasses, I would be more approachable as a “pro gamer”. Then 2 years later I’d find myself unironically wearing the same glasses in a BestBuy home-theatre position to protect my vision from the bright large televisions. However I am still left with the simple question I haven’t figured out. do these work or is it placebo? so I did some research on blue light exposure.

How do these glasses protect?

Blue light gaming glasses are specially designed eye-wear that aims to reduce the potential negative effects of exposure to blue light emitted by digital screens, such as those on computers, smartphones, and gaming monitors. Blue light is a high-energy, short-wavelength light that is emitted by these devices, and prolonged exposure to it, especially during evening hours, may interfere with circadian rhythms and sleep patterns.

When in search of blue light glasses, you’ll likely observe lenses with varying hues—some exhibiting a blue tint, others appearing yellow, and some being completely clear. Although all these options contribute to blocking blue light, yellow stands out as the most effective choice. The reason lies in the fact that yellow is positioned at the opposite end of the color wheel from blue. It’s degree of effectiveness may vary based on factors such as the specific tint intensity and the quality of the lens coating. The effectiveness of yellow-tinted lenses in blocking blue light does not necessarily depend on whether they are prescription or approved. Yellow-tinted lenses, in general, can help filter out blue light, but the degree of effectiveness may vary based on factors such as the specific tint intensity and the quality of the lens coating. (Source Sportrx.com).

Do you need a Prescription pair?

No, but prescription blue light glasses are tailored to your vision needs, addressing both your prescription requirements and providing blue light filtering. On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy glasses to correct eye issues, I would really recommend consulting with an eye care professional. They can guide you on the best options based on your individual needs and provide recommendations for blue light protection if necessary.

Prescription blue light glasses are tailored to your vision needs, addressing both your prescription requirements and providing blue light filtering. On the other hand, non-prescription or over-the-counter blue light glasses with yellow-tinted lenses can also offer benefits in reducing blue light exposure, especially for individuals who do not require corrective lenses.

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Modern devices all have night filters and dark modes. I use every dark mode option possible on web browsers and apply a night mode filter to my cell phone and PC. Some devices will not have these two features like televisions.

Niche uses where glasses would make sense:
Retro CRTs for sure don’t have any of these features. In those small niche cases, glasses are useful to have.
Video game consoles commonly don’t focus on night-modes but surprisingly Microsoft does! on Xbox you can set a night filter. This YouTube video shows you how to set it up.
Many cheap smart TVs don’t have dark mode/night mode filters. they can be dimmed but it usually requires altering the settings deep in the television’s operating system.

Glasses to consider

When selecting yellow-tinted blue light glasses, consider factors such as the intended use (e.g., computer work, gaming, reading), the intensity of the tint, and whether the glasses are labeled as effective for blue light filtering. Some manufacturers may provide information on the percentage of blue light blocked by their lenses.

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Gunnar Riots <$50

Gunnar are typically the most popular brand for glasses that are designed to block blue light. The company’s products boast favorable reviews from doctors to protect and enhance vision. Gunnar’s computer and gaming glasses are the only blue light-blocking glasses with Patented Lens Technology (#9417460). Gunnar’s uses a special lamination and anti-reflective coating that helps with glare from computers and televisions. They dub it sunglasses but for night use. A small gripe I have with my pair is that they reflect my eyeballs. Not a huge deal as I am used to this with cheap glasses, but it is a feature the company claims they address.

Okany blue light blocking glasses <$20

If you want to see if tinted glasses are something you want for continual computer screen use, you may want to try a cheaper alternative. OKANY Blue Light Blocking Glasses Gaming Computer Gamer Glasses Seemingly offer the same blue light protection for a fraction of the Gunnar glasses. Okany’s have been known to be fragile pairs of glasses, Buyer beware.

Generic Circle Glasses (Yellow) <$15

I bought a pair of these John Lennon-style round lenses for night use while driving. The downside to these pair of glasses is the absence of a reflective coating. using these for a computer screen causes noticeable peripheral vision glare. and from my testing, after using these with my work computer, they hurt my eyes due to the polarizer.

LCD screens and sunglasses typically contain a polarizing filter for the same reason: to make it easier for you to see clearly, especially in bright sunlight. What tends to happen is your polarized sunglasses do their job by only allowing light to pass through vertically. Meanwhile, your phone screen emits horizontally vibrating light while blocking vertical light. Your lenses and screen end up counteracting each other by working in opposite directions. As a result, you wind up seeing a dark or blacked-out image.(Source: allaboutvision.com) if you plan to buy a pair like these, look for Non-polarized yellow lenses.

I am still convinced that Using dark mode and night mode filters is the best solution. If you’re in a situation where you can’t customize your setting, like a company workstation. Blue light glasses can be a good option.

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