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Blue Light Lenses May Not Be a Vision Saver After All

Study out of University of Melbourne finds little evidence to support the benefits of blue light filtering lenses.

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Blue light filtering lenses have been touted and marketed for a list of their purported health benefits. The claims include reducing digital eye strain, improving sleep, and even preventing eye disease.

The lenses have proven wildly popular with consumers and a financial boon for companies. The problem is experts haven’t been able to prove any of the suggested benefits blue light lenses offer. At least not conclusively.

And now a study out of Australia has concluded there are probably little to no benefits from using blue light filtering lenses compared to non-blue light filtering lenses.

University of Melbourne researchers led a review of 17 controlled trials, featuring five to 156 participants, totaling 619 people. Each trail tracked the adult use of blue light lenses. Time periods ranged from one day to up to five weeks of daily use. Results of the review recently were published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

“We found there may be no short-term advantages with using blue-light filtering spectacle lenses to reduce visual fatigue associated with computer use, compared to non-blue-light filtering lenses,” says Laura Downie, University of Melbourne Associate Professor and the review’s senior author. “It is also currently unclear whether these lenses affect vision quality or sleep-related outcomes, and no conclusions could be drawn about any potential effects on retinal health in the longer term.

“People should be aware of these findings when deciding whether to purchase these spectacles.”

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The review findings included:

  • No clinically meaningful difference in changes to critical flicker-fusion frequency (CFF) with blue-light filtering lenses compared to non-blue-light filtering lenses.
  • Probably little or no effect of blue-light filtering lenses on best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) compared with non-blue-light filtering lenses.
  • Potential effects on sleep quality were indeterminate.

Review authors suggested that future studies were necessary to clarify and define the effects of blue-light filtering lenses.

“High-quality, large clinical research studies with longer follow-up in more diverse populations are still required to ascertain more clearly the potential effects of blue-light filtering spectacle lenses on visual performance, sleep and eye health,” says Dr. Sumeer Singh, the first author of the review. “They should examine whether efficacy and safety outcomes vary between different groups of people and using different types of lenses.”

While the review didn’t find evidence to support the benefits of blue light lenses, it also didn’t uncover any consistent results of negative side effects.

You can read the full review here. You can find more on the review here.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) lists eye health tips on its website it recommends over the use blue light lenses.

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